I Can See Mexico From My House: Why I Support SB 1070
by Danielle Trevino on April 26, 2010 at 3:14 PM
My name is Danielle Adriana Chavez. I grew up in south Texas on the border with Matamoros, Tamaulipas. I can actually see Mexico from my house. I am Hispanic of Mexican and Spanish origin, and I support SB 1070.
Before you assume I'm a crazy racist and start shouting insults at me from the other side of the computer screen, read my argument for supporting the law.
I am Hispanic. My dad's side of the family all immigrated here-legally-at one point or another. I am of Israeli heritage, Jewish on my mother's side of the family. My grandmother immigrated to the United States mere decades ago when she was near my age. She came to this country legally. I am a child of extremely mixed heritage. I am anything but racist. My family came over here legally. Everyone else's should too.
SB 1070 is not about targeting Hispanics or Jews or Filipinos or any one specific ethnic group. SB 1070 is about enforcing the idea that illegal immigration is just that: illegal.
For those of you that do not support SB 1070, have you actually read it?
"Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S."
One can only assume that "legitimate contact" refers to being pulled over or stopped by the police for already doing something illegal. And reasonable suspicion probably refers to, oh, failure to provide valid identification...?
No one is going to get stopped on the street for "looking Hispanic" or speaking Spanish.
And if I wake up tomorrow and do get stopped on the street and asked to show my ID, I will be more than happy to oblige. As a citizen and a reaper of the benefits of this country, it is my responsibility to follow the laws enacted by state and federal legislatures. When you travel into Mexico, you are required to show your passport. Why should we not require identification when tables are turned the other way around?
I also feel the need to rebuttal against some of the ridiculous comments I've heard since the bill has passed.
"Hitler required people that looked Jewish to show their documents. We're going to become Nazi Germany!!!"
My family was IN the Holocaust. In fact, I am missing chunks of my family tree because of that horrific event. The difference between my ancestors and illegal aliens is that my great great grandparents were legal residents of the countries they occupied. No one is insisting on a search on anyone with a Hispanic last name or brown skin.
"Don't speak Spanish! You'll get arrested!"
What do you think an illegal immigrant is? I was particularly offended by this comment because an entire side of my family speaks Spanish on a regular basis. My father's first language was Spanish. Spanish is a well-known language in this country. Comments such as this one are more racist than the actual bill-not that the bill is racist.
And nowhere in the bill can the words "Hispanic," "Latino," "Chicano," "Spanish," or "Mexican" be found. So tell me, why does everyone assume only Hispanics will be targeted?
As a resident of a border town in deep south Texas, I have seen immigration first-hand--both legal and illegal. I witnessed close friends being notified that their paperwork finally went through and they were now citizens of our great nation. Watching someone gain citizenship into this country is a beautiful thing to experience. I have heard stories from Mexican immigrants who have said they would never even consider dual-citizenship because their heart and their allegiance belongs to the United States and the United States only.
I have also seen my friends' cleaning ladies disappeared week after week after not being able to re-enter the country, and I have seen hoards of students denied funding for college because, despite their lack of financial security, they were never properly documented and therefore, ineligible for financial aid.
I have also grownup hearing and reading stories about mothers coming over from Mexico just to have all their children on American soil-making these "anchor babies" eligible for all the benefits that are paid for by citizens' tax dollars. Mothers feed off of their children's benefits and live in fear of being deported.
Enforcing immigration laws isn't about racial profiling or kicking out people whose paperwork didn't go through the system. Enforcing immigration laws is about keeping people safe.
In addition to stories about cleaning ladies, lack of college funding, and anchor babies, I cannot even estimate the number of news stories I have seen and read that show just why being a legal citizen of this country is so necessary.
Years ago, I was watching our local evening news. A family appeared on the screen with their faces blurred out. One of the women was holding a little girl in her arms and appeared distressed. The translation given by the reporter said that the family had lost their other little girl. Because they were undocumented immigrants, they could not go to the police for help.
Because this family had not sent in their paperwork and legally immigrated into the county, they were missing a child-a baby girl-and could not ask the authorities for help for fear of being deported.
SB 1070 should send a positive message out to the citizens of our nation, as well as the rest of the world. Immigrating to this country legally is important. Immigrate legally and you can reap all the benefits of this great country.
Other nations in the world require passports for entry. In fact, people argued FOR the health care bill because "all the other countries are doing it." All the other countries, I'm sure, support legal immigration and frown upon entering their borders without the proper documentation-so why not support this law if "all the other countries are doing it" as well?
I do support further immigration reform. It should be easier to immigrate into this country legally, but using difficulty as an excuse to trespassing America's borders doesn't cut it.
Enforcing the idea that all citizens and residents of this country be documented ensures that everyone's wants and needs are accounted for. Being a legal immigrant and a citizen of this country guarantees you a vote and a voice in our nation. Isn't this something that everyone in America should strive for? Isn't this what makes us the great democracy the rest of the world sees us as?
I am a loud and proud Latina, but if mis padres came here legally, so can yours.