Gov. Susana Martinez wants New Mexico to look more like Arizona.
A new executive order proposed by Martinez mirrors Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, which would have required police to check the immigration status of everyone “suspected” of being in the country illegally.
Martinez’ executive order requires immigration-status checks for everyone arrested in New Mexico.
The racial implications of both these bills are obvious. We can all agree that no one is really worried about Irish illegal immigrants anymore.
Proponents of the Martinez order would say that this is not an issue because everyone arrested would be subject to an immigration-status check, regardless of race.
The problem with this argument is that it implicitly encourages police to arrest people committing minor crimes so that they can then check their immigration status.
It’s ironic that Martinez drew so much support from the Hispanic community and then, upon being elected, immediately issued a race-baiting executive order designed to kick people out of this country who may have done nothing more than rack up a simple speeding ticket.
The fact is, the majority of undocumented people in this country simply want to work.
Official estimates put the number of undocumented immigrants in this country at 11 million. This is an incredible number, equal to more than one out of every 30 people in the country. That would be one kid in every class you take.
People don’t come to this country from Mexico and Central America because they’re lazy.
They don’t come because they’re terrorists or drug dealers.
Let’s consider, first, the idea that they’re lazy. A typical person crossing the border illegally from
Northern Mexico walks through the desert for three to five days. People do this without bringing water with them. People do this without shoes on.
The journey from Central America, the origin point of more than half of illegal immigrants from Latin America, is even more arduous.
One thing that’s seldom talked about in our media is the journey immigrants must make across Mexico before they even make it to the southern border of the U.S.
Mexico’s immigration policies mirror our own, meaning many people are illegal immigrants in Mexico before they become illegal immigrants in the U.S. Traveling illegally from the southern to the northern border of Mexico usually involves riding on top of a train.
Immigrants run behind a moving train, grab a ladder on the side of it, then pull themselves up on top of the moving train. They ride on top of it for several days.
The trains are often attacked by gangs, who take everything from the people riding on top. If they find a written phone number anywhere on the person, they’ll kidnap them and call the number until they reach someone who can pay to have them released. If they can’t reach anyone, they’ll simply kill them.
So why do this? For work. No other reason. Let’s not pretend that anyone crosses a whole country on top of a train, risking rape, assault, murder, robbery and kidnapping and then walks five days through a desert because they’re lazy.
This terrorist/drug dealer argument is too ridiculous to even dignify. So I’ll keep this brief.
Point one: Every single one of the 9/11 terrorists were in this country legally. The guy who tried to bomb Times Square last year was a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen. Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski and that guy who flew a plane into an IRS building were all white men born in the U.S.
Immigration law has nothing to do with terrorism.
And drug violence? It can be disproved with one simple fact: Last year, there were more than 3,000 murders in Juárez. In El Paso, right across the river from Juárez, there were three, all related to domestic disputes.
This, in itself, conclusively disproves the idea of “crossover violence.”
Now, let’s consider for a moment the fact that a lot of people here illegally were brought here by their parents when they were infants. A lot of people grew up in this country, speak English as well or better than Spanish, and would be immediately pegged as gringos in Mexico because of their American haircuts, mannerisms and style of dress.
These people are as American as you and me. There’s no question of that. And yet, a lot of them have been living here illegally their whole lives.
This is because getting your citizenship papers in order, if you’re living in this situation, is no easy task. It opens you up to the possibility of being deported (because you have to admit that you’re not here legally) and it’s often expensive. So a lot of people never do it.
Perhaps worse than Martinez’ executive order is the movement to deny people birthright citizenship. Right-wing groups in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and many other states want to modify the U.S. Constitution so that being born here would not automatically make you a U.S. citizen.
This is a grave human rights issue. People born to illegal-immigrant parents in countries without birthright-citizenship laws are generally illegal everywhere.
If you’re born in the U.S., Mexico is not going to consider you a citizen of Mexico. So, if the U.S. government doesn’t consider you a citizen either, you’re a citizen of nowhere. Meaning that no matter where you are, for the rest of your life, you’re considered illegal. You will never work legally anywhere. You will never have a legal I.D. In the eyes of the government of whatever country you happen to be in. You won’t exist.
It’s important to consider that this is through no fault of your own, since a person obviously cannot choose where they’re born.
Let’s stop pretending this is about national security. These anti-immigrant movements, these anti-immigrant bills and executive orders, boil down to xenophobia. Plain and simple.
It’s time to move beyond these racist ideas and accept that people are going to keep moving to this country as long as we continue offering them jobs.
After all, if the immigration laws were the same 150 years ago as they are today, my family would have been illegals in this country, too. And how many of us can honestly deny that?