LatinaLista — The day after thousands of undocumented youth giddily took their places in line at workshops and Mexican consulates across the country, some with their U.S. high school graduation diplomas in hand, to begin the arduous task of doing something their own parents couldn’t do for them — relieve their fears of being deported to countries long forgotten as home — one individual has taken it upon herself to make sure the happiness felt by the undocumented youth in her state is shortlived.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order yesterday making it clear that her war on undocumented immigrants is still in full force.
Brewer, whose state has been at the center of the country’s immigration debate, issued an executive order denying state or local benefits to immigrants applying under the new federal immigration rules. The order would bar them from obtaining an Arizona driver’s license or a state-issued identification card.
Brewer wrote in the order that the new program “does not confer upon them any lawful or authorized status and does not entitle them to any additional public benefits.”
She said she was reaffirming the intent of current Arizona laws, and preventing “significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund.”
To even the most indifferent American, who has no thought one way or the other on the issue, Brewer’s actions go beyond being plain mean-spirited. They wreak of vindictiveness against a political party and its leader that she has made no secret that she loathes.
What better way to symbolically give the finger to this administration than to deny the most vulnerable recipients of a measure that she sees challenges her own authority.
Jan Brewer’s actions shouldn’t just enrage all Americans, who believe these children and young adults should not bear any fault for the decisions of their parents, but it should also enrage the Republican Party.
Brewer’s outright hatefulness towards the undocumented youth serves as an extremely concrete example of GOP attitudes towards Latinos. For those who argue that her actions are only targeting undocumented youth, they still don’t understand the collective Latino attitude towards family and children. When it comes to these two areas of our lives, it is the one time no one is bothered being lumped under the same “Latino” or “Hispanic” label.
Brewer’s actions have the potential to solidify the disdain towards the GOP by Latino voters, wherever they live.
It is laughable to read Brewer’s justification for doing this — “preventing ‘significant and lasting impacts on the Arizona budget, its health care system and additional public benefits that Arizona taxpayers fund.’”
If those youth are able to receive a driver’s license and get their work permits, the Arizona economy would improve simply by virtue of the fact that there would be more people willing to work the low-wage jobs that always seem to go the longest unfilled. The taxes collected from their paychecks would be funneled back into the local economy. They would be making money to help pay for those doctor visits and prescriptions.
If these youth were able to get their driver’s licenses then Arizona roads would become, if not safer, at least be able to hold more drivers accountable since all these new drivers would have to get car insurance to drive legally.
If ever there was any doubt that Brewer has been acting in her own self-interest when it comes to towing a hard stance against undocumented immigration, her latest action should dispel that doubt.
It’s a sad commentary when a leader, at any level, chooses to target young people to create a political point.
The only hope now is that Arizona residents and businesses speak out and the GOP leadership understand that Latino voters aren’t just looking at the Romney-Ryan ticket.