Arizona immigration law: Sowing seeds of tyranny

Erik Camayd-Freixas | 5/11/2010, 11:10 a.m.

The harshness of federal enforcement prefigures the newly authorized Arizona police state. Noncriminal arrests will top 2007 levels, when 91 percent of deportees had no criminal record. The law hides this utter failure by declaring all undocumented migrants “criminals.”

The record shows that immigration crackdowns neither make us safer nor combat true criminality. The recent surge in drug violence near the border has nothing to do with centuries-old labor migration patterns, and everything to do with the U.S. demand for drugs and its lack of gun control, Arizona being a source of weapons for Mexican cartels.

To blame all migrants for crimes of others is more than unjust; it is the essence of prejudice.

Our country’s true crisis is one of human rights and constitutionality. Elitist politicians, out of touch with the people, are callous to the hundreds of thousands of lives and families arbitrarily shattered each year, and unbothered by the erosion of American justice and democracy. Their “crisis?”:  People of color turning up at the country club.

Defenders of the Constitution are preparing to sue for a federal injunction. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., called for a boycott of his state, which would lead to billion-dollar losses in conventions, tourism and trade. State violation of the Civil Rights Act jeopardizes millions in Title VI funding.

This law will be swiftly stricken down. Perhaps then, zealots and radical politicians will get the message: Arizona is not their private ranch, but an inalienable member of our Union; and that Americans of every color, creed and conviction regard such affronts to our Constitution as manifest acts of tyranny.

Camayd-Freixas has a doctorate in Spanish from Harvard and is a professor of Hispanic studies at Florida International University.