Stop right there, thank you very much

Two new fronts on the immigration fight in the US:

In Nebraska, a small town called Fremont just passed a referendum today that will require tenants who are not US citizens to get an “occupancy license” from the city council in order to rent housing. Even residents of nursing homes will be required to get the license. Further, employers found to have employed “illegal” immigrants will be open to local sanctions as well as the pre-existing sanctions.

And in Nevada, new Arizona-style immigration laws are being considered. However, a coalition of the ACLU, Democrats and businessmen have filed a lawsuit attempting to block the law from going to the Legislature or voters.

What both moves suggest is the depressing fact that a good portion of the country looked at Arizona and didn’t think oh no here comes fascism, but rather, how can we can get some of that over here? I hope that Fremont is not a sign of further new ground being staked out in the move to purge certain areas of undocumented immigrants, though I’m frankly pessimistic about that. These types of laws effectively criminalise the entire Latin@ community, as well as having secondary affects of other groups whose legal status may be murky (ie trans people whose legal sex on their documents may be mismatched with their gender presentation).

Let us all hope that the Nevada lawsuit prevails, as well as the Federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona. Because the spread of these laws must be stopped.

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19 comments for “Stop right there, thank you very much

  1. June 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    They seal their own economic doom and problems by making the laws. Arizona has supposedly lost all kinds of business because so many immigrants departed-not to mention the boycotts.

    It’s just how democracy works. If the people want it, the people can have it. It’s not without consequences. Frankly, I don’t know why anyone decent, regardless of ethnicity, would stay in the community after this law.

  2. Alan Lamb
    June 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    @Lasciel – I don’t know, maybe because they don’t have a choice? Economically or otherwise practically speaking? It’s incredibly dismissive of you to just assume that everyone has the resources to leave their state if they don’t agree with something.

    I have good friends in Arizona, friends who would love to get out but simply can’t. That doesn’t make them less than decent people.

  3. r.t.
    June 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    As a resident of Nevada who lives just outside of Carson City I can say that I’m not surprised that someone would try to get a law similar to the Arizona law enacted.

    I also am saddened, disgusted, and terrified by the attitudes of the right-wingers in my community. They don’t understand, and in fact refuse to understand or respect the humanity of all the members of their community, including the “illegal” ones.

    Instead they ramble about how they’d be “proud” to show their papers. They won’t even listen consider the point that this is America, not East Germany, and they also don’t care that the U.S. has hurt people in Mexico through lop-sided trade agreements, hurt them so much that desperate people risk dangerous border crossings and risk being exploited or harmed by a hostile community just so they can provide for their families.

    I try to understand the conservative point of view, loathsome as it is, to try to get where these peoples attitudes and ideas come from, but I just can’t understand the hate they have for people who have caused them no harm and people who are more similar to them than the conservative leaders and pundits they listen to,

  4. June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    @Alan Lamb-how’d they get there, then?

    @r.t- It’s not only right-wingers that are anti-illegal immigration. If that was the case, the Arizona bill would have far less support than it does. As for hatred, I’d say it’s more contempt for those that willingly scorn U.S law.

    • June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      @Alan Lamb-how’d they get there, then?

      …people are born places.

      Also sometimes people move to places voluntarily and are then unable to relocate. Picking up and leaving your life is not super easy, for most of us.

  5. Paraxeni
    June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    @Lasciel – although I’m not in the U.S. I now live in a community that’s overwhelmingly poor, unemployed and undereducated. There’s a lack of public transport, education facilities, and virtually no employment prospects available if you don’t have the ability (financially or because of disability) to drive to work, with the nearest place of employment being five miles away. These people are not poor by choice, but by circumstance, they’re trapped. How do you get a job if you can’t leave the village? How do you get enough money to leave the village if you don’t have a job?

    Privileged people do not realise that you can be trapped by your place of birth, and forced into a cycle of ever-downward mobility by it.

  6. Kristen J.
    June 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    There are no good words for how I feel about this outbreak of insanity. I’m angry and frustrated and sad and disappointed and sickened and embarrassed and shocked.

    “Instead they ramble about how they’d be “proud” to show their papers.”

    Idiocy. Only about 28 percent of USians have passports. That at least fits in a back pocket.

    But what are the other 72 percent going to do? Carry their birth certificates, social security card and a photo id with them at all times? So you go for a jog with an envelope of identification? You take your kids to the park with all the correct documents? What about taking your god to pee? Or when you go to the local pool? Do you need to bring a filing cabinet for the little league game to keep everyone’s papers organized?

    What about minors? Are we going to pin the identification documents to our kids jackets before we send them off to school?

    What happens when those documents inevitably get lost and the very real risk of identity theft rears its head? How many thousands are going to have their credit ruined and their lives temporarily turned upside down because they misplaced these documents (that all experts recommend you keep in a safe place not on your person)?

    It’s ridiculous.

  7. Queen Emily
    June 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    “As for hatred, I’d say it’s more contempt for those that willingly scorn U.S law.”

    I disagree rather strongly. The collapsing of actions (being in the country) with identity is signaled right in the language – “illegal immigrants,” or worse, simply “illegals.” It’s hard to imagine a Brit or an Australian like myself overstaying their visa and being called an illegal, yeah? It’s very much about hatred of a particular population, which is why
    American born Latin@ citizens have already been arrested for “looking Mexican,” and some have even been deported to a country they’d never ever been to. If it wasn’t about some amount of hatred, then those citizens wouldn’t be considered acceptable casualties.

  8. Personal failure
    June 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    If they’d be so darn proud to show their papers, why are the so resistant to the census? At least be consistent about your bs, rightwingers.

  9. June 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    OK, that referendum is slightly less awful than I had envisioned from the description– I was picturing permanent residents, etc., having to apply for said license, too. But, that’s pretty much the only positive thing I can say about it… didn’t we, the USA, use to have something about being the land of the free in our description or something? Whatever happened to that?

  10. Henry
    June 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    “But what are the other 72 percent going to do? Carry their birth certificates, social security card and a photo id with them at all times?”

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the Arizona law here. Not to offer an opinion on the ethics of the law, but a driver’s license is sufficient for proof of residency status. For those not a permanent resident (here on a visa or whatnot) US code already requires having your documentation on you at all times. So there’s nothing new there.

    What I find interesting is the idea that the state doesn’t have an ethical right to regulate the border. I’m curious what immigration enforcement efforts, if any, would be considered justified by the people here.

  11. atp
    June 22, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Henry, you are incorrect. A driver’s license does is not sufficient as proof of residency status according to SB1070.

  12. JeniX2
    June 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Henry; are you sure youmeant “ethical”? And in any case, the bill does not mention regulating the border.

    1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.” – and three other forms of ID.

  13. Henry
    June 23, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Well, the legal basis for immigration control seems to be clear enough, but I was referring to the attitude that perhaps enforcing any immigration law is unethical or immoral. I’m not referring just to this bill specifically, but the overall concept.

  14. June 23, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Henry: What I find interesting is the idea that the state doesn’t have an ethical right to regulate the border.

    Coming from my perspective as a citizen of Fortress Europe, the ethical difficulty can’t be looked at in isolation.

    When a large economic power drives neighboring states into poverty, destroying their economy to the benefit of the larger power, and citizens of the country whose economy was destroyed are then legally prevented from getting into the larger economic power’s country to find work which is not available in their own country (see destroyed economy) yes, I do see an ethical problem in the large economic power saying “No,” especially when the “No” is expressed in such a way that it frequently kills the migrant workers. There is no legal way for a Mexican peasant to get into the US to work: none at all. Their only legal option is to passively accept that the destruction of their economy by the US condemns them and their children to poverty forever.

    The other ethical problem is that these punitive measures are invariably inflicted against the illegal workers themselves. No employee of an illegal worker is ever punished to the same degree as the illegal worker. What if the CEO of a company that employed illegal workers, and the board of directors, were all punished by removal of citizenship and deportation? Would we see Republicans arguing that this is just enforcement of US laws against illegal immigrants?

  15. Para112
    June 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    What I want to know is why a state can’t say “we don’t want illegal immigrants in my state”. We have had a problem with a swiss cheese border with Mexico for decades and now we’re dealing with it. As drugs, crime, and uncounted for masses of people have children here in order to claim citizenship and tap into our overburdened healthcare system during a reccession, we’re finally doing something about it. Interestingly, the liberals, Dems, ACLU members and this author are all ASSUMING that this is targeting only the Mexican population as a racist piece of legislation meant to demonize and penalize the immigrants pouring across the border in droves without registering. By assuming that such an act of law is racist, the enemies of this bill are in fact racist. When I saw this law come about in Arizona, I did NOT think “it’s about time we did something about all these brown skinned people in our country”. What I DID think was, “we’re finally doing something at the state level to stem a problem that has been an issue for a long time now in regards to security, fiscal responsibility, and national well being.” So, if you’re taking it as a racist piece of big-brother’ism, then you are a racist for jumping to that conclusion and relegating this to a ‘race issue’ where most Americans simply see it as a necessity with no bias. If you’re American, then you’re fine, if you’re not, then either get that way or leave. If I am asked for proof of my citizenship before I take up a job, I might grumble for a second as I get my driver’s license or go back to the house to get my passport, but in all fairness, my future boss deserves to know and I am glad that he or she cares.
    On a related note, what do you think happens if you try to cross into China, Iran, Russia, most Eastern European nations, and, dare I say it, Mexico without papers and are found living illegally there? That’s right, you end up with a situation a lot less pleasant than an illegal has ever faced here in America.
    Furthermore, if you’re a ‘fence hopper’ on the issue of elasticity within the Constitution (i.e. at times you think that it’s a living document and at other times, you don’t, just to suit your particular social tastes), then I’d say let’s take another issue that we all know and love (especially on this site I’m sure). Abortion. Do you HONESTLY think that Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, and all the rest would have condoned a woman, or even a family making the decision as a unit, going through with the destruction of her fetis/unborn child under the protection of the law? I’m fairly certain that if you had a time machine, went back and informed our founding fathers that we would one day have hundreds of thousands of abortions done under the auspices of the Constitution in its current form, they would have clearly stated that that practice would be unconstitutional in a heart beat. If you disagree, then you have never read anything about them. I believe that the same could be held true today with the immigration bills that are being passed. I say it’s about time that something like this came about. If you don’t belong here then don’t be here. If you want to come over, fill out the paperwork, take the tests, try to learn English as at least a second language and you’ll be a welcome addition to a melting pot of a nation.
    Thanks for reading, and let the hate mail rain upon me in showers.

  16. RW
    June 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Good for them, this is neither racist or unjust as everyone will have to show legal right to be here… If you are not a legal resident of the United States then you are breaking the law and therefore should not be afforded rights granted to citizens of the US by their constitution… Our government should put pressure on countries like Mexico to improve life there for its own people rather than to impose the burden on us to care for them…Remeber if there had been laws like this and better tracking of those here on visas..(9/11) could have been stopped.. several times one of the terrorists were stopped and allowed to go on their way even though law enforcement knew their visa was expired.. what other country could an american go into and stay without a valid visa. This is a distraction of the people of the US by congress and the senate to avoid doing their job instead their lining their pockets and we are all distracted over something that shouldnt even be an issue

  17. June 24, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Two right-wing trolls within fifteen minutes of each other, both long and ranty without paragraph breaks.

    Are the Republicans so lost to family values that they’re cloning now?

  18. Kristen J.
    June 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm



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