Identity Theft

Yesterday a federal judge sided with the Obama administration in its challenge to the Arizona immigration legislation that was to become effective tomorrow. The legal argument in the challenge is centered not on human rights but rather on administrative prerogatives: the federal government claims constitutionally mandated exclusivity in matters of immigration, border control, etc. Regardless, my own interest is oriented towards the lives of real people: the difficult choices impoverished families face and the extreme hardships they undergo. Maybe, if more people gain an understanding of the realities of poverty and injustice then meaningful immigration reform will be achieved. To anyone who reads this, please read the linked articles. The first is rather lengthy, but is outstanding. It is more than outstanding, it is courageous. It is an essay by a court interpreter involved in the infamous 2008 raid on a meat processing plant in Iowa. (Here.) This link begins with brief testimony by the author, Eric Camayd-Freixas (in the photo, above), before a congressional subcommitee; the essay follows the prepared testimony. Camayd-Freixas meticulously exposes the gross injustice perpetrated on hundreds of Guatemalans and Mexicans by a government agency (the little known Immigration and Customs Enforcement) gone rogue. The second article is from today's New York Times and describes the situation of a county morgue in Arizona. (NYT: here.) Together, these articles offer glimpses into the extreme drama faced by some of the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. My real hope is that the realities described in these articles will become familiar to people who a) can't get past referring to immigrants with a generic, vaguely derogatory "they", or b) who really think that immigrants are "stealing jobs from Americans" (as if these immigrants weren't just as American, and more, than those who would like to believe otherwise), or c) who simply feel threatened by non-English speaking, darker skinned people. Unfortunately, I don't think I've got my intended audience, but I'll keep trying...

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