Monday, April 28, 2008

ACT NOW: Urge Napolitano to Veto HB2359 and HB 2807

From Border Action, a sample letter/email or script for telephone talking points. Please act on this immediately.

April 22, 2008

Governor Napolitano:

On behalf of (insert organization name here), I urge you to veto HB2807 and HB2359. These bills will jeopardize the safety and security of Arizona communities and the integrity of local law enforcement agencies.

HB2807 requires all Arizona police and sheriffs departments to create programs to address federal immigration violations. Police and sheriff’s departments in Arizona and across the country have reiterated that blurring the lines between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement undermines their ability to effectively police their communities. Trust and confidence in the police is an essential element of public safety. Victims and witnesses of crimes, be it domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse, need to know that reporting a crime will not result in their deportation. HB2807 will result in less effective policing and will make Arizona communities less safe.

HB2359 allows the Sheriff, without the authority of the board of supervisors, to enter into agreements with Customs and Border Protection. Arizonans are already terrorized by the actions of the unaccountable Maricopa County sheriff who operates as if he is above the rule of law. We need the system of checks-and-balances between sheriffs and boards of supervisors. We need accountability and community safety.

[Insert a description of your organization here if applicable]

We want Arizona to be a state where the basic human dignity of all people is upheld and respected. We want communities that are safe and secure for everyone. HB2807 and HB2359 will not promote a better vision for Arizona. We urge you to veto these two bills.



I would also add that these measures are deadly dangerous precedents. The emphasis today is on undocumented immigrants, and the rationale, though few understand this, is entirely made up. Tomorrow the emphasis can shift abrupty on equally bogus grounds.

Other populations in this country--African Americans, Mormons, gays and lesbians, Asians--know just how precarious our lives are when this kind of xenophobia rampages through a community, but few Americans actually know what it's like when implementing mob hysteria becomes part of the job description of the police. For first-hand accounts of what that's like, we need to talk with European Jews.

I've written elsewhere that laws which are designed to target any segment of the population on the basis of a genetic or cultural difference don't merely achieve the violence they set out to accomplish. They also do a much larger violence to the whole community. They turn ordinary citizens in to surrogate enforcers. As any South African, German, Austrian, Chinese, French citizen, or resident of any fundamentalist, totalitarian regime can attest, the result is bloody chaos.

Arizona is on a deadly path. I hope that enough of us recognize it in time to stop it. For if these and the other noxious measures pass, it won't be the fault of the governor alone. It will mainly be our fault.