Friday, April 30, 2010

A Letter to the Governor of Arizona

Dear Governor Brewer,

Many congratulations on all of your success following your entrance to the world of Arizona politics back in the early 1980's. I know you must be especially proud of your governorship status. I'm sure it is a bummer that you never got the opportunity to actually run for that office. Running a campaign is such a pain and sharing your platform with the people can be so time-consuming. It was definitely better that you just assume your role and not have to worry about letting Arizonans elect you. At the very least, your succession to the highest role in state government was legal and supported fully by Arizona's Constitution, which is empowered by the U.S. Constitution. I wish I could say the same about the recent signing into law of Arizona SB1070.

In your past opportunities to actually run for office, you did so on a platform of family values - which is commendable. But what you failed to mention was how you define a family about whose values you care. Yes, there is an overwhelming amount of illegal immigrants in Arizona. But you are doing a truly despicable and horrible job of protecting Hispanic families, either legal or illegal.

Legal Hispanics in make up 30% of Arizona's population and each of them is in danger now of being harassed and profiled by police who, in three months, could have the authority to stop anyone on the street that they suspect may be an illegal alien. You've made it clear that you understand that racial profiling is illegal in Arizona and in every state. I think it is great that this bill has so well defined and gives law enforcement clear guidelines by which they can make these stops. Language like "reasonable suspicion", "reasonable attempt", "practicable" is so clear and specific and I think it will really help police stop the targeted people and not families whose ancestors have been in Arizona longer than yours.

This really begs the question, did you at all look at the US Constitution before signing this bill into law? This law seems to have crossed the line of infringing on the rights of our fellow countrymen. I see it as an illegal search and seizure, prohibited by the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. In addition, the 14th Amendment was designed to ensure the rights of citizens, but apparently the framers forgot to mention that those rights are waived if you are in close proximity to the border, driving the wrong kind of car, and wearing a certain type of clothes. Good thing you are here to correct those mistakes.

This all spills into the over-arching problem of how to deal with illegal immigrants who are already in the country. Some have been here for a very long time. Many have family members who are naturalized US citizens. Does the state of Arizona even have the resources to adequately execute this new policy? Are there enough holding facilities to hold that many people for the years it will take to process all those cases in court? I wish I had a solution for this problem but I don't. The good news for me is that it isn't my job to have that solution. It is the job of elected officials to, in good faith, strive to find the best possible solution for any given problem. I ask you, Governor, was Arizona SB1070 the best you had to offer? Can you really stand before the citizens of Arizona and the United States as a whole and declare with whole-hearted confidence that this was the best, most humane way to deal with this problem? If so, perhaps we all need a refresher course to redefine due process. Part of this law makes it illegal to provide support and shelter for those in the country illegally. What is your plan for the hundreds of churches in Arizona, especially southern Arizona, who provide for the lowest level needs for anyone who passes through their doors, regardless of where they were born or what side of the border on which they legally belong?

People are fighting this bill left and right. It is being fought in courts on many levels and it most likely will not go into effect within 90 days as planned, if at all. In the mean time, regardless of what happens, you are ruining yourself politically. You have 2 years left to finish your predecessor's term. Are you interested in running for your own term? Because if you are, I can think of at least 2 million Hispanic votes you can count on giving away to another, more compassionate and realistic candidate. While you're at it, you can also plan on losing the votes of a host of other people who, though not Hispanic, support their Hispanic brothers and sisters and will not stand idly by while Americans are discriminated against and illegals are treated as pests instead of people. I'm not blind. I know that there are many who support this bill. But regardless of what they think about it, how will they feel when the state as a whole goes millions of dollars farther into the hole because individuals and businesses will boycott your state. There's rumor of next summer's Major League Baseball All Star Game looking for a new venue instead of using the currently scheduled location of Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. Can the state budget weather a boycott of such magnitude? No. The loss of jobs will be astounding. But don't worry. There will be plenty of unpleasant and far-far-far-below-minimum-wage jobs available that illegal immigrants once willingly and happily did. I'm sure your Anglo constituents won't mind working 16 hours a day for pennies. Maybe that's a market you could get into personally after the state boots you from any possibility of election in 2 years.

Governor, this bill is heinously offensive. Do I think that border control should be a high priority? Yes. Especially in a state like Arizona which reportedly has over half a million illegal immigrants. But don't you think the more prudent and intuitive thing would be to focus more on the border than the people already in the country? When there's a water leak in your house, do you try to soak up the water before stopping the leak? No. You go to the source of the problem to stop more leaking and once that has been resolved, you move on to the mess that it created. Our resources need to go to securing the border more efficiently. This model is proactive. Arizona SB1070 is a solution imposed by a reactive government that isn't seeing the whole picture.

Sincerely and with much disgust,

Maggie Moore

P.S. I almost forgot to thank you for your recent attention to the safety of Arizonans as it relates to gun control. I think unlicensed, concealed weapons are a swell idea. Especially in establishments that sell alcohol.

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