Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On immigration and belonging

Gorgeous Arizona, via


Am I the only one that saw this?  Is anyone else loving it?

If you didn't click the link, it is a piece from last week about Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, who made the most brilliant statement ever about citizenship in response to the draconian* laws in Arizona.  For the uninitiated, Arizona has in recent years passed a number of laws that make it very easy for police to racially profile residents and check their citizenship status, even for routine issues such as traffic violations. 

And here is the brilliance of Rep. Gutierrez: he asked his colleagues to distinguish between two pop stars, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and asked them to identify the immigrant.

Can you?  Well, the Biebz is Canadian, and Gomez is a born and bred Texan.  But the example is awesome, since it pointed out how COMPLETELY STUPID racial profiling is in a heterogeneous country.  How anyone can claim to be suspicious of someone's citizenship based on looks is a friggin' mystery to me.

And it all comes around again, doesn't it?  To the question of why we care, why immigration reforms are such a hot issue, and why governments feel compelled to make these distinctions between people.  I'm still working out how I feel about calling citizenship antiquated, but I will happily call discriminatory laws that DON'T WORK antiquated, and far worse.

Thoughts?  Do you think immigration officials can correctly determine citizenship using Arizona's models?

*I said it, I stand by it.  But disagreement is always welcome in the comments!

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