NAHREP Members: You don’t want Arizona’s climate of hate in your town!

General Posts

by Gail Buck

For anyone who lives outside Arizona, the state’s controversial immigration law is probably just a current event that gets debated over drinks with friends. Unless you’ve been subjected to prejudice for who you are, this is a subject that’s easy to dismiss with all the other bad things that are happening in the world today.

It’s a different story for Latinos living in Arizona, however. Long before Governor Brewer signed the immigration law, the air of fear and bigotry toward Latinos existed. The now infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his posse of vigilantes have seen to that. The culture of prejudice these people have created here is something you don’t ever want to experience in your hometown. Trust me on this. The new law has only emboldened them and licensed their actions. Any dark skinned person here is fair game.

I’m Mexican. I speak Spanish fluently but have no accent. But I’m fair skinned with red hair. At first glance, no one will peg me for a Latino. So the chances are slim that I’ll get pulled over on suspicion for how I look. That’s not the case, however, for people who work in my office. Estevan Medina, who works at my Phoenix office, is a recent graduate from Arizona State University. He is a trained architect who can’t get work in this lousy economy. His loss, my gain. I’m delighted to have access to his talents. But Estevan’s brush with Sheriff Joe’s posse is a reminder what this law will create.

Estevan is dark skinned and a native of Mexico. He is bilingual and a proud U.S. citizen. The Sheriff’s posse pulled over Estevan and his college buddies one night. They handcuffed them with zip ties and shackled their feet. They bound them like criminals first; then they asked questions later. Estevan was humiliated. This practice and the discriminating way it is used to intimidate Latinos sends a loud, clear message to the Hispanic community: We don’t like your kind. Surely this experience will be an indignity Estevan will remember his whole life.

Latinos around here live in fear. You can feel the tension in the air. They don’t like the hostile climate and don’t want their children to grow up in this environment. Can you blame them? Many of them are leaving the state and moving to Colorado, returning home to Mexico or considering a move to other neighboring states.

Their exodus is causing a chain reaction and leading to losses for local businesses that rely on their consumer purchases. The housing market is no exception. Arizona is one of the leading foreclosure states in the nation. We have more empty housing than we can fill. We don’t need more problems that make properties harder to sell. At my office, we’ve had deals fall through at the last minute because investors were concerned about the hostile climate and the challenge with getting future renters or buyers.

Many undocumented immigrants here bought homes over the years, using an ITIN number or a fake social security number — back before Homeland Security began tracking such things. Right or wrong, these people are invested in our community. They pay taxes. They’re hard working. They’re current on their mortgages. But many are walking away from their equity out of fear of deportation.

I volunteer as a mentor at a local charter school and work with some special kids, many of whom are Latino. The stories that don’t make it to the news headlines are the heart-wrenching accounts of what happens to these kids when their parents are picked up and deported. Families are separated. The kids are left to fend for themselves in an unfriendly environment. They become orphans. Most of them are English-speaking, American-born citizens.

Misguided politicians make sensational claims that all undocumented workers are drug mules and criminals. They are fueling a culture of hate with untrue statements like these. My experience of the immigrants who come to this country is that they are hard working, family-focused people who are in search of economic opportunity. Some of them work seven days a week and juggle multiple jobs to provide for their families. They are not criminals.

I don’t have the answers that will fix this complex problem. What I do know is that we cannot lose our sense of humanity in our haste to fix a broken system. No matter where you stand on this issue, I can say with certainty that living in an atmosphere of hate is something you DON’T want to experience. If you live in one of the 20 states considering legislation like Arizona’s, it’s time to wake up and get involved. As a community, we can’t let this happen to other neighborhoods.

Gail Buck

About the author:
Gail Buck is a leading REO broker in Arizona with offices in Scottsdale, Tucson, Sedona and Goodyear. She is a long-time advocate for the Hispanic community and has spearheaded grassroots programs to educate and inform new homebuyers and distressed homeowners. Recently, she co-founded Foreclosure Prevention Angels, a coalition of real estate professionals that provide resources and guidance to families facing foreclosure.

27 Responses to “NAHREP Members: You don’t want Arizona’s climate of hate in your town!”

  1. gloria granados says:

    Everyone coming into U.S. should do it right and that is become legalized, that is bottom line.

  2. Maria says:

    I can understand the concern the Arizona law is creating in the Hispanic community and it is certainly a big problem, BUT, the Federal Government has been ignoring the illegal immigration problem for decades (both political parties) and now we are at a breaking point. Instead of boycoting Arizona and pointing fingers, why don’t all the Hispanic Organizations that have influence in Congress do some pushing and screaming at our elected officials to resolve this problem once and for all. Both parties should work together to come up with a solution. The President should not IGNORE the problem any longer. By him ignoring it, he is part of the problem. The way I see it, it’s easier to blame everything on racially motivated reasons than trying to solve it.

  3. Kerry Curry says:

    Interesting commentary from someone on the ground in Arizona. I have quoted from and linked to your blog post on our website, http://reo-insider.com/
    Kerry Curry
    Editor
    REO Insider

  4. Howard Zimmerman says:

    I am 100% bilingual thanks to my wife of 17 years who was born and raised in Argentina. It took us a little over 5 years to get her U.S. citizenship even though she was not even 1 second here illegally. We had to go through many processes and pay for several forms to be filed etc. but in 5 years we got it! We have 2 kids, both of course are considered Hispanic because their mother is. To top it off, we both are Jewish. Want to talk about minority… being a Hispanic, Jewish woman, what is that, less than 1.5% of the population for sure (Jews are less than 2% of the entire U.S. population).

    This being said, my wife and I are very much in FAVOR of the AZ Law. If it is read, one will see there is absoultley nothing about race mentioned it all. One can be from any country and be asked for a picture ID only if one is stopped for some other violation. It is specifically against the law to do otherwise and one will have right under the law for recourse. It would be no problem for me or my Hispanic looking wife, Maria, to show our drivers license 5 times a day for our own safety. Heck we carry it in our wallets every where we go anyways… Do you or anyone you know have an issue with airport security screening you whether you like it or not, no matter what you look like? My wife and I sure don’t!
    This law is mirrioring a Federal law that has been on the books since 1996! If this law is so wrong, where have you and all of its opposers been the last 14 years?? All this law does is allow local police to do the same job as that of Federal enforcement such as ICE. Upon arrest, the local police will bring the offender of this law to a Federal center. If these illegal people are here, are working, paying taxes or not; THEY ARE BRAKING THE LAW, PERIOD. If they are working, it’s even worse because now they are taking a job away from a legal resident or citizen that does not have a job! We have 10% unemployment for those people that are still looking for work. There is another 6-7% more that just gave up, why is it right for illegals to take jobs, and for that matter, employers to offer jobs to illegals when we even have 1% unemployent? This FACT is very upsetting to those who do not have rose colored glasses on. Illegals do not count against the unemployemnt rate, do I have to tell you why? This law needs to be carried forward in every single state because it is the right and correct thing to do. The states can no longer afford to stand by and let this continue to be one of the many problems leading them to bankruptcy.

    Bottom line, if one is here illegally, one is braking the law! That is what illegal means afterall.

  5. Maria says:

    Mis respetos Gail como profesionista y mas como el gran ser humano que eres.. Y mil gracias por defender nuestra comunidad y hacer consiencia a todas tus amistades sobre el problema aqui en ARIZONA,, Esto es un problema que afecta a todos como comunidad que somos, no importa de que nacionalidad seamos( blancos, morenos, etc).Si no lo que aportamos a este Gran Pais.

    Muchas Gracias Gail por este Articulo.

  6. Nameless Responder says:

    If someone violates the law anywhere they should expect to suffer the consequences without complaint. They know the legal way but choose to ignore it. If I travel to any other country in the world, I expect to follow the law of that country or be subject to the consequenses set forth by that country. Why should this country be any different? It is a slap in the face to every legal imigrant that illegal imigrants seem to think they should be treated any different. Perhaps the Hispanic organizations here should “do the right thing” and encourage the LAWFUL activities of their constituants and ask those that have broken the law to also “do the right thing” and apply for citizenship like they should have in the first place instead of inciting their members to protest against the very laws they all wish to live under. I always thought the reason people wanted to come to this country is because of it’s laws. Now because some don’t like that these laws are being enforced they want to cry, give me a break.
    I am a non minority employee of a Hispanic owned company who cannot list my name on this blog because of the retaliation I will recieve if my identity is revealed. Pretty sad. So discrimination works both ways.

  7. Adam Carter says:

    @Howard Zimmerman: I think it’s admirable that your wife was able to come here legally. It’s not explicitly mentioned in your post, but by the 5 year time-frame you indicated, it would suggest that her eligibility for citizenship was based on marrying an American Citizen.

    There are other methods of coming here legally, however, they would typically require a US based employer to sponsor an immigrant visa petition. In order to file such a petition, the beneficiary would first have to be determined eligible under one of the employment based immigration categories. There are non-immigrant visas such as the H1B for skilled professionals, or the E visas for business investors, but those options are simply not viable for the vast majority of people. In all of those cases, there is significant red tape, a time delay and considerable expense involved with legal fees and filing fees. The individuals coming here legally under those programs are not the same people impacted by the current law.

    The point I’m trying to make is that there is no way for many of these people to come here legally even if they wanted to. Until there is, I think it’s disingenuous to condemn all these people as “law breakers”. I think doing so demonstrates a lack of understanding about what’s really going on here. Why is it that there is no requirement to prove legal status when it comes to paying federal taxes? The IRS will happily take the money, no questions asked. If the federal law has been on the books for 14 years, why has it not been enforced properly? Why would the Obama Administration be in pursuit of a lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law?

    The overwhelming majority of immigrants, documented and undocumented, are productive members of society. The only reason the undocumented workers are here is because there is a demand for them in a free market economy. I believe this demand has been created by excessive regulation on business with workers compensation, minimum wage laws, and excessive taxation. The grey economy is only likely to grow with new initiatives like health care reform.

    Your assertion that they are taking jobs away from legal residents is hogwash. In many cases they are filling the jobs that Americans don’t want to do. This has been clearly demonstrated by the United Farm Workers “Take Our Jobs” campaign – you can read all about it here: http://www.takeourjobs.org

    I believe undocumented immigrants form a vital part of this economy. I think the federal government is fully aware of this, hence the persistent failure to enforce the law, or implement any sensible immigration policy. It serves the politicians on both sides of the aisle to preserve the status quo; it enables them to satisfy the multiple special interests that control so much of what really goes on in this country. I doubt any change will be forthcoming in the near future. Substantive change would require an honest evaluation of the anti free market regulation which has created this situation in the first place.

    @Nameless Responder: You suggest “They know the legal way”, do you? Given the channels available for legal immigration and the available visas, under which category should they “apply for citizenship”? In response to your statement “If someone violates the law anywhere they should expect to suffer the consequences without complaint”, I strongly disagree. In World War II, it was illegal to hide Jews in Nazi occupied territories. The crime was punishable by death. Aren’t you glad some brave people had the sense not to follow the law?

  8. Nearly a decade ago I spent three wonderful years in Tucson, Arizona, except for one unforgettable and most unfortunate event.

    Tucson a beautiful city. Its landscape and architecture remind me so much of the Mexico I grew up in — full of majestic cacti and colorful bougainvilleas.

    One particular evening, my daughter Angelina and I were returning from Yuma, Arizona. There we had just celebrated the first HUD voucher homeownership program loan made in Arizona, a program I had been so proud to pioneer.

    Right around two in the morning, however, we had to stop at a border check point somewhere between Yuma and Tucson. The border patrol officer immediately questioned “who is your friend there” meaning my daughter, exclaiming so in quite a provocative and suggestive manner. Since my daughter was only a teenager at the time and fast asleep, resting her head on my right shoulder, I did not wish to incite anything that would delay our journey longer. I simply answered that my friend happened to be my daughter, stated our American citizenship status, and waited to be allowed to move on.

    We were lucky! For the many who have never experienced being submitted to worse humiliation on the basis of one’s color, they cannot imagine how powerless one feels. It is so much like the discrimination I grew up with in Texas. There, even after winning a state basketball championship, we were not allowed to eat at any restaurant in downtown San Antonio. Typically, in deeply segregated areas in Texas we were told that we Mexicans could eat inside but that our sole African American player could not. Bottom line, we would simply refuse to eat in any of those places.

    Yes, it is illegal to enter the country without proper documentation. That however does not make those who do “illegal” aliens anymore than it makes those who drink while driving and exceed the speed limit “illegal citizens.” Their actions may clearly be illegal but they are not illegal citizens.

    Let us reasonably seek to reform our immigration system and find just solutions to a broken system that has caused thousands of immigrants to leave the country, lose thousands of homes and jobs, and leave behind an economy desperately in need of their past and substantial contributions. Yes, it is immigrants, minorities, and young working families who are the engines of our most recent economic boom. As workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs, their contributions to our economy are desperately needed.

  9. “For anyone who lives outside Arizona, the state’s controversial immigration law is probably just a current event that gets debated over drinks with friends. Unless you’ve been subjected to prejudice for who you are, this is a subject that’s easy to dismiss with all the other bad things that are happening in the world today.” I think the opening to your blog is crucial and true to what is happening here in AZ today. I myself, born in Mexico, have not experienced any type of of racial profiling, but I do know many that are in this country of the free and the brave, in this state LEGALLY and have been stopped because of what they look like. I think everyone can agree that illegal immigration is something that needs to be addressed nation wide, HOWEVER what the current SB1070 law does is create fear in legal, tax paying abiding citizens because the law is so vague. No one in a country with beliefs such as, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” should feel that they will get stopped simply because of the color of their skin or what they look, and sadly this is what the perception is in AZ because of this law. The stories are endless of those legal citizens who have gone through this scrutiny and that is why this law needs to be clarified, removed, or reformed. Thank you for this blog Gail as it only offers a good perception to those out of state.

  10. Dorian says:

    As a college student, my stands is this: ” we are the future”. I have friends that are frustrated that because of their “legal” status, they NO longer have the opportunity to qualify for specific scholarships. They NO longer have the perception that America is the land of opportunity and dreams. Some, with a high school diploma in their hands,face the cold stares from those around them. I watch them struggle, making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. But, they don’t stand alone, I am one of many that gives them the support. The one that keeps the light in their eyes shining. I believe CHANGE can be done, but its a matter of all, cooperating in a peaceful manner, because after all America is just another name for opportunity. (Emerson)

  11. Aurora says:

    It is getting so bad here it Tucson. 19 schools were closed here this year. Next year they are looking at 22. I am a hispanic US Citizen. I moved here from California. I wanted to buy an affordable house. I am moving. We are ALL immigrants here. Just because of our color and features we are treated differently. Look at our native Americans. This is thier country. So Yes, my husband and I are leaving Arizona because of this new law. My kids are Mexican American – what can they expect. My son who is turning 16 is getting his drivers license. He asked me “what do I do if they stop me?”. Will they send me to nogales? Who do I call? What do I do? My son, a US Citizen, good student and a job – is afraid to drive. What about that???

  12. Fernando Gonzales says:

    I am a mexican citizen with properties in Tucson. Everything is done legally. I pay my taxes and am proud to do so. I am thinking of selling them. It is not so friendly or safe anymore.

  13. Al Preciado says:

    I have read the comments about illegal is illegal and what part of it I don’t understand.

    Well, an Arizona candidate is now suggesting that when he is elected he will cut off the electric and gas to immigrants that don’t have proper papers! The Govenor is quoted as saying that “..all illigal immigrants that come here are drug dealers.”

    It is getting crazie in Arizona. Don’t come here. 100,000 people marched in the heat against this bill. Only less than 15,000 came out the same day in the cool of evening to support it. (Oh, by the way, they don’t want to work in the heat either.)

    I’m over 67 remember when it was illegal for me to drink at the water fountains marked white only. Later sensible people changed that.

    I remember when it was illegal for me to marry my first wife, because it was an interracial marriage. Later sensible people change that.

    I remember when it was illegal for me to purchase my first home in a white only neighborhoods. Later sensible people changed that.

    I remember when it was illegal for a Black or a Mexican to join the Board of Realtors. Later sensible people changed that.

    I remember when it was only a “white man’s job” and women, blacks and Latinos (read Mexican here) could not apply. Later sensible people changed that.

    I remember when it was illegal for a women to purchase a home and get a home loan in her name. (I was there to handle the first one in our escrow title company.) Sensible peopled changed that.

    I am sure you can remember more and add to this list.

    Only when sensible people have taken over the debate on these matters has our Country moved upward, forward and prosper again. All these laws were changed, because it was the sensible thing to do. And because we did, one fact is very clear. Our Country then went into a great rate of growth and prosperity.

    So don’t tell me illegal is illegal. And don’t tell me to go to the back of bus or line.

    So here are the game rules:
    Boycott and save your money;
    Buycott and spend your money;
    See the revenue drop, see the revenue drop;
    See profits drop, see profits drop
    See bank deposits drop, see the drop by the end of the quarter;
    See the investors run, See the investors run.
    Now tell me how this will help the economy.
    Tell me how deporting 12 million immigrants and their leaving 3-4 million housing units will help. The lenders already have a l million homes on the market. What will another 3 -4 million vacant housing units do ?

  14. Badshah Khan says:

    In response to #4 Howard Zimmerman’s post:
    First off, learn to spell, “THEY ARE BRAKING THE LAW, PERIOD,” you misspelled the word breaking several times, which demonstrates to me that this isn’t a typo. How about this one, “This law is mirrioring,” really?
    I get the sense that you miss the point entirely of what was written.
    For starters, your comment about what a minority it is to be Jewish and Argentinean demonstrates your complete disconnect from what it means to be targeted as a Mexican
    Most of the Jews settled in Argentina, came after Argentina gained independence from Spain, the Jewish that then settled were mainly from Western Europe including France. The far majority, just like you, are Ashkenazi. In later waves more people came from Russia and Eastern Europe. It’s the third largest Jewish community in America, and the 5th or 6th largest in the world. As with Canada, Australia, and the United States, Argentina is a country of immigrants, and the far majority of its population would self identify as of European descent. As in the U.S., Jews in Argentina are pretty prominent in national business and politics.
    In other words, your wife is not indigenous to the Americas. She’s “white,” just like you, and therefore will not be targeted by the police.
    Essentially Arizona’s law, originally signed on April 23rd of this year, was set to make illegal immigration a state misdemeanor in addition to a federal civil violation. It also required local police, after making a “lawful contact”, to check the immigration status of people who cause “reasonable suspicion”, and to arrest them if they lack documents. “Lawful contact” and “reasonable suspicion” allow cops selectively to pull over Mexican looking drivers on the pretext of a scratched windscreen or some other excuse.
    Did you get the point of the story about Estevan? Evidently not.
    The obvious danger in the new immigration law is that it would lead to the systematic harassment of Mexican looking/brown-skinned people, including legal immigrants. This was the main point of the original post.
    The deputies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, are already notorious for doing this sort of thing, and the original law would require cops to do it statewide.
    I’ll comment on some of your other ridiculous comments regarding economics shortly. In the mean time, take a look at this article. It might give you a different perspective.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/business/05immigration.html?_r=1&sq=Illegal%20Immigrants%20Are%20Bolstering%20Social%20Security%20With%20Billions&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1254244375-0ATGdwFfTqN3vchRNY5pJg

  15. Maria says:

    In response to #14: My goodness, what is YOUR POINT with all that rambling about misspelled words and history lesson on where Jews in Argentina came from…. Everybody knows that people from ALL the Americas originally came from somewhere else, but the fact is that people have NO right to be in this country ILLEGALLY. Whether you come from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc., etc., you have to be legal in the USA, if you don’t want to get in trouble with the law. You also have to consider that not only hardworking people come over, also drug traffickers, and terrorists. And they are the ones that do HARM to us. Are we supposed not to do anything? Like I said before, it is very easy to cry racism and not do anything, but it is also a matter of SECURITY for this country. Instead of arguing among ourselves, why don’t everybody that feel so strong about this issue, contact their ELECTED OFFICIALS AND DEMAND, AGAIN DEMAND a solution by the Federal Government. The inactivity of the government about solving this problem has prompted this issue to get out of hand. So we are blaming the wrong people. Let’s put the blame where it belongs!!..

  16. It’s a shame that a country with so much money and resources could produce so much discrimination based on pure ignorance and fear, which in this case I consider synonymous, in the sense that lack of education only promotes and exacerbates fear…! This is clearly demonstrated by Mr. Zimmerman’s response (responder #4).

    As a Mexican with dark skin, and now a Mexican-American (with even more noticeable dark skin), and living in this country for 30+ years, I have my share of discrimination stories. It’s too bad we don’t have 50+ museums around the world that show, educate, and demonstrate discrimination, and humiliation against my people. as one isolated example; the recently shot in the head 14 yr. old kid (or equivalent) shot by a brainless un-educated (typical) EEUU border patrol police across the border from (was it?) Ciudad Juarez, and only because the kid was threatening them by throwing rocks… oh my…! what a crime…!!! Of course, the story vanished from the news from one day to the other… I’m sure if the kid happened to be Jewish, his story and picture would be added to one of their museums… anyway, i’m getting off track…

    I wish education (as opposed to consumption propelled by brain washing techniques) could be made more affordable for all the people living in this country. Things would be so much different…!

    Last but not least, with all due respect I’ve had it with Jewish people continue talking about how much and how bad and for how long they’ve been discriminated… too bad I don’t see any Palestinian names in this Blog, I’ll send them Mr. Zimmerman’s comments just to have a laugh. We are not living in the 40’s any more… last time I checked the calendar stated 2010… ;-) I’d love for them to walk TODAY in the shoes of someone with dark skin living in this country… specially walk in the shoes of those with dark skins living in AZ.

    And one more time, yes Mr. Zimmerman, use the spell feature on your browser before you submit, people will have a bit more respect for what you have to say. I’d love to see a picture of your Argentinian wife.

  17. MCCAIN says:

    Response to #15:
    Here’s Badshah point:
    1. If you’re going to argue something, spell it correctly.
    2. The whole history lesson is to prove, that Jewish Argentinians are not minority BUT MAJORITY. Therefore the SB1070 bill will not affect them.(also, their skin color is not “brown”.
    3. We are all illegals! (you’re right) The whole deal about terrorists etc. can be solved. BUT THIS IS NOT THE CORRECT SOLUTION

  18. Sue Adams says:

    I am very white of European decent; some of my great, great grandparents were born in this county well before the Civil War. In this state I will not be detained for my appearance or language skills. I loathe the political opportunism of SB1070 and the narrow minds who fail to grasp how they are being manipulated and distracted from reality.

    First and foremost, why isn’t all this hatred directed toward those who have employed illegals for their own financial gain? People are here because “white people” pay them. Every single person on this post has enjoyed a wide variety of cheap products and services ranging from fresh produce to car washes to landscaping care to trade work to housekeeping services and more. Why don’t you all hate yourselves for being unwilling to pay union scale for what you want?

    Even though actual facts do not matter to many people in this discussion there are undeniable truths conveniently overlooked or distorted.

    According to US government data since 1983, more than $500 billion in uncredited Social Security wages have been earned by so-called “no match” employees – or those employees’ where names and numbers don’t match. When that happens, no one gets credit for the taxes paid by the worker. REPEAT: $500 billion dollars contributed by those people you want to run out of the United States who are working hard for better life.

    PERCEPTION VS. REALITY

    This information from the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University that does not advocate a position on immigration issues released a paper on the perceptions and realities of immigration. The report notes 9 common assertions – and whether they are solid, not provable or false.

    1) Virtually all Arizonans consider undocumented immigration a threat. REALITY: 70 percent of Arizonans supported a law to authorize police to stop and verify the immigration status of anybody suspected of being an illegal immigrant, according to an April Rasmussen poll. At the same time, 57 percent favored a policy welcoming all immigrants except criminals, those who threaten national security or those here for welfare benefits.

    2) Most violent crime is committed by undocumented immigrants. REALITY: That sentiment doesn’t separate types of crime, such as drug cartel violence in Mexico, crime by drug smugglers against their rivals and general crime. Arizona’s crime levels have declined or been level for years. From 1999 to 2006, states with high numbers of immigrants like Arizona saw crime drop more than the national average.

    3) Undocumented immigrants are entering Arizona in record numbers. REALITY: The flow peaked about a decade ago. It has slowed or even stopped since the economic decline. The Department of Homeland Security estimated 460,000 undocumented immigrants in Arizona in 2009.

    4) Undocumented immigrants are a drain on the economy. REALITY: They contribute sales tax dollars and billions of dollars annually in federal payroll taxes by workers who are ineligible to collect the benefits. They provide cheap labor that reduces costs. However, they hold mostly low-wage jobs, rely heavily on public services and send money to their home nation. It’s probably impossible to calculate the net economic effect in a way both sides would find conclusive.

    5) Arizona’s prisons are bursting with undocumented immigrants. REALITY: The Department of Corrections reports 15 percent of inmates are “criminal aliens.” About 19 percent of inmates are undocumented in the Maricopa County Jail system.

    6) Stiffer laws and tougher border enforcement will rid Arizona of undocumented immigrants. REALITY: This has begun, with illegal crossers falling from 600,000 in 2000 to 241,000 in 2009. It’s doubtful most undocumented families would leave because they’ve been welcomed over the past decade for their labor and have established their lives here with children who were born as U.S. citizens.

    7) Undocumented immigrants flood the public health system. REALITY: Undocumented immigrants have been ineligible for the AHCCCS health care plan for the poor since 2004. But by law, hospitals must treat everybody in an emergency room, which is partially reimbursed by the federal government. Arizona hospitals report losing $24 million a year for treating undocumented patients. That sum is 6 percent of the $392 million lost a year for treatment of all under insured or uninsured patients. Some studies show undocumented immigrants use emergency rooms less than native-born people.

    8) Undocumented immigrants take jobs from native-born Americans and depress wages. REALITY: Undocumented immigrants are overrepresented in the low-skilled workforce because the native population is aging. The upcoming wave of Baby Boomer retirements will likely make immigrants the only source of growth among workers 25 to 55 for decades to come. However, low-wage natives are hurt because immigrants push down wages and create competition for those jobs. Low-wage immigrants also pay low tax rates.

    9) The influx of children of undocumented immigrants is overwhelming public schools. REALITY: That number is not counted in Arizona. Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, pushed a bill to count them but the measure got stalled. Federal law prevents schools from denying education to illegal immigrants. Several foundations calculate 11.9 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., with 1.5 million undocumented children. About 3.5 million children of illegal immigrants are citizens or here legally. Of Arizona’s 1 million school children, 150,000 are in English Language Learner programs.

    In summary, please, wise up before this nation is overrun by people who really do not embrace the best our founding principles that so many have given their lives for us to enjoy. Indeed, a nation divided against itself will not stand.

  19. Gail says:

    I appreciate all the feedback. No one denies we need to address our immigration situation. But, please try not to confuse law and racism. I was asked to speak to a group of Hispanic parishioners next week. Some documented, some not. All of them brown. All of them scared. Wake up…

  20. lili says:

    It’s time to bring to the floor the proposal of President Barack Obama to reform the immigration law. Politics need to stop and senators must now act and do what’s good for the economy and welfare of our country. I especially call on Senator Lindsay Graham to join forces with democrats and work in a bipartisan way to see this human tragedy resolved. Our President has presented his plan, senators need to act before change can happen. Call your senators NOW!

  21. Pat C says:

    When you say some return home to Mexico, that was more true then you can imagine. They consider Mexico home and were probably here illegally. Mexico has tougher immigation laws than we currently have. Another thing to consider maybe people are leaving Arizona for their safety due to crime, etc. All people that want to live in the US should come legally. End of story.

  22. I don’t live in AZ and I don’t intend to speak for AZ or the Latinos living in AZ. But I do pray for those living in AZ.

    This immigration situation in AZ is the result of the lack of follow through in Washington, DC. We had the McCain-Kennedy during the Bush years and now we have the Lindsey-Schumer in 2010.

    During the Bush years it was the Democrats that blocked it with hundreds of amendments including one from Congressman Obama. Now, the Republicans are boycotting including Senator McCain.

    But he AZ law coupled with the White House’s law suit has done two good things.

    (1) It has kept the topic in the eye of the mass media and our legislative officials. Think about it – if AZ didn’t pass this controversial law – the main topic of discussion right now would be unemployment and the “100 plus day oil spilled” in the Gulf of Mexico and the climbing unemployment figures. Politicians are driven by the media and controversy. So if AZ has to suffer a little for the sake of keeping this topic alive, then let be so.

    (2) It has made me more aware of the realities of the Southwestern part of this country. I have lived in the Northeast all my life. I have traveled for leisure and business only a few times to the Southwest. These travel experiences have never revealed to me the suffering of my fellow Americans in the Southwest. I should have been paying more attention to what is happening in our own country rather then conflicts in other countries.

    So thanks for keeping this alive – by blogging and telling me your stories. Let us take advantage of the controversy by getting educated about this broad topic.

  23. LEGAL IMMGRATION

    As you have already read, and in many situations – experienced first hand – legal immigration into this country is challenging and lengthy. The amount of documents and finance required to enter this country legally is sometimes prohibitive and frustrating. Many have done it before and many more will continue to overcome the bureaucracy that is constantly evolving – sometimes for the better but most time for the worst.

    Going through the INS is like going to college. You study for four years; you pay for 20 years. And you hope it helps you get a great job. This is the same thing with legal immigration. You wait for years to be accepted. You study for the interviews and tests the INS gives you. You borrow money from your worst relative to pay the fees; then you hope you find the streets paved with gold.

    Welcome to America!

    ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

    We have had a welcome sign along the Southern US boarder for decades. And this welcome sign could also be seen in urban regions through out the country. This bright lighted sign says, “Cheap Laborers Wanted”.

    This sign along with the economic depression in Mexico and other Latin American countries made the journey to the USA extremely attractive for millions of young men and women needing to provide for their parents and siblings living in remote locations through out Latin America. So at the risk of losing their lives or family savings – these cheap laborers travelled the dessert of Mexico and the USA for a once in a life time opportunity to earn a decent wage in comparison to their country’s economy.

    This population explosion came with the typical challenges associate with this type of uncontrolled migration – housing shortage, over populated school districts just to name a few. But now what?

    ECONOMIC DOWN SPIRAL

    Now that unemployment is at almost 10% and in some areas even higher – the scapegoat has become the undocumented Latino.

    PATCH WORK

    Therefore, this has been the perfect storm for the creation of the AZ anti-Latino legislation. But as many of you already know, small towns across America have passed ordinances that have made it difficult for undocumented families to rent affordable housing or walking to work without proper state approved ID.

    WHITE HOUSE

    It is great to hear motivational speeches and to be encouraged by a popular leader but President Obama promised the Hispanic Congressional Caucus during his campaign that Immigration Reform would be a priority in the first year of his first term. Well, it is the almost the mid-point of perhaps his only term – and no Comprehensive Immigration Reform in sight.

    He has deported more Latinos in his first year in office then Bush in his last year in office according to Center for Community Change | Fair Immigration Reform Movement. And now, it has been revealed that the new deportation initiative by the White House, called the “silent raids”, continue to lurk its ugly head through out America.

    This lack of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform by the United State Senators, House of Representatives and President Obama will only continue to fuel the patch work of laws and ordinances that have an appearance of attempting to bring order to a national problem with a slight skew of racism in the mixed of it all.

    Call your legislator today and join one of several national campaigns to create a bi-partisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

  24. This is a very complicated issue. There are many things to consider. The problem is in the failure to secure the borders. The Governor has passed a law to get the attention of the President of the United States in order to get funds and personnel to better secure the borders. She has accomplished that. The problem with the SB1070 law is not necessarily that it is racist. As someone mentioned in the blog, the law does not allow for law enforcement to question someone regarding their immigration status without another reason for the personal contact. A person being pulled over on a Terry stop requires reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, after such a stop a person can be questioned about their immigration status. Most officers do not want to be involved in immigration issues, however, it is customary and has been for some time to question the immigration status of anyone arrested for a crime, therefore, SB1070 is not that much different in that respect. It becomes racial when you have law enforcement officers who are racists and choose to pick on those of color. That is a problem within the law enforcement departments and whether or not there is a law such as SB1070 is not going to make a difference as to the treatment those of color will receive from the racists. If it is not immigraton they will find something else to pin on those of color without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. The problem is much bigger than SB1070 or any law on the books. The probem is a people problem and the hiring of some reacists to enforce the laws. The lack of proper enforcement at the borders is what has created the problem of illegal immigrants. Had the borders been properly protected we would not have an overwhelming immigration problem. First things first. The government should encourage those in the states to become legal and protect the borders so as to stop the increassed illegal entry. As was mentioned in the blog, these people are not criminals. They should be allowed to come clean and if and when they commit felony crimes in our state is the time to consider deportation. They have risked their lives to come here in an effort to live a better life and should not be treated as criminals. This will only lead to Jail overcrowding with people that should not be there in the first place. These blogs are great in that they open a line of communication, however, the voice of those affected should be addressed as much as possible in the media as that is where exposure of wrongdoings is better claimed and can better affect the votes that the people in government get to hold office to pass these laws. The hispanic community can influence a landslide of votes in any one direction if properly educated through media as to what is in their best interest. Anyone unreasonably stopped or treated should follow that aggressive action with legal action against those involved. No law enforcement officer wants to be the center of a civil rights lawsuit particularly where there is a possibility of racism involved. Having several deputies under investigation for such charges in any department will target the whole deparment as being racist. Law enforcement does not like being targetted by internal affairs and more so by the Federal Courts since all civil rights lawsuits having to do with United States Contitutional Violations give Jurisdiction to the Federal Courts. To be heard you must “FIGHT BACK”.

  25. Diana says:

    #14..thanks for the history lesson BUT…ALL LATINOS (I do not care if you are Italian, Argentine or Mexican… are all part of the White race. Now, when it comes to being here Illegal or Legal… has nothing to do with your history lesson. To #4 Obviously, your wife like any other Latino, can either be light or dark skinned. Latinos range in color from blond/blue to brown/brown. So obviously your wife must know what it feels like but has not addressed her fears to you.

  26. It’s a shame that a country with so much money and resources could produce so much discrimination based on pure ignorance and fear, which in this case I consider synonymous, in the sense that lack of education only promotes and exacerbates fear…! This is clearly demonstrated by Mr. Zimmerman’s response (responder #4).

    As a Mexican with dark skin, and now a Mexican-American (with even more noticeable dark skin), and living in this country for 30+ years, I have my share of discrimination stories. It’s too bad we don’t have 50+ museums around the world that show, educate, and demonstrate discrimination, and humiliation against my people. as one isolated example; the recently shot in the head 14 yr. old kid (or equivalent) shot by a brainless un-educated (typical) EEUU border patrol police across the border from (was it?) Ciudad Juarez, and only because the kid was threatening them by throwing rocks… oh my…! what a crime…!!! Of course, the story vanished from the news from one day to the other… I’m sure if the kid happened to be Jewish, his story and picture would be added to one of their museums… anyway, i’m getting off track…

    I wish education (as opposed to consumption propelled by brain washing techniques) could be made more affordable for all the people living in this country. Things would be so much different…!

    Last but not least, with all due respect I’ve had it with Jewish people continue talking about how much and how bad and for how long they’ve been discriminated… too bad I don’t see any Palestinian names in this Blog, I’ll send them Mr. Zimmerman’s comments just to have a laugh. We are not living in the 40’s any more… last time I checked the calendar stated 2010… ;-) I’d love for them to walk TODAY in the shoes of someone with dark skin living in this country… specially walk in the shoes of those with dark skins living in AZ.

    And one more time, yes Mr. Zimmerman, use the spell feature on your browser before you submit, people will have a bit more respect for what you have to say. I’d love to see a picture of your Argentinian wife.

  27. Johannes says:

    Response to #15:
    Here’s Badshah point:
    1. If you’re going to argue something, spell it correctly.
    2. The whole history lesson is to prove, that Jewish Argentinians are not minority BUT MAJORITY. Therefore the SB1070 bill will not affect them.(also, their skin color is not “brown”.
    3. We are all illegals! (you’re right) The whole deal about terrorists etc. can be solved. BUT THIS IS NOT THE CORRECT SOLUTION

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