SB 1070: Cause and Effect for Other Anti-immigration Bills

 

Not too long after bill SB 1070 was enacted, did other anti-immigration bills come to rise. Some so harsh, as to deny undocumented students a chance for a college education. Another denying birthright citizenship to anyone born from two undocumented parents. It doesn’t stop there, another bill would require hospitals to check the immigration status of any individual checking in.

The issue I though was Boarder Safety, but now the attention seems to have shifted towards, undocumented students, children, and those seeking medical attention.

Already Arizona seems to be facing economic problems and dealing with the state’s image, passing these bills would only create more issues for the Arizona to face.

Specifically, Senate Bills 1308 and 1309 “would have defined children as citizens of Arizona and the U.S. if at least one of their parents was either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent U.S. resident…SB 1405 would have required hospitals to check an individual’s legal status and notify law enforcement if they suspected an individual was in the country illegally. SB 1407 would have required school districts to collect data on the number of students who were illegal immigrants… SB 1611 would have banned illegal immigrants from attending state universities and community colleges and from getting federal benefits. It would have made it a crime for illegal immigrants to drive in Arizona and required proof of legal status to enroll a child in a public school.”
These immigrations bills have shifted focus and now those being attacked, are the young who want an education. The youth who the country depends for future prosperity.

Those who oppose the bills state that it gives the State a bad image, especially for tourism and businesses.

Large firms and CEO’s who had began to feel some impact wrote a letter to Senate President Russell Pearce. Within the letter they addressed that the passage of anymore anti-immigration bills would spur more boycotts and “adversely impact the already-struggling economy, and cost these business jobs”

But little was done because Senate President Pearce responded, “I stand on the side of citizens, not a bunch of businessmen that write me a letter”

It baffles me, how harsh these bills can be, especially to citizens legally born in the county who could have been affected by the bills measures. And not just them, but college students about to graduate from school. It makes no sense to go after them, their goal don’t go greater than obtaining a job within the degree the have. They aren’t drug dealers, they just want an education. Why is that such a bad thing?

And other than Arizona, I don’t know what state would have made it illegal to go to college.

Arizona is pushing these immigrations bills to far, and already business have seen the impact. These immigrants are here and it’s almost impossible to get them all out.

The solution to boarder safety won’t and isn’t address in the bills above. Rather its only hurting the state’s economy and image.

Arizona Is Taking the Flak

Almost a year later, the predictions of a tidal wave of state immigration-enforcement laws haven’t panned out. While some states may have push for anti-immigration bills, during Arizona’s heated days, little to nothing has changed in the U.S. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, only 28 states have introduced immigration bills this year, but little has change in immigration legislation. Among those strong states are Utah and Georgia, both whom introduced a vast number bills similar to SB1070 or other anti-immigrations laws. But in Arizona those who seem most negatively affected include small businesses and of course illegal immigrants.

During it’s early passage, SB 1070 spurred hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of immigrant families to leave Arizona and many immigrants say they are still planning to leave, either because they are afraid of being deported or because they can’t find jobs due to the economy and tougher immigration enforcement. So good riddance to those illegal’s, but does it really mean they left or have they gone elsewhere within the U.S. The most probable cause is that they moved somewhere else within the U.S. and they are still here. Other immigrants have been forced to live “underground,” making a living by selling used clothing or other items, standing at corners and living off $30-$40 dollars a day and at times even nothing. Often they will stay home in fear that if a police officer happens to stop them, they may get deported. Illegal or not, no one deserves to live in fear and these drastic measures are making it hard for people in the business world to make profits.

Though many large firms and businesses said to feel no impact from the bill, small businesses state other wise. “sales to supermarkets and grocery stores that cater to Latinos dropped 20 percent in the wake of SB 1070. “Eggs are not easily substituted, so it wasn’t that there was some other foodstuff that was being substituted,” he said. “It was a real loss of consumption because the people aren’t here any more.”

And while these small owners face it hard Rep. John Kavanagh says “”It makes me feel good, “Mr. Hickman (will have to) have less hens. I am not going to maintain a large population of illegal immigrants who drain our economy and cost us in benefits just so that Mr. Hickman can sell 20 percent more in eggs.”

But for those “illegals” who still remain in Arizona, good news awaits them. Because the author, Arizona state Senate President, Russell Pearce is facing recall and his bill SB1070 isn’t receiving the support it once had. Nonpartisan group Citizens for a Better Arizona, co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat, say they are on track to meet the May 31st deadline to submit the 7,756 signatures required for the recall election of Senate President Pearce. More sad for the Senate President is that a Republican groups  have been on the look out for similar signatures. Arizonans for a Better Government (a Republican group)has been collecting recall petition signatures. Some of their efforts have shifted to recruit and groom potential Republican candidates to challenge Pearce in the recall. The possibility is for a recall is high, it makes sense, why else would anyone be on the look out to challenge the Senate President.

And people who once supported the Senate President now say “I thought [Pearce] would be the answer to [immigration] problems, but now he wants to let people bring guns into our schools, and they gave money to businesses to build more houses”  Recent bills proposed by Senate President Pearce have been vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Such Bills would have allowed guns on Arizona College Campuses and another included a birther bill.

 Things aren’t looking too well for the Senate President and these efforts to get him out are progressing well. As for the SB 1070, Legislation is working on drastic revisions and it won’t be long before it moves up to U.S. Supreme Court for even harsher changes. A year later what you see in Arizona is lost population, businesses, and business investments, is that what SB 1070 called for?

Senate Bill 1070

Purpose:

“Requires officials and agencies of the state and political subdivisions to fully comply with and assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and gives county attorneys subpoena power in certain investigations of employers. Establishes crimes involving trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens, and their respective penalties”

A purpose for an issue that affects the State of Arizona more than any other state in this country. But the matter of the fact is that the issue is not being handled/addressed properly: Border Safety. And when will a “real” solution come about, no one can give a direct answer. Not even the president of the United States. And currently this issue is being “treated, ” but with the wrong policy. Though a metaphor, it’s like giving someone aspirin to treat a brain tumor. The pain may go away for some time, but the tumor won’t, after it’s treated properly.

And why the wrong policy you may ask? Have you read the bill? It may be vital to do so, and not only because this post is basis, but because it’s best one have clear background on the current treatment for border safety in Arizona.

Senate Bill 1070 is composed of 16 pages all which contain specific information on the legal proceedings one maybe held accountable for if

a. one attempts to or helps an unauthorized alien

b. knowingly hires and unauthorized alien

But is not limited to explain the proceedings for those detained and present in the U.S illegally.

And so why is this not the right treatment? On a basis of points I shall address what I feel the bill fails to define and how some of the solutions to the identification of unauthorized alien workers is not the best of all.

POINT ONE: Section 2.B Page 1: What is considered “reasonable suspicion” for one to be considered an “alien who is unlawfully present in the United States” ? Not a single sub point, section, or continence define this statement. What is the officer to look to for reasonable suspicion? Physical attributes: Is this another Latino issue? And who is the main target: Mexicans or people who look like them. But is this not racism?

POINT TWO: Section 2.E Page 1: A Law Enforcement Officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed any public offence…” What is probable cause? So I know you may be thinking I am questioning the definition of simple terms, but in the case where one is stopped for a probable cause, one has no ideas what may be, I feel like the need for a clear definition is needed. And what goes to say that this arrest won’t go beyond immigration. Because it statement this arrest requires no warrant from an officer, only “probable cause”

POINT THREE: Section 7. I Page 13: “…proof of verifying the employment authorization of an employee through e-verify program,” let stop at e-verify. In brief, e-verify is a program that allows employers to run a check on the validity of social security numbers. Often employers run this check but often won’t consider to check if the name and the social match. It cost employers time and also money, so the checking stops as soon as the social security number comes out as valid. And if “valid” is all that is required to prove the legal employment of a person, then that’s a loophole in the system.

Beyond these points there is much more that one should consider, and as simple as these point may seem, they all are the current flawed attempt to treat an issue that continues today. People will continue to come to the U.S. illegally. This immigration matter isn’t all about border security, it’s also about the people who are already here. These people may be undocumented students who need a job for an education or they maybe people who want a better life other than the one in their home country. The immigration system has been broken for a long time and border security, while it is needed, does nothing to solve the underlying problem.

In the Bay Area: Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC)

An organization established to support immigrant students in their pursuit of college and citizenship in the Bay Area. Through various resources, services, and programs this organizations provides means for these immigrant students to realize their American Dream. Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) was started in 2006 by Carrie Evans and Katharine Gin, in effort to provide information, resources, and support to immigrant students without legal status. Information was often not relevant and inaccessible to many students.

“The organization has grown into an active and close-knit community of immigrant students, educators, attorneys, activists, parents, and artists. Working to offer a comprehensive suite of programs and services that address the financial, legal, political, professional, and socio-emotional needs of immigrant students who do not yet have residency or citizenship.”

 E4FC’s main resources include scholarships, internships, workshops, legal resources, and mentoring.

Some of their major scholarships include the Scholars Program. Financial awards for students living or attending school the bay area. These scholarships maybe up to $10,000 and the scholars are selected based on their academic achievements, financial needs, and community impact.

Their internship program is mainly directed for graduate students and connects such students to “professional and real-life work experience.”

Their workshops include “The Power of Telling Your Story.” A workshop the enables and empowers students to tell their story as an immigrant student or ally.

 Legal Service provides free legal analyses intended for immigrant students who do not yet have legal residency or citizenship in the United States through possible immigration remedies and/or benefits to immigrant students nationwide. Any information given is confidential and anonymous.

Their website provides more detailed information and more resources not summarized here. E4FC.org

E4FC has received a great deal of support from well know individuals, such as Jorge Ramos from Univision, who donated $20,000 to the organization. Other media takes include the SF Weekly and the Huffington Post, running the stories of undocumented students featured though E4FC. And more recently (video below) in Mobilize.org, where the “Student Outreach Team won a $7,000 grant to increase graduation rate of undocumented students in California community colleges”

E4FC has become a powerful source that any immigrant students look to for specific information in the bay area. The organization continues to expand and update its information and resources, as the need and voice for immigration reform for many undocumented students becomes more vital than ever.

“Illegal Alien”

A term with a harsh connotation. A term with single a classification: CRIMINAL.

And in all sense under many laws, illegal aliens are criminals but the crime has greater meaning than anyone would consider. Back in their homeland these criminals were facing poverty, rape, and/or famine. When they heard the US could offer something better they embarked on a path toward that better life. Leaving behind their family and even risking their own life to get here.

But once here in the US their classification became a greater crime. A crime that legal US citizens look down on. Simply because many consider illegal aliens to be: Drug dealers, pimps or rapists.

So when legislation brings in proposals to create a path for legal residency, the bills are never passed. In my due opinion, I feel that the issue has a lot to do with the term and what comes to mind when it is talked about. The term alone sounds awful, harsh and degrading, low and unwanted.

And you hear of these stories in the news and how anti-immigration bills make the US “safer,” But what sense, may I ask, because these illegal aliens are already here. And what what’s also not considered is that they are honors students trying to get an education, they are the farm workers who picked the fruit on your table, they are the cooks who made your food at the restaurant, and they are the maids who vacuumed your carpet clean.

So let’s get more personal here. This last, lame duck session when the DREAM Act failed to pass, did you consider the students, the maids, and the farm workers? I do hope so. Because those people aren’t here to ask for free welfare and they aren‘t here to take your job. These illegal aliens came here looking for a better life and an education.

An education that means more purpose than it’s use. Just in students alone an estimated “65,000 young people in the United States graduate from high school” as undocumented students (illegal aliens). In many cases these illegal aliens “watch their friends go off to college or work, and discover that it is [almost] impossible for them to do the same”

A mother voice tells you that she brought her children here for a better life and she “can’t imagine my [her] in Colombia. They think like Americans, and it wouldn’t be fair to them, with their desire for educations.” –

In grand regards I agree, it’s NOT fair. It’s unfair that such classification places all illegal aliens on the same boat, because not all of them are the same. And many of them are students, students who are trying to make the most who what is offered to them.

But what is much more sad is the fact that a “generation of undocumented children is coming of age, and lawmakers haven’t figured out such cases should be treated. Some states have considered whether to extend in-state college tuition benefits to illegal students; but such proposals haven’t gotten very far. On the federal level, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives sponsored bills like Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act.” But still nothing…

And these students are waiting and fighting, they haven’t lost hope. Recently in California, the California Dream Act (add link to my post) passed the California’s state Assembly. These undocumented students are not taking the slots of Americans. They still have to pay their own way. And yet, some still refer to them as criminals.

Regardless, the state Senate is expected to pass the California Dream Act and there is a good chance Gov. Jerry Brown will sign it into law.”

And yet the term is only but the greatest struggle that keeps legislation from any reform.

The California Dream Act

Things are looking swell just about now. Well, in California for the most part, and that is to say for many AB540 students.

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 lawmakers in the California Higher Education Committee of the Assembly passed proposals AB130 and AB131.  Know as the “California Dream Act”, these bills would grant financial aid and scholarships to AB540 students enrolled in California State Universities, the California Community Colleges, or in Universities of California, and technical schools.  

The  basic summaries of the bills AB131 and Ab130 state:

Enacts the California Dream Act f 2011. Allows a non-resident pursuant to AB 540 law (who has attended, for 3 or more years, and graduated from a secondary school) to apply for and participate in all institutional student aid programs administered by the UC, CSU, and, CCC, including the CCC Board of Governor’s fee waiver. The number of aid awards to California residents may not be diminished as a result of this provision

Cedillo AB130

Allows a non-resident pursuant to AB 540 law (who has attended, for 3 or more years, and graduated from a secondary school) to apply for and participate in any student financial aid program administered by the state to the full extent permitted by federal law. Requires the Student Aid Commission to establish procedures and forms that enable those persons who are exempt to apply for all financial aid programs.

Cedillo AB131

Dozens of similar proposals  had been introduced in previous years, but were always vetoed by former Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though the proposals have not been approved or vetoed, a new Governor holds the seat, and many are hoping that the proposals will pass!  

If passed, the proposals would take effect January 1, 2012. According to Alcocer an “estimated 75 percent of undocumented students would receive $4 million of financial aid under AB 130, and 50 percent of them would be eligible for Cal Grants up to about $3 million under AB 131

Many state that if the bill pass it would be a burden to those paying taxes. Rather to is seems like a free pass for undocumented students to obtain an education, an education that will serve of no purpose if they can’t get a job after graduation.

But it isn’t exactly the case, in fact many of these students already hold jobs and granting them financial aid would relive a grand financial burden, giving them more time to focus on their studies and later begin the process towards legally residency. Where then after they would be able to use the degrees they hold, and become grand contributors to American society.

Oh but wait, did this isn’t everything many state, those against these proposals feel that passing such would create incentives/lure more immigrants (college bound students) to come into the country. Well, that wouldn’t be the case, because the bills would not grant these immigrants any aid; there are clear and specific criteria which must be met entirely in order to receive any funds. That being the case if any student decided to immigrate to California for this aid, he or she would be out of luck and better of in the country to which he or she was originally studying in, because the state would not grant him or her any money.

Last key misconception to address; these students aren’t taking anyone else’s financial aid. The provisions say that the aid would be for everyone, only a select few would relieve financial aid. That is to say AB 131 has been edited to ensure that Cal Grants will not be reduced for students that are legal residents, AB540 students would be the last to receive and aid, and not all would get it.

It may not be the DREAM Act many students had in mind, but it will be of great assistance to them, especially for those attending Universities of California, because tuition for such schools is higher than any other in the public schooling system.

Final hearings (approval or veto) for these proposals will be this coming May, the day exactly is not yet known.

Modified Post “The DREAM Act Didn’t Pass”

“I woke up today with everything my friend tells me I take for granted. I’m applying for FAFSA today, becasue I have a SSN. But my friend isn’t. I drove to school today, because I have a licence. But my friend rode the bus. I’m taking a plane to see my famlilly, because I have a passport. But my friend will have someone drive her there. In a few years from now I’ll be able to get a job. But my friend won’t. So what don’t I have that she does. FEAR! Fear of deportation, fear of what comes after college, and fear that her dreams still won’t come true. Why? Because the DREAM did NOT pass!”

Whats left to do and what comes next? It it still within reach or is all hope lost? 

These are just some of the few questions many undocumented college and high school students are asking themselves now. & it  matters, for everyone!

And this past December 2010 the DREAM Act, that would have granted undocumented youth (students) a conditional path to citizenship, was KILLED in the Senate.

But lets not get to far ahead. What is the DREAM Act exactly?

DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act and the eligibility criteria  for the Act includes:

“1. The alien has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding the date of enactment of this Act, and had not yet reached the age of 16 years at the time of initial entry
2.The alien has been a person of good moral character since the time of application
3.The alien, at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States, or has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States
4. The alien has never been under a final administrative or judicial order of exclusion, deportation, or removal
5. The alien had not yet reached the age of 35 years on the date of the enactment of this Act”

The Library of Congress Thomas

Within the term of this act many undocumented students would have been given 6 years towards a path to citizenship and permission to legally serve a country they call “home.” Exactly ”home,” because many came at a young age, and others can’t even remember their birthland.

Dreams were shattered and many were left in tears; the Act did not pass!

The keynote to address here, is not that they want to take the jobs of Americans or obtain a licence, but rather to obtain full right to a land they know as home. A home that has deprived them of many rights for years. A home where they aren’t accepted because their birth certificate claims home to be another country.

And where are they now? They are they still here.  They are the Pedro Ramirez , they are the Beleza Chan, and many other students fighting to obtain legality in a country they know to be ”home” and looking on to the future for something to come. And the movement is NOT over. They still have questions waiting to be answered and won’t stand still until they obtain something they claim to be rightfully theirs.