Stay calm in the face of Prop.
Nov. 13, 2004
"For Latinos who suspect they will
be discriminated against, asked to show identification at their children's
schools and clinics. "
Be not afraid. No tenga miedo.
That's the message coming out of Arizona's Latino leadership concerning the
implementation of Proposition 200.
It's good advice . . .
For state workers who worry they are going to be transformed into immigration
agents or be sent off to jail for violating the new law.
For citizens of any ethnicity who have been told they'll need to carry their
birth certificates around at all times.
For Latinos who suspect they will be discriminated against, asked to show
identification at their children's schools and clinics.
For undocumented immigrants who fear deportation.
First of all, nothing can be accomplished by fretting over it. Worrying is like
sitting in a rocking chair: You can move a lot without getting anywhere.
Second, elected officials, attorneys and other leaders are working to straighten
this out now, to make sure it's defined properly, that it's constitutional and
Third, there's a chance the proposal will never become law or that some of
its provisions be ruled unconstitutional or in conflict with other federal laws.
Ironically, the requirements of Proposition 200, approved last week by Arizona
voters, will never affect the vast majority of the "illegal immigrants" it is
designed to discourage.
The majority of immigrants are men. They haven't the slightest intention of
voting in an Arizona election. Many live and work largely under the radar
screen, in day jobs, restaurants and landscaping. They shy away from government
and legal authorities.
The most likely violators of Proposition 200 - besides state and city workers -
are those immigrants who are establishing roots here, setting up families,
having children (who as U.S. citizens are eligible for government programs) and
applying for an occasional license.
Ironically, these are the ones who are climbing the economic and social ladder,
on their way to becoming Americans.
Those people do need to be cautious. They need to pay attention to the news
reports and their trusted leaders and local officials. Right now, nobody knows
anything for certain. The issue is not yet settled and might not be for some
So, for the moment, be calm. - Friday