The term Immigration is very broad and misunderstood. Recently, it is being applied to Mexicans crossing the formal US/Mexico border to settle or to temporarily work in the United States. This is quite a bit different than Europeans coming to the New World to settle and begin a new life. It is quite different than Asians coming to meet the work demand in a new and vibrant nation. Also, it pales in difference to Africans, South Americans and Caribbeans coming to start a new life.
We must look at the historical perspective when it comes to Mexicans (let's not use the term Hispanic).
The states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were a part of the sovereignty of Mexico until we, the United States, violently stole this gigantic piece of real estate from the nation. In two acts, Texas Revolution (1836) and the Mexican-American War (1848) we made, without provocation, one of the biggest land grabs in the history of the world. There are more than a few Mexican Americans who can take their heritage back to the 1500's. Yet, our press and common opinion want to think of them collectively as "immigrants". A lot of the movement from one side of the border to the other is simply family interaction. But our press and political dogma spews something quite different.
After stealing Texas via rebelling US settlers (immigrants), our nation quickly annexed it into our Republic. We then encouraged mass migration to populate and fortify the state. After the Mexican-American War, we propped up the California Gold Rush in 1849 to stimulate mass migration into our newly stolen lands. So it is with great irony that we condemn Mexicans crossing over into land that was once theirs and where many of their relatives settled into centuries ago. This is more than about immigration.
Most Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal, are hard working, family oriented persons. Their mission is to make a living through the "sweat of their brows." It is the Judeo-Christian Work Ethic at its best. Yet, we want to paint an ugly picture as though they are criminal and immoral.
Now, let's get to the real problem. What is happening in Arizona is the fact that many of the borders crossing pathways of the Southwestern US have been effectively sealed. For some reason the federal government has put up fences along the Mexican border everywhere but in Arizona. Thus, the flow of the migration is coming up through Arizona like the water flow of the Mississippi River. Federal policy makers know this but try to act "brain dead" on the matter and will not address strengthening the Arizona/Mexico border with fencing as they have done in California, New Mexico and Texas.
With the folks seeking work crossing over comes the myriad of drug traffickers. The violence and pain is coming from the drug traffickers and the ignorant and/or racist pundits seem to mix them into one big bag with the immigrants seeking a better life.
The state legislature and Governor of Arizona have just passed a very unfortunate law that will fan the flames of racism and bigotry. However, I understand why this is happening. They are frustrated. Crime in Arizona caused by border crossings is skyrocketing. Ranchers are being shot for apparently no reason other than inspecting their lands. Murders in Arizona cities is at an all time high and this is caused by warring drug gangs.
Phoenix has become the World Capital for Kidnapping. Imagine an American city with that distinction! The citizens of Arizona are frightened and demand action from government. The border is the responsibility of the federal government but it has been derelict of its precious duty. Thus, the state government of Arizona, in its frustration, has decided to do something even if it may be wrong. It will wake up the federal government and induce some kind of responsible action.
The big problem here is not immigration but the lack of government policing drug trafficking. The lack of policing drug activity or the cooperation of it is what's wrong here. In no way can you tell me that drugs can come into this nation like falling rain without government cooperation. Our justice authorities are the best in the world and they act incompetent when it comes to reducing the amount of drug importation into this nation.
There is an immense amount of money, hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and corruption is well settled in. So, the "thought police" want you to think that all the crime erupting in Arizona is because of impoverish immigrants flowing into the nation with the thought of committing crime as opposed to looking for work or uniting with their families. Those with racial animus are too quickly to buy this. Don't you buy it.
Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO, of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.