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An America For Whites Only? Who is Behind the Anti-Immigration Push?

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By Charlene Muhammad, Special to the NNPA from the Final Call –

(NNPA) - The fall out over passage of an anti-immigration law in Arizona continued across the United States this week with people wondering is America being reduced to a nation “for Whites only?”

Anti-racism activist and author Tim Wise says a sense of “White racial anxiety,” has in his view, “taken over large segments of White America.”

According to Wise, the sense of entitlement that Whites have always enjoyed is being challenged by demographic data showing the growth of Black and Brown populations projected to become equal with the White population by 2050, as well as a change in the political landscape, demonstrated by the first Black president of the United States.

“This idea that White folks give voice to every now and then that they're losing their country, sometimes they mean with Black folks and the Black president and sometimes they're referring to Latinos and Brown folks. It seems that though, when White folks say that they're referring to some nostalgic sentiments of the past that they want to resurrect,” said Wise.

“They can't fathom a country wherein they are not the norm, the prototype of what an American is. The way they've grown up for years is when they hear the word American, they see their (own) face and people of color have never been able to have that reaction, that when they talk about American, they're talking about me, but White folks have, so when all of a sudden you've got to share that title, that symbol with Black and Brown people that have different names and faith traditions than yours, that shakes them up because they have that sense of entitlement.”

SB 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, mandates that law enforcement stops anyone they reasonably suspect to be an undocumented immigrant and obtain their documentation. Anyone without it can be arrested, incarcerated, fined, and/or deported.

According to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the bill signifies that she is for enforcing the law and against racial profiling but immigrant advocates strongly disagree.

“This law is a very racist law and it's persecuting people of color and very much affecting people of dark complexion. If you do not look Anglo you could be questioned and asked for your documents, but in our cases, even though we are of Afro descent, we have accents but they could ask for documentation from all of us,” and many people are now afraid to even go out of their homes in Arizona, said Eunice Escobar, a board member of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America and member of the Association of Afro Columbians in Displacement.

“The most important consideration is why is this law passing now? I think there's really a very strong interest behind it in an attack of America's new generation of Latino people who are coming into this country and making decisions. Most of these Latinos are dark people and they are looking for a change,” said Escobar, who is of Afro and Latino descent.

Part of the fear in America that drives such legislation is the unity of Blacks and Latinos, she said. For instance, the first Black President Barack Obama received a lot of support from Latinos and that makes Whites in America very afraid.

Another example she gave is how Latinos have come out into the streets in record numbers to proclaim their rights. “They thought they were done with this, with the Civil Rights Movement and they didn't think that minorities would come up again and ask for their rights. They're afraid of the new possibilities from these new coalitions and new alliances,” she said.

Javier Rodriguez, Director of the March 25 Coalition, said that obviously the legislation is a ploy by extreme right wing conservatives within the Republican Party to racially profile immigrants and the Latino population, starting within Arizona.

He concurred that the law is blatantly racist and discriminatory and said that it is unveiling the ultimate aim of the Republican Party's upcoming national electoral campaign. People must remember that immigration reform is the big prize that they must keep their eyes on, he said.

“The legalization of the 12 million people and their families is the most effective solution to the Arizona bill,” Rodriguez told The Final Call. He charged that the right wing plan is to create conditions for the undocumented that are so miserable and uncomfortable, people will self deport and to some degree, that occurred in the 1930s and 1950s with Operation Wetback, the United States' repatriation project that targeted primarily Mexicans.

Under Operation Wetback, the U.S. Border Patrol found more than one million undocumented immigrants when they raided Mexican American barrios in Southeastern states in 1954. They sought identification from “Mexican-looking” citizens they stopped on the streets and ultimately, many immigrants were deported and many others fled the U.S.

Now history is repeating itself and without swift, strategic action, opponents of the bill argued, its negative profiling implications could permeate America's entire infrastructure, including the Prison Industrial Complex, and its health care and education systems, for starters.

Wilmer Leon, a Political Science lecturer at Howard University in Washington, D.C., has joined the growing chorus of political analysts to question what other implications loom if SB 1070 is found to be constitutional.

“What will happen in Chicago as that city struggles to get a handle on the recent explosion of murder and mayhem and the alarming levels of violence among its schoolchildren? Will the state of Illinois be allowed to “stop and frisk” and detain individuals simply because law enforcement believes a particular individual fits a certain profile?” he asked in his latest commentary, “Now State Reaction to Illegal Immigration Should Matter to African-Americans.”

Not just Arizona

Already, other states are signaling that they could follow Arizona's suit.

“There were eight the last time I heard, who are thinking about copy cat legislation,” said Wise. “One of the things that makes that likely is that the folks who were behind this in Arizona are members of a loosely affiliated set of groups that have a history of White supremacy, White nationalism, like FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), (Sen.) Russell Pearce (R-AZ), the main sponsor in Arizona. Those folks have a connection to a larger network of national groups and individuals. No doubt, Arizona was just a test case,” he added.

On May 5, nearly 100 members of various Hispanic organizations protested outside the Major League Baseball (MLB) game featuring the Houston Astros versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is part of an on-going movement to oppose the recent immigration bill passed in Arizona and to send the message, “Not in our backyard,” to Texas lawmakers.

“The SB1070 is legalized racial profiling and we are 100 percent opposed to it,” Michael Espinoza told The Final Call. He is the lead organizer for Houston's SEIU Justice for Janitors group.

Espinoza was among those outside Minute Maid Park holding up signs that read “No Human Being Is Illegal,” “Boycott Arizona,” with a slash through the words “SB1070.” He says the local coalition is in agreement with boycotting Arizona-based companies and is demanding that MLB officials reconsider hosting the 2011 All-Star game in Arizona.

A Department of Homeland Security report released earlier this year shows that Texas was second only to California in the number of unauthorized immigrants in 2009, with 1.7 million and 2.6 million respectively. Currently, an estimated one million plus undocumented immigrants live in Texas, which is costing the state $4.5 billion annually.

Amidst the debate of the Arizona immigration bill, Republican lawmaker Debbie Riddle of Tomball, Texas is planning to introduce a tough immigration bill for Texas that will parallel the controversial new laws in Arizona. Rep. Riddle is pushing to present the law in the January 2011 legislative session.

“If our federal government did their job, then Arizona wouldn't have to take this action, and neither would Texas,” said Rep. Riddle.

Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees in protecting citizens, but has reservations about bringing similar immigration policy to the Lone Star State.

“Recently, there has been much debate over immigration policy in Washington and what has been implemented in Arizona. I fully recognize and support a state's right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas,” said Gov. Perry in a written statement.

“We're not going to stop protesting. We're going to keep fighting to make sure that which Rep. Riddle is proposing will not get passed even if it means escalating our tactics,” said Espinosa. Some opponents of the bill from within Arizona itself include Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. According to reports, Chief John Harris of Sahuarita said he opposed the bill before Gov. Brewer even signed it, partly on the basis of manpower and budget issues that would only worsen under the law, and because traditionally, immigration has been a federal issue.

According to Rodriguez, the most blatant part that is absent from a lot of discussions and debates about the bill is that the sweeping racial profiling powers extend beyond just law enforcement. “The enforcement of identifying and arresting potential (undocumented) immigrants is to be done by any kind of municipal, county, or state institution in the health field, employment department, any department that suspects that anybody is an illegal immigrant, they are obligated by the law to inform ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” the activist said.

That would undermine the society by setting up a vast network of informants but ultimately, just like with apartheid in South Africa and fascism in Chile, that might deny people their freedom for a few years, even a decade, but eventually, freedom will be obtained, Rodriguez said.

A result of America's own foreign policy

Because America disrupts, or supports countries that work against, the well being of poor people, many people flee their own land for financial benefit in the U.S., Escobar said. Their only option is to come to the U.S. for a better living and America must change her foreign policy and the way she does business with other countries.

In Columbia, she said, gold mining corporations are exploding the gold mines for the wealth, but the mines are located where Afro Columbians live. Ultimately, people are being displaced, which is what happened to Mexican farmers under the Central and North American Trade Agreement. “They made it impossible for farmers in Mexico to continue farming and when 1.2 million of them could not work anymore, their only option was to come to the U.S.A.,” Escobar said.

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0 # Guest 2011-10-08 05:02
What is the deal if whites wanted a america without
Other immigrants..afterall they are the real american
After they overcome the native american......I am an Indian i cannot let my country too to be share by mass influx of people
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0 # Guest 2010-08-03 09:26
You'll find a racist in every race. I have been discriminated against because I'm white. Too bad there are bad eggs that ruin it for everyone. :( ..By the way I found a website that give you prizes for your opinions and 4 play games here is the topic about Racism:
http://opinion.ezwingame.com/topics/do-u-think-most-american-whites-are-racist
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+3 # Guest 2010-05-24 10:04
I think all states should adapt the Arizona Law.
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+2 # Guest 2010-05-18 08:27
ARIZONA EXTREME: An illegal looks like someone that has been stopped, picked up or arrested for a crime and refuses to or is unable to present any documentation as to their identity. It would be reasonable for the officer to suspect that if a suspect is unable to prove that he/she is who they say they are, than they are likely hiding their identity for some reason. This could be because they have just left their id at home, which can easily be rectified in most cases, or that they are guilty of some illegal activity, whether it be entering the country illegally or some other illegal activity. Regardless, the person would have to be suspected in or a party of another crime to have their legality questioned.
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+6 # Guest 2010-05-18 04:52
Would you allow someone to break into your home? If they managed to do it, would you then allow them to stay in your home? Would you welcome them in? Provide them with food if they were down on their luck? Would you send their children to school? Do you have a lock on your door? Do you have a security system on your home? This country is OURS. Do we freely give it away? Do you suggest we have open borders? If you did not like to live in America any longer, where would you be welcome? Canada? Mexico? England? Would you be welcome to go and stay? Would they allow you free schooling, medical if you could not pay? Could you even get a job if you went? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THIS CAN EVEN BE AN ISSUE!!!!
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+4 # Guest 2010-05-18 04:50
ILLEGAL immigration! If you were to have an incident involving the police, would you not have to provide identification? What would they do to you if you did not or could not provide anything? Do you suggest if they are discovered that they should be let go? They broke into the country. They broke the law.
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+4 # Guest 2010-05-17 22:59
Your Country, Your Federal Government passed this Law years ago...It has not been enforced like other laws in our country have been. Arizona suffers from ILLEGAL immigrants, effecting jobs, the economy,law and order, and other areas. How can anyone blame Arizona for reinforcing a Federal Law....Idiots!
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+5 # Guest 2010-05-17 21:45
give me a break.

sb1070 is an ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAW

IT'S ABOUT ILLEGAL

not about race, ethnicity, or religion

LET'S GET REAL
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-1 # Guest 2010-05-17 13:51
Americana ...where do you live are you really going to believev that it won't be racial profiling african-american can asnwer that for you they strugle longer that we have, THIS LAW IS WRONG DO SOMETHING WITH ILLEGAL PEOPLE BUT DON'T GET BLAME A GROUP OF PEOPLE because of the race or how they look to be question ...but off course blondes and bue eyes won't never know the felling to be profile to be question when you haven't done anything wrong
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-2 # Guest 2010-05-17 13:43
Well Lynn seems like you got a lot to say Hum.. Now answer how an Illegal looks like ?? I don't have blue eyes and blonde hair but i'm America DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT I WON'T GET QUESTION BY WALKING TO STORE FOR SOME PAPER,IN THE PERFECT WORLD NO BUT POLICE ARE HUMAN TOO, TELL ME DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THSI LAW ITS FAIR AND EQUAL TO EVERYONE ...COME STOP THE RACISM.. I READ THE BILL SURE IT SAYS NOT PROFILING WOW ARIZONE POLICE ARE SO PEREFECT THAT WONT HAPPEN COME ON BE REAL ...ARIZONA THE EXTREME STATE WHITE ONLY ....SAD VERY SAD
GOD BLESS AMERICA ALL WE ASK IS FREEDOM WITHOUT HARSSED..
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0 # Guest 2010-05-17 13:01
For the most part, its the Mexicans who are making the AZ law about race. The law does NOT allow racial profiling. Only the illegals, racist advocates and pandering pols (some who have not even read the law) are creating the hysteria as to who will be asked. You must be in police contact to begin with to be questioned about your status. Its an outright LIE and fear mongering that Mexicans or "non-whites" will be stopped on the street for no other reason than the color of their skin.

The issue is plain and simple...millions of illegals breaking many laws every day and costing this country hundreds of billions of dollars every year that should be used for legal Americans. Be legal and you will have no worries.
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0 # Guest 2010-05-17 12:40
Links to SB1070 & note to Lynn MacKenzie

The bill originally signed into law is the "House Engrossed" version, not the "Senate Engrossed" version which you link to. Only the "House Engrossed" version contains the section 11-1051 language forbidding the use of race, color or national origin "solely" as a criteria for implementing the requirements of the law ("solely" later removed). Section 11-1051 also contained the phraze "lawful contact" which was also amended to say "lawful stop, detention or arrest."

From State of Arizona web pages, the originally signed "House Engrossed" version of SB1070:

http://[censored].az leg.gov/FormatDocume nt.asp?inDoc=/legtex t/49leg/2r/bills/sb1 070h.htm

The final, signed, "Conference Engrossed" version HB2162 showing the amendments to SB1070 (section 11-1051 is almost half way down):

http://[censored].az leg.gov/FormatDocume nt.asp?inDoc=/legtex t/49leg/2r/bills/hb2 162c.htm
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+2 # Guest 2010-05-17 12:15
People can rightly be concerned about racial profiling, but if it happens, it will be because of a bad cop, not because of Arizona's new law. "Reasonable suspicion" which is a valid but easier/lesser standard than "probable cause" can be and has been fairly used by law enforcement for decades and has been upheld by our courts.

This country is in deep trouble when instead of reading and analyzing for themselves, people either simply parrot what others have said or what they believe to be politically correct. It's an especially sad thing to see so many public figures and even elected officials make intentionally misleading and inflammatory statements to support some political agenda.
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+2 # Guest 2010-05-17 12:08
Obviously neither Mr. Muhammad or Mr. Wise have read SB1070 - or they choose to misstate it anyway. It does NOT "mandate that law enforcement stop anyone they reasonably suspect to be an undocumented immigrant and obtain their documentation."

Rather, under SB1070, IF in the course of another lawful stop, detention or arrest, a law enforcement officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that someone may be in this country illegally - and that person does not have one of several kinds of named ID, then law enforcement is mandated to contace federal immigration officials to make the determination.
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-2 # Guest 2010-05-17 10:25
COME ON LET'S GET A GRIP ON THIS WHITE RACIAL STUFF ASK A MEXICAN AMERICAN THAT WAS ACTUALLY BORN HERE AND IS TRYING TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY AND MAKE A DAY TO DAY LIVING AND SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY I'M SURE HE WILL AGREE WITH IT . I'M SO SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT ONLY THE WHITES ARE RACIST OUR GOD IN HEAVEN CREATED US ALL AND I THINK IT IS TIME WE ALL JOIN HANDS AND LOOK AT THE WHOLE AS OUR GOVENMENT GOES FOR ANYWAY . YOU CAN

KEEP THE CHANGE.
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+1 # Guest 2010-05-17 10:22
This article is totally racisct and ignorant.
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+4 # Guest 2010-05-17 09:30
You can be proud to be any race other then white ... because if you are proud to be white then your concerned raciest ... AND BIG CLUE WHITE IS THE MINORITY
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0 # Guest 2010-05-17 09:26
I think your article in itself is racist!

Illegal immigration costs our nation plenty monetarily; in tax evasion, in education, in social programs, in driving up our unemployment rate. This is in addition to the crime of entering the nation illegally and falsifying documents and the identity theft that goes along with it. Why is it that when people expect minority groups to obey the law we are viewed as racist?! Although our ancestors were MWM, I'm pretty sure the laws were to apply to everyone, not just the whites!
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+4 # Guest 2010-05-17 09:25
i SUPPORT IT IT IS ALREADY A LAW THEY WANT TO ENFORCE IT and IF YOUR LEGAL WHATS THE PROBLEM IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM LOVE OF GOD YOU CAN'T EVEN SAY MERRY CHRISTMASS WITHOUT OFFENDING
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-6 # Guest 2010-05-17 09:18
Enough is enough, finding ways to make minorities feel unwelcome is becoming the norm for some white people. Civil rights act was passed a while ago but by taking actions like this we go back to the past. Some people do not want to move forward. Minorities are now being punished collectivly. The media by whites hae created such a level of fear and paranoia that it is turning a lot of those people ignorant, desensitized, and impairment of culture and diversity. Sorry im not black but i am a minority of the Muslim faith and i support all blacks in their conquest for equality as i do for other minorities that will accept my hand in support. It's time to come together and organize a big nationwide effort to work together to get our people in office. Vote for our candidates as one together! By joining together we will have larger numbers to help in all of this and more!
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-5 # Guest 2010-05-17 09:05
I think it is the time for all minority groups to form a coalition. Being in smaller dispersed groups prevents our voices from being heard. All leaders of various minority organizations need to be at the table and exclude those that create such laws. We need power to negotiate. Get the hispanic, black, arab, muslim, native american, and other minority communities that are and have been affected from such treatment on one side. We allhave faced or still face unequal treatment due to such white priviliges! That is the truth.
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+6 # Guest 2010-05-17 08:01
Watch a naturalized citizen from Mexico telling the politicians of her city what she thinks about SB1070! Her short speech is EXCELLENT!

…AND SHE READ THE BILL!! Several of her own representatives empathize with those condemning the bill without even reading it.

http://[censored].youtube.com/watch?v=ShkpO9Rf1bo&feature=player_embedded

And, if you want to read the actual bill, here it is:
http://[censored].azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf
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+3 # Guest 2010-05-17 08:00
You are continuing the misinformation about the Arizona immigration bill. It is NOT anti-immigration or anti-people of color. It is against ILLEGAL-immigration. Are you in support of people breaking the law in the United States?

California and Arizona cannot continue to support the flood of illegal aliens. The states are going bankrupt and the tax payers are bearing the burden. Legal avenues to become legal American citizens are in place for a reason and should be followed! Please be responsible in your journalism!
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