In Illinois and across the nation there continues to be an outcry over the Arizona immigration law signed by their governor last week.
It’s come from politicians like Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez religious leaders like Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and even Latino celebrities Ricky Martin, George Lopez and Eva Longoria Parker Tweeted their upset.
Lopez, Martin and Longoria Parker Tweeted their dismay over this law that allows police to investigate a person’s immigration status and arrest them if they don’t have proof of legal residence. There’s anger in the Hispanic community that this amounts to racial profiling.
The comedian Lopez tweeted, “ARIZONA .. George Lopez is coming .. Oops .. I just got pulled over .. Apparently I fit the profile .. Gacho !!”
He later tweeted, “AZ announces the first Spray Tanning Shop that sprays you lighter “the casper” .. Tougher to Profile.”
Pop star Martin Tweeted on Saturday. “Racial profiling should never be tolerated, in the US or anywhere in the world. We’re moving backwards. Scary. #SB1070.”
And actress Longoria Parker Tweeted what President Obama said about the Arizona law, “The recent legislation in Arizona threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness.”
A smart national strategy would involve celebrities in the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform.
Meanwhile in Illinois, politicians and immigrants rights activists are working to make sure we don’t see a law like this in our state and also mobilizing people for an immigration rally on May 1.
“What is happening in Arizona will not happen in Illinois – because we will not let it happen here,” State Rep. Cynthia Soto said in a statement. “We will begin meeting today to establish a comprehensive legislative strategy at all levels of state and local government to prevent the Arizonation of Illinois.”
There also is a vigil scheduled for Monday night outside the Broadview immigration detention center organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and interfaith leaders.
And Saturday is May Day which has in recent years been a day of protest for supporters of immigration reform. There will be a rally in Union Park at 1 p.m.
Last week, Illinois Congressmen Luis Gutierrez, wrote a piece in the Huffington Post expressing his outrage over the Arizona law and the failure of the Obama Administration to address immigration reform.
“A man who told the Latino electorate that he saw undocumented immigrants as future citizens, not criminals or deportees, has not lifted a finger. It isn’t as if his administration doesn’t have a clear immigration policy; they do. It’s called deportation only. And they are removing immigrants, mostly Latino, at a faster pace than the Bush administration ever did. All of the rhetoric that a new enforcement strategy targeting serious violent criminals was being adopted has been revealed as empty rhetoric,” Gutierrez wrote.
Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles posted his opposition to the law on his blog saying it will create fear and mistrust akin to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques.
“The law is wrongly assuming that Arizona residents, including local law enforcement personnel, will now shift their total attention to guessing which Latino-looking or foreign-looking person may or may not have proper documents. That’s also nonsense. American people are fair-minded and respectful. I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation. Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers? Are family members and neighbors now supposed to spy on one another, create total distrust across neighborhoods and communities, and report people because of suspicions based upon appearance?”
The Arizona law won’t prevent crime or halt immigration. It will only create fear and distrust and result in racial profiling.
But the one good thing is that it’s mobilizing people from across the country to work to address comprehensive immigration reform. It’s now at the top of the political agenda and President Obama and Congress must work on an immigration bill. If not, more states could go the way of Arizona.