LatinaLista -- Immigrant advocates are steeling themselves for bad news to come out of Arizona any day now. There is high expectation that Arizona Governor Brewer will sign into law the most destructive bill yet on Latino constitutional rights.
Now, some will argue that since the bill is directed at only undocumented Latinos that they have no rights under the U.S. Constitution -- wrong.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
While illegal aliens do not enjoy all of the rights granted to citizens by the Constitution, specifically the rights to vote or possess firearms, these rights can also be denied to U.S. citizens convicted of felonies. In final analysis, the courts have ruled that, while they are within the borders of the United States, illegal aliens are granted the same fundamental, undeniable constitutional rights granted to all Americans.
But this bill actually does go farther in denying Latino citizens their Constitutional rights since the bill requires law enforcement to basically racially profile people on their hunt for undocumented immigrants. And it penalizes those law enforcement agencies who are perceived by the public or private sector for not doing enough to round up undocumented immigrants.
For those Latinos and Latinas who are fair skinned, blond hair and look more like they descended from the Mayflower rather than drove across the border, they're pretty much in the clear. After all, what's the police going to do? Stop every white person they see and check their papers?
Unfortunately, it's the dark-skinned members of our families and communities who will be stopped. If anyone thinks that the police doing the questioning is going to believe one of these Latinos who says they were born here and are American citizens, but just don't have any paperwork on them proving it, they live in LaLa Land.
The likely scenario is that these police will have to take all the Latinos they stopped back to the station until somebody shows up with a birth certificate or other ID.
And that's OK with these Arizona legislators and their Governor?
It's OK to sacrifice the Constitutional rights of their Latino citizens in the hopes of snagging a couple of undocumented in the process?
It's OK to demoralize, humiliate and frustrate 30 percent of the state's population to satisfy one demographic?
It's not OK, but people who believe it is are already beyond reason or hope.