Casey Hayden in Arizona : Boycott ‘Fortress America’

Alfonso Vasquez of Phoenix lights candles during a prayer vigil at the Arizona State Capitol on April 24, protesting Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. Photo by Matt Pavelek / The Arizona Republic / AP.

Boycott Arizona:
Church leaders call SB 1070 ‘racist and sinful’

By Casey Hayden / The Rag Blog / April 29, 2010

“It is an act of injustice aimed at people whose appearance is suspect. To say there will be no racial profiling is an insult to the integrity of all Arizonans,” — Rev. Carmen B. Guerrero of Phoenix, representing the Episcopal bishop and church of Arizona, April 28 at Tucson gathering of religious leaders.

TUCSON — Calling Arizona Senate Bill 1070 a racist and sinful law, more than 30 area religious leaders gathered for a press conference at noon Wednesday, April 28, in Tucson.

At the gathering at Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 West 23rd Street, they called for people of faith and conscience to resist enforcement of the legislation.

AZ SB 1070 is a huge bill. Presence in this country without citizenship documents is not prohibited by federal law, although it does subject the undocumented person to deportation. AZ SB 1070 makes such presence a crime.

Besides the racial profiling inherent in asking police to stop and demand papers from anyone who they think may be here “illegally,” everyone by law now has to report on everyone else they suspect, or face criminal prosecution. All police are now immigration agents.

Yesterday, at the press conference held by clergy, the speakers were eloquent. There was not much press coverage, although the Washington Post has a reporter here so maybe they will report. (Their online ongoing immigration discussion is informative.)

This gathering, at Southside Presbyterian Church, was much like movement church meetings back in the day — but sadly, no freedom songs. Oh, well. Mostly Anglo gray hairs, whaddya gonna do?

There’s a second clergy meeting here next Wednesday. We will attend. My husband Paul is an Episcopal priest, and is an organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) — and the Pima County Interfaith Council — and he was a leader in the Sanctuary movement. I’ll tag along. Our buttons read “No papers.” And “Resist SB 1070. Resist racism. Resist fear. Solidarity.”

I also attended a rally at Congressman Raul Grijalva’s campaign office in Tucson last weekend. His other offices are closed following death threats.

There is a strong church based coalition of nonviolent resistance here in Tucson, active for years around border issues: people of color/Anglo/native. (Humano Derechos, Sin Frontera, Samaritans.) This bill criminalizes their humanitarian activities (leaving water in the desert, harboring sick migrants, or welcoming them to churches).

There were many stories at the meeting of home intrusions by INS agents, children being separated from parents on the road into foster care… the human toll. All police departments opposed the bill. No training, no staff, no place to house detainees, nothing.

There is great support across the country for opposition to the bill. Black churches, even Korean churches in Phoenix, are very strong against it. But Arizona polls are 75 percent in favor. Arizona is now the right wing leader, as Mississippi was previously.

This bill is Republican immigration reform. If Obama wants their input, this is it. He should be asking for input from human rights groups instead. This would provide the potential for some radical thinking from the left to emerge, as it has from the right. If he delays immigration reform, he will have to take on every state one at a time.

Make it clear we would like for Obama to to take his attention away from the Republicans for a minute or two, and direct it instead at the opinions of his constituents, us. The great Raul Grijalva, our Congressional representative, is calling on Obama not to cooperate with this bill. Arizona will need the feds to take rounded up detainees off their hands. Obama must refuse to take these detainees into federal hands. Attorney General Eric Holder may try to tie this law up in court, but it’s my guess the state will resist.

Everybody knows we are in an unsustainable mode on all fronts: energy, financial industry malfeasance, economy, military overextension, immigration, jobs. Because we all know this, right and left alike, the time is right for radical ideas, large and deep-seated ideas which will address the depth of the situation we are facing.

Not to knock the great unified movement of which I was a part in the 60’s, but we made some bad moves which led to our fracturing. One result was that the right took the churches. Immigration provides a way into deep conversation — which should include religious leaders — about the kind of country we want.

AZ SB 1070 is the most obvious example of Fortress America, the right wing’s answer to the real issues we all face: “We’ve got it and we are keeping it and we’ll shoot you if you try to get any of it.”

If that’s not you, please come forward around this bill. Boycott Arizona. And get on Obama’s case. Enough buddying up to the Republicans and Wall Street. Immigration reform now. Rule by the Constitution, not states’ rights.

Pass it on.

[A Texas native, Casey Hayden was a pioneer in the civil rights, New Left, and feminist movements. She was involved in anti-segregation efforts in the 50s while attending the University of Texas at Austin, was a founding member of SNCC and SDS, and organized white welfare women in Chicago. Hayden and Mary King wrote “Sex and Caste,” a document about the role of women in the civil rights movement that helped to set in motion the modern feminist movement. She was a co-author of Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement. Casey Hayden now lives in Tucson with her family.]

Religious leaders denounce 1070

The Rag Blog

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10 Responses to Casey Hayden in Arizona : Boycott ‘Fortress America’

  1. There are hundreds of millions of illegals in Arizona.

    280,000 full time jobs are held by ILLEGALS, and that means not only are TRUE CITIZENS not being given those jobs, but those same Americans often go unemployed and drain the unemployment fund in AZ.

    The police have given plenty of examples of a ‘reasonable’ concern for a person (or persons) being here illegally; you can often spot them by the vehicles they’re driving – the fact they’re jam-packed with people wearing back-packs and definitely not looking like tourists or legal residents.

    Arizona is trying to enforce a FEDERAL law as all states should be doing; part and parcel and in conjunction with federal immigration agents. It is our duty to join in; we are entitled to keep our borders safe, and evidence of what Arizona is trying to do, should be done by every state in the union.

    The law is the law, and should be enforced.

    I’m ready to be stopped and asked for ID anytime – anywhere – if it will help curtail the influx of illegals into this country, and not all illegals come from Mexico.

  2. Happy — Sounds like a car I’ve been in in the past!

    What exactly makes one “definitely not look like a tourist or a legal resident?” Could you be more specific?

    You do realize that requiring citizens to carry identification papers has always been the mark of a totalitarian government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gosh! It sounds like “Happy in Nevada” – isn’t. In the spirit of his/her self-proclaimed duty to join in border protection, I assume he/she has reported,and will continue to report, any citings of vehicles crowded with packpack-wearing folks who aren’t wearing leisure-appropriate clothing. I suspect the unspoken but additional criteria here are hair & skin color & one’s ability to speak standard English.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My grandparents were not “REAL” Americans. Unless “Happy” can trace his own heritage back to native Americans (or maybe mastadons) it likely includes some “NOT REAL” American’s too. I wonder who washes dishes in the kitchens of the restaurants in which Nevadans eat? who cleans their nursing home bathrooms? who picks the vegetables they eat? Be careful what you wish for.

  5. Incidentally, the population of the United States is just over 300 million. The population of Arizona is a little more that 6.5 million. Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, has a million and a half. Wonder where those “hundreds of millions of illegals in Arizona” hang out? The desert must be bumper-to-bumper (as it were) in sleeping bags.

    The point is that hyperbole and gross generalizations — and rash unsupported, assumptions — do little to further the dialogue.

    Likewise, mean-spirited, draconian, and clearly unenforceable laws, designed to make people feel like they’re doing something, in fact do absolutely nothing to solve what is a serious and complex problem — one, admittedly of crisis proportions — that calls for thoughtful, humanitarian, and effective solutions.

    Simply stirring up the hate clearly does nothing to move us forward.

  6. Mariann Wizard says:

    The Austin City Council is considering a measure to limit official city travel to, and business dealings with, Arizona in the wake of this offensive legislation.

    The good thing about it is, even Gov. Rick Perry thinks the AZ law is a step in the wrong direction, and we MAY get some movement on federal immigration reform, otherwise set to languish for another generation.

  7. I see I mistyped the number of illegals; the latest count was 410,000, not million – my mistake.

    I’m friends with the city council members in Phoenix and friends of the Bullhead City and Mojave Valley police force – they have given me a myriad of examples of how they determine suspected illegals.

    People who don’t live in Arizona or on the border of Arizona (as I do), don’t see the evidence as frequently as those who are not inundated with illegals.

    When I lived in California, the situation was similar – I’m just glad Arizona has taken the first step to ENFORCE the law, and that California will recognize the need to do the same.

    As to doing dishes; doing laundry – doing yard-work, and bussing tables, where I live and visit retail stores and restaurants as well as casinos, all of the employers require PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP.

    As I said, I’m ready to prove I’m a citizen, and everyone should be as well.

    Immigration laws weren’t meant to be laws that are not enforced.

    I continue to applaud Arizona for finally seeing the adverse consequences of ignoring those laws upon their state, and taking a step in the right direction to minimize the problem.

    I quite enjoyed your ‘attack’ on me and the accusations – my family came to the USA in 1631, and all were required to become citizens because the laws were enforced.

    I have a daughter-in-law who is from Mexico; she and her family adhered to the rules and became citizens.

    I have a daughter-in-law who came from Cuba – her entire family also became legal citizens.

    I’m proud to say that I have friends from a number of countries who’ve chosen to do the right thing, and abide by the law.

    Larry asked me why I hadn’t stopped in to read the Rag Blog lately; reading it had become difficult because of the prejudice exhibited on this blog – the arguments that were contained in the comments, and I’m again reminded why I will continue to restrict my visits since I don’t need the needless attacks on my character.

    Strangely, Thorne who sets the terms that prohibits ‘personal attack’ as inappropriate, simply means that the editors can do it, and the readers can be subjected to it.

    When one knows little about a circumstance, they should refrain from attacking those people who are more involved in the reality of the issues, and have a direct line source to those who have to enforce the laws on a daily basis.

  8. Didier says:

    ‘Personal attack’ ? Where?
    So, you’re a “good citizen,” Happy ?
    I’m a bad citizen, I mean, I’m not a citizen at all.
    People might have the right to live and work wherever they want. Why should they be imprisoned in a state/nation ? What is the legal basis of a “border” ?
    Where is the problem ? Isn’t the border itself ?
    Maybe you think I’m a dreamer : 70 years ago, Europe was at war. Today, I can live and work anywhere in the EEC. My grandfather died in 1916 during WW1. He was a ‘good citizen”
    What are you afraid of ?
    Thanks, Casey. “the time is right for radical ideas “

  9. Richard says:

    Aw Happy,

    You disappoint me, I had over time enjoyed your comments and somehow developed the feeling that you were much more aware of what is happening than your comment indicates. I cross many borders each year, I have to get extra pages in my passport from time to time, each time I wonder why there is a border at all. In every country I know of, if I wanted to, I could easily avoid la migra y aduana. Our Mexican cousins have been coming here to do an honest days work for a less than honest days pay, since we stole AZ and other states from them in an act of war.

    I might point out that your people who came here in 1631 did not come to the Estados Unidos, legally or not.

  10. James Retherford says:

    Sorry to debunk another of your points, Happy, but …

    My earliest known emigrant ancestors came to the Massachusetts colony of Ipswich in 1636, five years after your ancestors. All were already citizens of England and remained so throughout their lives. Unlike your claims about your ancestors, none of my ancestors “were required to become citizens” [of the United States] because there was no United States of which to become citizens — and thus no U.S. immigration laws to enforce. The United States did not come into existence for another 140+ years.

    My my, those pesky historical facts do sometimes get in the way of a smooooooth-sounding argument …

    Then there is the sizeable class of American immigrants from west Africa whose only papers were bills of sale. But that’s another sordid story of American exceptionalism — relevant here because a sizeable number of Latinos are of African, as well as Indian, ancestry.

    I like what the second Anonymous had to say about “real Anericans.” (I don’t think he or she was suggesting that Happy descended from a mastodon.) By any objective test of American authenticity, neither Happy nor myself (or the Republican state politicos who are responsible for SB 1070) pass the “real American” background check. Our papers are not in order.

    We all have an illegitimacy that centuries of genocide against native peoples and their culture cannot eradicate.

    Just think what our history might look like if aboriginal Americans had had effective immigration policy.

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