It’s easy to think that the new Arizona anti-immigrant law (and that’s what it really is, even though they claim it’s about crime and illegal immigrants) is only about Mexicans coming over the border.
That law is really about all of us. This is probably one of the very best examples of that old MLK saying, “Injustice anywhere, threatens justice everywhere.” When a law says that people can be questioned, and have to prove they belong here, just based on the suspicion of a crime, that really opens the door to a whole lot of legal ethnic profiling, not just of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, but also anybody who looks like other, or for that matter, anyone who simply looks “suspicious,” which means a whole lot of different things to different people.
Frankly, I can’t help but think part of this is just the outgrowth of right wing anger at Barack Obama. If they can’t touch him, they’re going to try to make life miserable for anybody else who is “other.” I’m not surprised that this law came about during this time when there is so much contempt from the right about Obama and the face of our country looking a bit different these days than it has for its entire existence up to now.
But whatever the reason, all of us need to stand with the most obviously targeted group, Hispanics, on this one. Because if they can succeed with this kind of initiative for one group, they will most definitely find other ways to make issues with others that don’t fit the old mold. This isn’t an affront to Hispanics, it is really an affront to all of us. And we are all at risk.