Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arizona Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Police State. Literally.

All that is required for this to happen is the governor’s signature. She has roughly four days to affix her “John Hancock” (shoutout to the Teabaggers) to a law criminalizing all Latinos who live, or traverse, in the state of Arizona and anyone who looks Latino, which means, as Joan Walsh pointed out, she might get pulled over for driving while having a tan. The bill that cleared the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate and awaits the governor’s signature would expand police authority to arrest individuals who may “look” or “sound” like an “illegal” (however that is defined) and cannot provide ample proof of citizenship or legal residence. In one more display of ‘suck it up and follow the wave’ Arizona Senator John McCain, instead of providing leadership on behalf of Latinos, blamed federal government inaction for this bill and said illegal aliens are driving people off the road on Arizona’s highways!

Such draconian measures are what police states, totalitarian/authoritarian governments, and fascist regimes do, not democracies. Republican state Senator Russell Pearce, who authored the bill, said “We're going to take the handcuffs off of law enforcement, we're going to put them on the bad guy. Illegal is not a race, it's a crime.” Estimates are that between 400,000 and 500,000 undocumented workers are currently in Arizona. Does Mr. Pearce intend to arrest all of them? That is, after they strip the roughly 1.3 million Arizona citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin of their due process rights under the U.S. Constitution –- an 88% growth since the 2000 Census. As it is, the laws already on the books aren’t being enforced by companies that employ undocumented workers, the lettuce and fruit pickers, because it would devastate their economies. These economies, by the way, that are the vestiges and heirs of the slavery-based economy of the United States, in the South, West and territories, before it was outlawed. But not eradicated.

To listen to the Caucasian callers to hate radio as Noam Chomsky has, in his disturbing assessment that our country is going the way of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic -- “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing” -– is to get a flavor for the pervasive anger waiting for release, for lashing out, that these right wing white people who gravitate to militias and the Tea Party feel. It runs much deeper than illegal immigration. They look at Latinos –- whom they call “spicks” and “wetbacks” –- and they feel threatened and angry.

Said Chomsky:
“What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
With demographic change comes uncertainty for whites who feel squeezed and threatened. With economic collapse comes despair and anger. With anger comes violence. Chomsky’s vision may be more lucid, but many commentators have said that the climate today is eerily similar to that preceding the domestic terrorist bombing of the Murrah Building at Oklahoma City. This nation may be at a crossroads. The time has come to push back. This means first, that Latino groups, not only in Arizona but throughout the country, must mobilize and unite to oppose Arizona’s assault on our basic freedoms and civil liberties. They must be joined by a nationwide coalition of progressive groups to speak with one voice against the institutional scapegoating of one class and race of people. At the same time, vigilanteism and violence-prone militia activity should be called out and discouraged. Mobilizing for a strong turnout in November is a must.

Finally, the fact is that today Latinos command substantial financial and political clout in this nation. It’s time to exercise it in creative ways. Year after year we see more and more Latino athletes fill the rosters of Major League Baseball. Where are their voices in all of this? I would rather see less piety by athletes, e.g., from evangelical members of ‘Athletes for Christ’, who stage proselytizing demonstrations for Jesus in front of the cameras, than to see all the Latino members of the Arizona Diamondbacks take the field and stand side-by-side in front of the camera box wearing headbands that say, “REPEAL AZ SB 1070 NOW!”

Noam Chomsky’s dystopian vision need not become reality. It is not too late to turn back the dark forces of right wing reaction and creeping fascism.


Brittanicus said...

Last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) ran the numbers at my request. Here’s what they found: For a single 25-year old male with very low earnings, today’s value of his and his employer’s contributions to the Trust Fund will fall $15,596 short of the value of the Social Security retirement benefits he will eventually receive. A single female will receive $20,936 more in benefits than she pays into Social Security. If the immigrant is married but the sole wage-earner, the couple will eventually drain the Trust Fund by $52,460; if the immigrant is married to another very low earner, the drain on the trust fund will be $39,037. The legalization of one million illegal immigrant couples who work for very low wages would be a $101 billion blow to taxpayers. And amnesty for all illegal immigrants would multiply this figure many times!

When it comes to taxes, amnesty supporters like to say that illegal immigrants will pay their “fair share” of taxes after being granted amnesty. This is deceptive.

Low-skilled workers often pay no taxes and receive a check from the Internal Revenue Service in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Putting illegal immigrants on the IRS rolls will actually cost the federal government money.

Since most illegal immigrants have less than a high school education and have well below average incomes, even those illegal immigrants who pay taxes pay far less in taxes than they (and their families) consume in taxpayer-supported benefits. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation found that the average immigrant household headed by an immigrant without a high school degree receives over $19,000 more in total government benefits each year than it pays in federal, state and local taxes!

But the impact goes far beyond these direct costs.

There are nearly 16 million Americans out of work, and about 8 million jobs are held by illegal immigrants. By simply enforcing immigration laws already on the books, we could create millions of job opportunities for American citizens and legal immigrants who played by the rules and entered the U.S. the right way.

Instead, the Obama administration has all but abandoned worksite enforcement efforts. Administrative arrests are down 87 percent; criminal arrests of employees are down 83 percent; criminal arrests of employers are down 73 percent; the number of criminal indictments are down 86 percent; and the number of criminal convictions is down 83 percent since 2008. This insults unemployed and underemployed American workers who need the jobs held by illegal immigrants.

The hit is on your wallet! Illegal immigrants are a fiscal drain on American taxpayers. And the Obama administration’s policies only make it worse.

Not copyrighted! Tell--ALL--American citizens and permanent residents. PASS AROUND TO EVERYBODY.

Brittanicus said...

What Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has to say about Amnesty and Tax-Dollar Drain,

Lamar Smith is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Outside of the usual articles from Bloggers like myself and other opponents of illegal immigration, here is a very eye-opening correspondence by an insider of the Washington beltway. While others fudge the truth or downright lie or release rancid propaganda to the masses. Here are some bitter truths that this Representative from Texas is availing us of the ugly truth and the calamitous situation sending us into a black bottomless pit of American bankruptcy.

Rep. Lamar Smith states:

President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been talking about giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Tax Day seems like a good time to examine the impact that such a policy would have on your wallet.

Start with education. Using the average annual American public school elementary and secondary education costs, the Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of K-12 education for illegal immigrant minors and the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants is $28.6 billion a year.

Then there’s health care. If illegal immigrants are covered in the health care bill (there is not a strong verification mechanism to ensure they won’t get benefits), it would increase the bill’s costs between $10-$30 billion. Of course, it won’t matter if illegal immigrants receive amnesty since the new law requires health care coverage for everyone.

Social Security is another area of great concern. Claims by amnesty advocates that illegal immigration can “save” Social Security are false.

Carlos said...

Brittanicus, I've noticed you're a serial commenter on this topic, with lengthy comments that skirt the spamming line. Lamar Smith is an anti-Obama wingnut with no credibility in these quarters, who wants the media to cover less positive economic news, and consorts with Birthers.

As for your other factoids, I choose to rely on solid academic studies that have conducted serious studies on the topic of immigration:

From the Washington Independent:

Studies Show Immigration Reform Could Give a Boost to the Economy

One study shows that comprehensive immigration reform could add $1.5 trillion to the country’s GDP over the next 10 years by increasing consumption and investment. Comprehensive immigration reform, here, is defined as a plan that “creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration that respond to changes in U.S. labor demand in the future.” According to this Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center study, comprehensive reform would also boost wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.

But even now, immigration is actually benefiting U.S.-born workers. Based on data from 1994 to 2007, the Economic Policy Institute published a study in February showing immigration raised the wages of U.S.-born workers by 0.4 percent ($3.68 per week), although it lowered the wages of foreign-born workers by 4.6 percent ($33.11 per week).

According to another study by the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute, in 25 of the largest metropolitan areas, immigrants (foreign-born U.S. residents, regardless of immigration status) make up 20 percent of the population and are responsible for 20 percent of economic output. The study found that economic growth and immigration are closely connected and immigrants contribute to the economy proportionally to their population.

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Legalizing unauthorized immigrants would increase tax revenue.

A January 2010 study by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimates that during the first three years after legalization, the higher earning power of newly legalized workers “would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue.”
A January 2010 study from the University of Southern California estimates that because unauthorized immigrants earn less than they would if they had legal status, the California state government lost out on $310 million in income taxes in 2009, while the federal government missed out on $1.4 billion.
The alternative to legalization—deportation—would be a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars.

A March 2010 study by the Center for American Progress “calculates a price tag of $200 billion to enforce a federal dragnet that would snare the estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States over five years.”

There’s more – a state-by-state breakdown from academic studies that show unauthourized immigrants add significantly to state and local economies.

That's enough spamming for me. The experts can set you straight.