Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Arizona Legislation

Louie Crew – who has given everyone carte blanche to quote him – wrote to the HoBD list:
“Is it true that the next meeting of the House of Bishops is set for Phoenix?!
Why should any of our tithes and offerings be spent to support the economy of a state with blatant racist policy?
If they must go to Arizona, let them process along the Mexican border wearing miters with sack cloth and ashes.”

I would be loathe to ask the bishops to boycott Arizona. I have pondered it, but I cannot support an Arizona boycott, because it is most likely to harm the very people who are the target of the Arizona legislation – the immigrants who are working far below minimum wage in Arizona’s overpriced hotels and restaurants. American corporations are growing fat and wealthy off the sweat of “undocumented aliens” who cannot claim the minimum wage and who do not get Social Security wages.

However, before our bishops go to Phoenix, some might want to check out CafePress and their “I Could be Illegal” merchandise for their casual wear, buttons, and stickers.

I first said my piece about the Arizona legislation here.

I was grateful to hear other perspectives on the HoBD thread, especially from Nick Knisely, who is in the thick of it as Dean of the Cathedral in Phoenix. He and Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith have helped me understand the complexities of the situation. I was stunned to read some of Bishop Smith’s stories about the terrorism that Maricopa County is inflicting upon Hispanics in the Diocese of Arizona. That is not the America that I know.

Today, Dean Knisely warned us that other states might be adopting similar legislation. Indeed, they are. Alas! the Missouri legislature actually thinks the Arizona law is a great model. I wrote about that last night here. Apparently, some idiots in the Missouri legislature think that the “brown hordes” are going to high-tail it out of Arizona into Missouri. I would try to characterize those legislators’ idiotic thinking, but words fail me.

I wish that our church and our nation would separate in our minds and in our legislation two very different situations.

On one hand, we certainly do have horrible criminals coming into the U.S. from many different nations – and not just Mexico! – for purposes of crime, drug-running, human trafficking, or terrorism. Of course, they should be stopped! What thinking person would disagree?? And of course, we should check the immigration status of people arrested for real crimes, such as murder, robbery, etc. Who could possibly disagree?

Who could disagree? Only one that I have heard on the HoBD list: One hateful priest in Dallas who cannot tell the difference between murderous thugs and gentle “illegals” who are trying to make a living here. But I hope most in our church can tell the difference.

As several HoBD commenters have said, the Arizona law (even as amended last week) does leave a wide berth for law enforcement to question people for very minor infractions like having a turn signal burned-out or failing to wear a seat belt. I suspect I wouldn’t be so worried about that loophole were it not for overzealous vigilantes like Maricopa County Joe Arpaio. He has demonstrated to all of us what the Brown Shirts can happily do in the U.S.

Let’s separate those two issues. Let’s be “tough on criminals.” But let’s also find a Christian response to those hard-working, tax-paying “undocumented aliens” among us. And – as Dean Knisely suggested – let’s urge Congress to pass reasonable legislation that addresses both.


Blogger Brother David said...

Lisa, support the boycott, we of los Estados Unidos Mexicanos do! And we have more folks who might suffer than anyone else.

5/06/2010 8:55 AM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Lisa and Dah-veed, I am of two minds about the bishops boycotting Arizona. Actions have ripple effects, and, on the one hand, who will be hurt by the boycott? Those least able to afford the loss of their meager wages. On the other hand if other states see that there will be economic consequences, they may hesitate before passing similar laws. I want to think more about this.

I like the idea of using Café Press merchandise, if the bishops decide to go ahead with their meeting.

5/06/2010 3:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Sorry, David, but I'm with Mimi. I just can't support a boycott that would hurt workers in the U.S.

Thanks for chiming in, Mimi. I do hope that -- if the bishops go to Phoenix -- they might take some prophetic stand. ... And isn't that CafePress stuff way cool?

5/06/2010 9:27 PM  
Blogger Brother David said...

Lisa, I have undocumented friends in AZ right this moment who want folks to support a boycott. I am in contact with them through Windows Live and Sonico social networks.

A boycott will not hurt them any more than they have already been hurt. They are all so scared shitless that they are afraid to venture out of the homes to go to work or look for work, especially the day workers, for fear of being arrested.

Many of them are already looking for avenues to come home without being caught. They feel trapped in your country because if they head for the border and get caught what would have been a couple days journey could turn into weeks in the deportation system of ICE, where BTW folks die, and the loss of many valuable possessions. Plus they now have an official entry, photo and finger prints, in the US illegal alien computer records which would bar them from legally returning to the US for at least 10 years.

5/07/2010 11:53 AM  

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