“For every one who’s a valedictorian there’s another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Iowa Rep. Steve King on why he opposes a pathway to citizenship.
(h/t Daniel Golden)
“Immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship have to pass a 10-question civics test asking basic questions about American history and government, and about 93 percent succeed
But only 65 percent of native-born Americans could get the required six out of 10 right answers when asked the same questions in a telephone poll.”
Civil rights groups will once again be gathering in Montgomery and Birmingham to protest what is viewed as “the nation’s toughest crackdown on illegal immigration.” This week’s expected demonstrations are in response to the looming implementation date of H.B. 56, a bill authored by Alabama State Senator Scott Beason, and signed into law in June by Governor Robert Bentley.
Beginning September 1st, the legislation authorizes state law enforcement to detain any person they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, “requires public schools to inquire into immigration status of students, makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work, and makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.” Both supporters and protestors of the law, however, are in limbo as they await a ruling by US District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn who said Wednesday, “There are a lot of problems with this statute. My job is to decide if this is constitutional.”
U.S. Attorney General William Orrick, “argues that the federal administration ‘speaks with one voice on immigration issues,’ and says allowing this law to be implemented would ‘risk a patchwork of 50 states with 50 different immigration laws’ that don’t match up with the federal government’s immigration policies.”
Senator Beason has another perspective, telling WAFF news that “‘We’re just saying we’re going to pass our own version of what you [the federal government] already have, and we’re going to enforce it within our borders of the state of Alabama.’”
Exactly how the United States should reform its immigration policies has been a fierce debate, placed at center stage when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial SB 1070 just over a year and a half ago.
photo via SF Sentinel
9 P.M. (HBO) CITIZEN U.S.A.: A 50-STATE ROAD TRIP
In celebration of Independence Day and the desire of her Dutch-born husband, Michiel Vos, to become an American, the filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi attends naturalization ceremonies in the 50 states and interviews new citizens about why they chose this country as their home. Among them are a coffee-cart vendor in New York City, a Buddhist monk in Utah, a Kentucky Paralympian from Nigeria and young refugees from Iraq living in Nebraska. Ms. Pelosi also interviews some famous first-generation Americans, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger; Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post; and Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss. - NYTimes
One of the great things about America is that just about everyone, at some point in their familial line, has an amazing and compelling immigration story. We often forget this, as we spit venom towards those who cross our borders, a tactic that has been replayed again and again over the generations.
We’re a nation of nomads, of frontiersmen and women, of expansionists. Our nation’s culture is tied up in and around cultures who are hundreds and thousands of years older than ours. While we certainly have created an American culture over the past 235+ years, we are still the sum of every culture that has passed through the nation’s doors. As Eric Weiner puts it in “The Geography of Bliss” (yes, I know, been quoting this book frequently recently. I have no shame in that!):
We are shaped not only by our current geography but by our ancestral one as well. Americans, for instance, retain a frontier spirit even though the only frontier that remains is the vast open space between SUV and strip mall. We are our past.
That frontier spirit is a collective one, where we long for the ethereal ‘freedom.’ An American present and future that denies others that most inalienable right is a nation we will not recognize. We need to tap into our collective unconscious, as Jung would say, and tell those harrowing and joyous immigration stories of our past; of our parents, grandparents, all down the line. We need to remind our elected officials how previous generations of immigrants were the backbone to “the American Dream” they love so much.
We say something along the lines of, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it,” yet it often seems like we have selective amnesia when we try to reform. Not just on immigration, but on issues like those absolute and unassailable rights only some of us are lucky enough to have. Hopefully, as we enter the Campaign 2012 election cycle, we can have intellectually honest discussions, discourse and debate. Let the invisible hand of the marketplace of ideas become a visible and vocal reality.
“[T]here was Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, celebrating civil rights in the Georgia, and chortling excitedly about the 2011 All-Star game in Arizona. In the hands of Selig, irony becomes arsenic. Thank God that Commisioner Selig was stupid enough to choose the Civil Rights Game to honor, among others, the great musician Carlos Santana. Santana was supposed to be the Latino stand-in, a smiling symbol of baseball’s diversity. And maybe, he would even play a song!
But Bud picked the wrong Latino. Carlos Santana took the microphone and said that he was representing all immigrants. Then Santana added, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” In a perfect display of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Georgia, the cheers quickly turned to boos. Yes, Carlos Santana was booed on Civil Rights Day in Atlanta for talking about Civil Rights.”
“They put them in the camps, and they shipped them back. We can do that.” - GOP state house candidate in Florida, Marg Baker, endorsed building concentration camps for undocumented immigrants.