Although it would seem like we batted 3-for-4 yesterday after the Supremes handed down their decisions, the bottom line is that “being brown” will still give a cop a “reasonable suspicion” to check anyone’s papers.
Sure, it would seem that the process to do that has been weakened, but since when have bad cops not harassed people for being brown during this immigration debate? And let’s remember, it’s still Arizona–home of Joe Arpaio, hero to the two guys gunning for Sheriff Adrian Garcia here in Harris County.
I spent the whole day contemplating the ruling yesterday, and it was noted Historian and Professor Rudy Acuña who had the right response (emphasis is mine):
We lost pure and simple. Democracy lost pure and simple. Something is constitutional or it isn’t. The truth is not relative and we should not delude ourselves into thinking, we won!
Ultimately, what was struck down was the ugliness that is said to have gone “too far.” Making working and not carrying your papers a crime, as well as putting Joe Arpaio-styled round-ups into question, is a good thing, no doubt. But even President Obama stated it quite correctly:
“No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion because of what they look like,” Obama said.
The way I see it, Republicans like Brewer, Rick Perry and the rest of the xenophobes now see a clear path as to how far they can really go the next time their legislatures meet.
The politics of the immigration issue is ugly. Republicans are the ugliest on the issue as they shovel this ugliness into our lives in the form of legislation, like SB1070. Democrats, on the other hand, have been indifferent or have not put this issue, comprehensive immigration reform, specifically, into the national conversation. It’s the ugliness that we debate over, instead what may be positive.
Our leaders are playing baseball politics–wins and losses, and how they can keep batting 1.000. A politician who gives the image of passing legislation may seem stronger to some. But to those under attack–whether under threat of deportation or citizens who are brown and give cops a “reasonable suspicion” to question–expect our leaders to fight. In this case, a fight for CIR–won or lost–would have been more politically productive, in my opinion. And to hell with our batting percentages.
What this decision leaves open is a debate over the ugliness the Republicans offer against a community versus a slightly stronger defense of a community. Frankly, I’m sick of it, but the fight–in the courts and at the ballot box–must continue.
Beyond immigration, issues such as education, health care, and especially jobs and the economy, are foremost on our minds. But they are all intertwined, and exploited by Republicans, thus making Latinos–citizen and paperless–the cucui. We must make the right decisions at the ballot box, and to me it remains quite obvious that the Republicans are not on our side on any of these issues.