Arizona legislators want illegal immigrants arrested on sight, charged with vagrancy just for being in the state. Given its location, one can safely assume that most of these illegal immigrants are from Mexico.
I will ignore both the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty and the fact that such a bill, if passed and enforced, will certainly cause problems for those economically advantaged folks in the state who knowingly underpay illegal workers to tend their gardens, clean their homes, care for their children, work in their sweatshops and do hard labor for construction companies.
Instead, I will go straight to the history books and ask one basic question: “What makes these land-grabbing gringos think they have the right to enact such a law?”
For thousands of years the area we now call the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico belonged to Native Americans, people who roamed freely across territory now divided by international borders.
Then, with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th Century, most of this area fell under the control of Spain. The Spanish were a lot like the modern day Arizonians who support this bill, greedy folks who rammed their religion down the throats of the Native Americans, enslaved them and stole their land.
In the early 19th Century, as the Spanish Empire crumbled, Mexico won its independence. Unfortunately, the new Mexico government acted a lot like the old Spanish government, at least in their treatment of Native Americans.
In the 1840s, the U.S. intentionally started a war with Mexico for the purpose of stealing territory – specifically modern day California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas. While most gringos barely recall the war, it still has a bitter taste for many Mexicans.
Some may suggest that Mexicans are not Native Americans, but they are wrong. Today, 90 percent of Mexicans are at least part Native American and 30 percent are full blooded. That’s a far larger number than among people living in the United States, where we did our best to eradicate Native Americans.
Personally, I think this Arizona proposal should be stamped in red with one word – Racist! Of course, I lived in Mexico for almost a year, and I know that the majority of Mexicans are friendly, hard working folks who make good neighbors. Too bad most people in the U.S. don’t understand that. North America would be a much better place if the U.S. treated Mexico with the same respect it treats Canada.