I Can See Mexico From My House: Why I Support SB 1070

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.

Comments

The flack from this is unbelievable. There are so many people who are so caught up in the hatred for illegal aliens that they are willing to sacrifice the civil rights of American citizens for the political expediency. Right now, I believe only about 10% of Republicans are able to stand back and look at the bigger picture which is the destruction of our 1st and 4th Amendment rights as American citizens. Of course it is not their rights they are giving up. It is the rights of the Hispanic heritage American born citizen. It is amazing how easy it is to give up someone else's rights.

Ok so wake up and smell the freaking coffee! I believe you are lying to yourself I do not know how they do things down there in Texas but here in Arizona things for the past years have been hell for people who are of Hispanic descent. First off of course it is going to be Hispanics who they are going to target because that is who were are dealing with in our region, duh we know that, second in the state of Arizona since that damn pin head sheriff Joe Arpaio has been in office it is blantly obvious that he has been targeting the Hispanic community. I MEAN FOR CRYING OUT LOUD HE GOES ON MAN HUNTS TO FIND THESE POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. The damn man is more obsessed with wanted to stop illegal immigrants then wanted to stop crime, and these people are not the criminals. He has had busts at local spots were a lot of my friends who are citizens hang out, and most of the time the people are illegal, so you are telling me that if I go to the mall to shop and enjoy myself that here in America, being an American citizen if I leave the mall and I see 50 officers outside asking to see identification that, that should be ok or we should see it as normal, hell I would still be terrified even though I am a citizen. The fact is that you must see the bigger picture, and stop living in a fantasy racial profiling is happing still today, we just like to sugar coat everything and act like it’s not. I know plenty of people ranging in different ages who are treated like shit because of their skin color, the language they speak, and it needs to stop. And our "enforcements" need to set by example and STOP the attempt to brain wash us all.

you need to grow up --go back to where you came from..it is obvious you are not a legal citizen...go back and let people who want to be here legally have a try at life here...

Jasmin,
I'm actually a student at Arizona State University.  I live smack-dab in downtown Phoenix.  I am aware of Sheriff Arpaio's immigration stance.  I do not necessarily agree with the way he treats immigrants, but the legislation is only reinforcing the fact that background checks can be done on those caught up in doing something illegal who can't provide proper identification or documentation.  It's like getting pulled over for speeding and not having a license--of course the police are going to want to know where you're from whether it be Mexico or Canada!

Thank you Danielle. Well said.  Finally, someone with some clarity and personal experience with no political axe to grind, telling it like it is.

And just where exactly does it violate anyone's rights? Please explain.

If you're such a patriotic American, why do you not have a problem with the rights of American citizens being violated by this new pro-profiling law. 

I live in Arizona.  You lie.  It has not been Hell for Hispanics. The majority of Hispanics who live here legally support this bill. Who is paying you to say this? Why should you get to live here, send your kids to our free schools   use our medical care for free, call our police that tax paying citizens pay for and be here just 'caus you want to when there are thousands of immigrants from all over the world that have been waiting years to get to the US LEGALLY!  It's a crime to be here without papers.  If you don't like it.  Get papers and stop making it hell for the ones that are here leagally.

Bottom line..if you are not here legally then you must leave!  There is no other country that you can go and live let alone get benefits from if you are not legal. For those of you that want to call it racist then be my guest but I call it doing our job to getting the people out of my country that are here without permission, taking the benefits that they have NEVER PAID INTO, and never will, taking jobs away from those of us that need or want them and raking up medical bills that I as a tax payer pay for when you as an illegal need medical attention yet you will again never pay for!!!! Enough taking advantage of..go back to your own country and take advantage of them. We have supported you long enough. Bottom line.

It angers me when I hear white people defend racial profiling, but when a person of the targeted race does so, it greatly disappoints me. 

I am happy for you that your family members had the chance to arrive legally in the U.S.  So did mine, from Italy.  However, things are not as easy as one says, nor are the times the same as they were back in the early-mid 1900s when my family traveled here. "If my family can come here legally, so can yours."  Not true.  There are so many extenuating circumstances that do not allow this. Extreme poverty, persecution, war, physical, mental and sexual abuse, as well as physical and/or mental illnesses will make anyone do anything possible to save his/her life and to protect and provide for his/her family.    

I have been working with the Latino community since graduating college in 1995.  I lived in Phoenix for two long years, from 1996 - 1998 and witnessed how unwelcoming the residents were to minorities. For example, it was only in 1992 when the state finally voted to celebrate Martin Luther King as a state holiday.  The same occurred in the city of Mesa in 1998, where it had been on the ballot for almost 10 years. It won only by a small margin that year. That was my turning point to get out of that state.

I currently reside in Chicago and for the past six years have been working with the HIV community.  I work with everyone from all backgrounds imaginable, including those without valid SSNs.

I say, and please note, that NOT ONE of my clients, friends, etc. enjoy being undocumented.  They hate living in the shadows.  They are afraid to seek help, some were even unwilling to go to the clinic for fear of being deported until we assured them that this would not occur.  My client who escaped war-torn El Salvador did not enjoy traveling to this country by foot, a trip that took him 12 months to complete.  Neither did my client from Guatemala, who fled years of physical and mental abuse from his mother and step-father.  And there's my transgendered client from Mexico, who left her home country due to the hostile environment she lived in.

Could they have applied for visas in their country? Sure, but the process could have taken years, and there still was no guarantee that they would have been accepted. Furthermore, two of the three clients I mentioned above already knew their status, and until Obama overturned the HIV-ban this year, they would have been automatically eliminated. The situations they were living did not allow time for them to plan for proper entry in the U.S.  They were simply trying to survive.

AZ's law SB 1070 directly targets Latinos.  One cannot tell if someone is undocumented by the "shoes they wear" as Rep. Bilbray has claimed. Racial profiling targeting blacks and latinos has been an on-going issue in our justice system. We should be trying to irradicate this type of behavior instead of honoring it. SB 1070 is setting us back in time instead of moving forward.

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