Anger in Arizona

This week there has been quite a hullabaloo in Arizona over the state’s new law to combat illegal immigration. (Murders and kidnappings have a way of doing this.)

While the law is not perfect, the people of Arizona have said they want to protect their borders, and they’ve been forced to take matters into their own hands because the federal government has failed in its fundamental duty to do so. (By the way, Arizonans overwhelmingly support legal immigration via green cards, working papers, etc.)

Last week there were over 100,000 citizens protesting this new law, and while they have a right to be angry (the law, by the way, is still supported by the majority of people in the state and in the country at large), this anger is largely misdirected.

Can you feel a short story coming? (I hate to disappoint!)

In 1978 I went to school in Ireland and got to Dublin via a cheap, indirect flight that took me to London. As I went through immigration at Heathrow, I was detained; I was taken to a back room and interrogated. I did become angry as the authorities continued to question me, but my wrath was not directed at the British administrators.

They were, after all, just doing their jobs, and as a first generation Irish-American with relatives in Northern Ireland, I fit their profile of concern. No, my anger was directed at my knuckleheaded Irish cousins who had been using violence for political reasons.It was the IRA’s illegal activity that prompted a response – and perhaps even an over reaction — on the part of the authorities.

I wonder if some of Arizona’s citizens today feel the same way I did, thirty years ago, as I sat fuming in a Heathrow holding cell?


One thought on “Anger in Arizona

  1. Most people in America aren’t against immigration; they’re just against illegal immigration. For example, like most of our ancestors, my mother’s parents were immigrants. They came through Ellis Island and followed the various legal steps required in order to establish themselves as true citizens of this country. The immigrants crossing the Mexican border, however, have absolutely no interest in following these legal protocols. Once they cross the border, they change their names and/or purchase social security numbers in an effort to conceal their true identities from the law. It is not uncommon for an illegal immigrant to purchase not one, but two or more social security numbers, just in case one is flagged. I have witnessed this crime with my own eyes. (One day, a supposedly legal immigrant was asked to give their social security card to a receptionist for a job application and an interview. When the receptionist happened to ask to see the card a second time, the immigrant mistakenly handed over a different social security card with the same name on it, but with a completely different set of numbers…)

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Hispanics. I have many Hispanic friends, but they either have green cards to work in the United States or have become legal citizens. They decided to follow the rule of law and work within the boundaries of our legal system. Unfortunately, many immigrants do not, and it is those particular individuals that we are most concerned about.

    Now it seems that those who sympathize with illegal immigrants wish to hijack the discussion of reform by attacking the law recently imposed by the State of Arizona through protests and boycotts; a state mind you, that has been besieged with crime, drugs and an ever-increasing population of illegal immigrants. Don’t allow them this option. Speak out and take action. This is your country… fight for it.

    In closing, I consider myself to be a bleeding-heart liberal: a Democrat. My ancestor, Roger Williams – the founder of Rhode Island and founder of the First Baptist Church in America, was one too; regarding the acceptance of different nationalities, cultures and religions as the vitality and lifeblood of any country. Nevertheless, I think that he would agree with me; that immigrants wishing to become legal citizens have not only the obligation, but the civil and legal responsibility to follow the rules of law established by any country in which they wish to become authentic citizens, just as our ancestors – both yours and mine – struggled so arduously and righteously to achieve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s