Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Partial Victory

Today the United States District Court for the District of Arizona has issued a temporary injunction preventing the most controversial parts of SB 1070 from going into effect. Yes it is only a partial injunction but it is one that really gives those that oppose this abomination of a law some hope. It seems being a minority in America, regardless of who resides in the White House, has and will continue to have constant criticisms and challenges presented to them in the form of civil injustice. It seems that we are moving mountains in order for Justice to prevail and in a way we have, but let us not take our foot off the gas peddle. We may have won a major legal victory but rest assured the State of Arizona will appeal the courts decision and the fight will continue on.

Let us not scale back our efforts. Ever since this unconstitutional law was proposed and eventually passed it really opened up waves of resentment and anger directed towards immigrants arriving to this country in the hopes of finding a better tomorrow for either themselves or prehaps for their families. The majority has been feed a constant diet of misconceptions, lies and fear over how immigrants are either stealing American jobs from umemployed citizens to taking advantage of our welfare programs. Some fear-mongers are going to the far extent of claiming that immigrants don't pay any taxes as well as the majority of them involved in some sort of criminal activity associated with the various drug cartels. I have no doubt that some of that maybe true but I also know that the good majority of immigrants who opt to come to America are here to work.

Let's think outside the box for a little bit and put yourself in the shoes (or lack of) of an immigrant. You are placed in an impossible situation in which your home country is being torn apart from constant drug cartel kidnappings and mass killings as well as facing a crippling Mexican infastructure that has a severe shortage of jobs. What would a family man do in order to feed his children and provide some sort of financial and health security for his family? It seems the many that are in that situation risk their own lives to migrate north into a country that has constantly self-promoted itself as "the land of opportunity" or at least until a few months ago "the land of opportunity for some".

The many reasons why immigrants flood into our country has been discussed and debated so much that I'm really not going to waste my time reiterating it. Plus I think I made a pretty good argument in the previous paragraph. I will discuss though one of the many falsehoods that has been spewed out into the mainstream media as well through the blogosphere which is "Illegals don't pay any taxes". What?!? Let me go ahead and break this down for you. There are three forms of taxes that Immigrants whether they be considered a legal resident or illegal would be required to pay in order to contribute to our economy and that is the following:

Sales Tax; this type of tax is imposed upon many goods that are avaliable to purchase such as: food from your local community grocery store, clothing, books, movies, and yes of course even sodas that are sold at your corner store. That is billions of dollars in revenue from immigrants alone. Think about that for a bit and then we'll move forward.

Property Tax; every person needs a place to sleep or at least rest for the night. Any immigrant that rents an apartment or home can expect to pay a pretty sizeable property tax. You dont think immigrants are coming to America without a place to stay, eventually they will earn enough money to rent a piece of property for themselves. Many small towns are adopting a no- rent-policy for immigrants and I guess that's fine if those towns are okay with losing millions of dollars in property taxes espescially in this heated economic climate.

Income Tax; now this particular tax gets a lot of attention because how can immigrants without any Social Security number be able to pay an income tax. Well, there is this little thing called a Tax I.D. which is used by individuals who may or may not have a right to work in the U.S. These people are given a Tax Identification number for the purpose of reporting income earned and payment responsibilities. Federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing data to the public and the Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly made assurances that any tax information collected from illegal immigrants won't be used to deport them.

Now I want to go back to the beginning and explain to you about the legal arguments that ultimatley lead to the Court's decision and hopefully will be the foundation to future court victories based on these premises. Judge Susan Bolten cited the following; "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that allowing a state to enforce a state law in violation of the Supremacy Clause is neither equitable nor in the public interest" (Cal. Pharmacists Ass’n v. Maxwell-Jolly, 563 F.3d 847, 852-53 (9th Cir. 2009); Am. Trucking Ass’ns, Inc. v. City of L.A., 559 F.3d 1046, 1059-60 (9th Cir. 2009). The Supremecy clause is very clear in which it states that "the Constitution, federal statutes and treaties shall be......[the] Supreme Law of the Land." The argument from the defendents which in this case is the State of Arizona claimed that SB 1070 mirrored that of the Federal law which only would act as a compliment enforcement tool. In actuality the current Federal Immigration Law automatically states that "Unlawful presence in the United States is not a federal crime, although it may make the alien removable". SB 1070 would of criminalized, jailed and removed illegal immigrants by state and local police, on the bases of "suspicious activity". Let me make it very clear, the Federal law is the "Supreme Law of the Land and according to the court's ruling, "This is so because the federal government’s ability to enforce its policies and achieve its objectives will be undermined by the state’s enforcement of statutes that interfere with federal law, even if the Court were to conclude that the state statutes have substantially the same goals as federal law. See Crosby v. Nat’l Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363, 379-80 & n.14 (2000).

So as go continue to fight the good fights in order preseve Justice, Freedom and Equality for all we must be aware that evil looms around the corner. In the words of the great Nelson Mandela, "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others". Let's move forward with the message that "Love recognizes no boundaries". I would like to close this article with a prayer that a friend of mine had posted, which right about now could speak volumes over our current national debate over immigration.

'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We Are Not Afraid

The ignorant and misguided few have blinded the majority of Americans over the heated issue of Immigration Reform. Every article that has been written in opposition to Arizona's newly adopted Immigration law (SB 1040) has received the most racists and inappropriate comments that I have ever read. Are Mexicans the new symbol of discrimination? No, because being Brown has faced the same amount of hate and discrimination as our Black brothers and sisters since the birth of "Manifest Destiny". Though on the other hand we do live in a modern age of digital conglomerate media which has brought the issue of Immigration to a whole new level. It has risen the visibility of discrimination among the Latino community.

The heroes of old have left the fight up to us to once again unify this great country of ours in order to make anew and accepting of the World's natural citizens. Times like these make the political atmosphere so toxic that anyone with any power are afraid to speak out against "misguided" laws such as SB 1040. I can tell you though that there is an army just waiting to be risen from the depths of the sea. An army of volunteers that are not afraid to go forward and risk it all for justice, equality and in the hope of making a better America. I'm not promoting Anarchy nor any unlawful actions but I am promoting a spark that will hopefully ignite into a firestorm of possibilities.

M. L. King Jr. promoted non-violent demonstrations, which at the time was a revolutionary concept. No matter how hard or beaten they were, the cause endured and resulted in changing the direction of American Civil Rights forever. Cesar Chavez promoted hunger strikes and marches in order to expose the injustices of inadequate working conditions for farm workers. Harvey Milk declared for public office during a time of intense opposition towards Gay Americans. He lost many times before winning and one of his first legislative victories came in the form of a bill declaring equal rights for all Gay Americans living in the city of San Francisco. How does this relate to the issue of Immigration you say, well it doesn't but the point I'm trying to make is that right now we don't need a King or a Chavez or even a Milk to lead our generation. I'm gonna go one step further, we probably don't even need one single person to lead this fight for Immigration reform. All we need is ourselves to unite together.

Congress is broken and the White House will probably not take up any legislative action until after the mid-term elections. In the meantime its up to us to fight back. Don't be afraid to take a stand, we walk into the fire together and it is only there where real change occurs. Immigrants are people just like us. Americans aren't any better then anyone else around the World. We all inhereint the single most universal element that binds and connects each of us, it is our humanity. This is much more then a Civil Rights issue, it is a Human Rights issue. No Human is Illegal. We migrate to different locations around the globe to seek a more comfortable living, better educational opportunities for our children and security. Humans have been doing this ever since the ancient land bridge that existed connecting Alaska and Russia which brought the first civilizations to North America. Except now we have laws to stop the flow of Immigrants and label them criminals even though they are hard and honest working individuals. That doesn't make any sense.

Immigration Reform is the next big fight, one that I have been eagerly waiting for. It is the only issue that really forces America to look itself in the mirror. This is our country and I'm happy to share it with those that are here for a better tomorrow. Let's not be Greedy about Freedom. In order to preserve our freedom we have to share it. So let's pick up our voices and promote a path to citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants, lets fight for the DREAM Act and let us start acting Human for a change.

"All of our people all over the country - except the pure-blooded Indians-are immigrants or descendants of immigrants including even those who came over here on the Mayflower."

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt-