Category Archives: Immigration

Los Suns Also Rise: Phoenix Suns Win in More Ways Than One

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dave Ziran

Anyone who believes that sports can’t be an effective platform for social justice, needed only to watch last night’s game between Los Suns of Phoenix and the San Antonio Spurs. The unprecedented decision by the entire Suns organization – from owner Robert Sarver to star players Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash – to wear uniforms blaring Los Suns and come out against Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070, created a sports broadcast like no other in my lifetime. The game on TNT began with sideline reporter Marty Snider outside the arena covering a mushrooming 3,000 person civil rights march, led by Al Sharpton and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon (both wearing Los Suns Jerseys.) Then the scene switched to the pre-game studio with host Ernie Johnson and former players Kenny “the Jet” Smith, Chris Webber, and Charles Barkley. The viewing audience then got an unexpected and bracing lesson in dissent.

Kenny Smith, like any good point guard, set up the others by saying, “I think it’s great that the team understands, the management understands and now the people of Phoenix are all rallying together at the same time.” Barkley, a long time Arizona resident and a man who once said that he was a Republican until “the Republicans lost their damn minds” chimed in saying, “The only people screwing it up are the politicians. The Governor – the interim governor I might add – J.D. Hayworth and John McCain. They’re the ones screwing this thing up. I really take my hat off to Robert Sarver and the Suns for taking a stand. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination……. President Obama you’ve got to do something because these lightweight politicians in Arizona have no idea what they are doing.”

The typically blunt Barkley speaking in such terms is hardly surprising. But it was Chris Webber who upped the ante, interrupting a visibly uncomfortable Ernie Johnson with, “Public Enemy said it a long time ago. ‘By the Time I Get to Arizona.’ I’m not surprised. They didn’t even want there to be a Martin Luther King day when John McCain was in [office.]. So if you follow history you know that this is part of Arizona politics.”

It was a remarkable display and it was difficult to not think of the millions of television viewers around the country, in sports bars, restaurants, and house parties, being confronted with this kind of forthright, plainspoken language. But perhaps even more important than the support Los Suns received from protestors and broadcasters, was their play on the court. Phoenix trailed by nine at the end of the first quarter and Spurs star power forward Tim Duncan was scoring with ease. The crowd was dead and it wasn’t difficult to envision what would be said in the SportsWorld if Phoenix lost: “The political hoopla was a distraction.” “This is why sports and politics don’t mix.” “They should have been focused on the Spurs and not immigration.” And grinning smugly would have been LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson who chided the Suns yesterday saying, “If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws…. I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff.”

In other words, everyone who stands with SB 1070 would be feeling a little more joyful this morning. It would have been an echo of the time Muhammad Ali lost his first fight to Joe Frazier and all the columnists and fans who wanted to see the draft dodging Ali punished, chortled gleefully after he was knocked to the canvas. But just when we were all ready to stick a fork in the brick-laying Suns, something remarkable happened. The slick shooting, fast breaking team started to crash the boards, play ugly, and do all the dirty work that wins games. Doughy, undersized three point shooter Jared Dudley started aggressively snatching offensive rebounds like his soul had been possessed by Barkley himself, energizing the crowd and shocking his team back to life. The result was a 110-102 victory in which the run and gun Suns were held to just eight fast break points. Coach Alvin Gentry said afterward that he had never seen the team play so mentally tough.

Maybe this will be the start of a new trend where teams see the unifying benefits of going out on a political limb and taking a stand. Maybe players across the sports leagues who oppose SB 1070 will be inspired to come together in a common organization and demand Arizona cease the imposition of “Juan Crow” on the Latino population. Maybe the major sports unions, all of whom have voiced opposition to the bill, will release a joint statement saying that they will support any player or team who boycotts the state as long as SB 1070 is on the books. Maybe this is all utterly unrealistic. But it seems a hell of a lot more possible this morning than it did last night. Vivan Los Suns.

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Dave Zirin is a sports correspondent for The Nation Magazine

Follow Dave Zirin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/edgeofsports

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Filed under Arizona, Basketball, Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Sports, Uncategorized

Happy Cinco de Boycott!

Posted by: BuellBoy
Written by Mario Solis-Marich

Mario Solis-Marich, progressive talk radio show host

Mario Solis-Marich, progressive talk show radio host

The fabled Mexican battle at Puebla will be commemorated today although most people celebrating it wont know what they are celebrating. Cinco de Mayo is not as celebrated in Mexico as it is in the US. Cinco de Mayo is in fact a uniquely American celebration about one of it’s many cultures’ historical mile stones. The holiday was only big in Puebla until it was big here. A signal that being Latino is as American as a double Patron margarita strained into a large salted martini glass ( try it if you haven’t yet).

A sore spot among Latinos has long been that America accepts our cultural best while openly vilifying us in general. Salsa has long replaced ketchup as our country’s favorite condiment. Americans have adopted Cesar salads to the extent that most don’t even know it is a Mexican creation. Suburbanites love the hard work ethic that is embedded in our cultural DNA and that they so readily hire. Tierra, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Eve Longoria, Raquel Welch, Vicky Carr are loved. The man that fixes fences, the trust worthy woman who creates safety and care for children, the boy that bags groceries are sought after. The voter that preserves balance and the politician that consistently votes for education are courted. All of these people are admired…. when needed.

Yet these same people are conflated by the media with drug smugglers and terrorists. The disconnect is painfully irritating and quite frankly politically and socially unsustainable.

No place is this hypocritical disconnect more obvious then in the political arena. The President called on Latino voters recently to help save his Democratic legislative majorities and a few days later seemed to roll over while the broken US Senate decided that climate legislation was to be it’s sole next priority. In the US Senate races the dissonance is dramatically experienced in Colorado as incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet tells Latino activists that he is better on immigration issues than his primary opponent but fails to move aggressively on immigration reform and on condemning the Arizona hate bill. Bennet cannot win without a clear Latino super majority. It seems that in politics as in life Latinos are charged with doing the heavy lifting for little pay back.

The Arizona boycott movement has been a immediate success. People of all races and ethnicities have reacted with their pocket books and are sending Jan Brewer and the GOP led state legislature a strong message. The message has been passionate and clear. While the strength of the boycott movement will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the Arizona market place it provides a warning to the national political arena as well. For now the boycott is limited to Arizona and the market place of goods and services. Both political party’s would be wise to work hard to contain it as such.

While politicians tonight toast Latinos with margaritas as they dip their chips into mild salsa they would be wise to remember that the battle that is being commemorated was one won by an outnumbered and grossly underestimated people determined to maintain their freedoms and independence. A tough lot to beat, just ask the French.

Join Mario at : Boycott the Police State Known as Arizona

Mario Solis-Marich is a radio talk show host who can be heard on AM 760 in Denver and world wide at www.GoToMario.com. You can find Mario on Facebook.

Follow Mario Solis-Marich on Twitter: www.twitter.com/marioradio

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Filed under Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Law, Uncategorized

Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English…WTF?

Posted by: BuellBoy

HP~Arizona’s new immigration law is just about crime, its supporters say, but given that the state’s new education policy equates ethnic studies programs with high treason, they may not be using the commonly accepted definition of “crime.”

Under the ban, sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer by the state legislature Thursday, schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

As ThinkProgress notes, the Tucson Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department is the target here. The state superintendent charges that the program exhibits “ethnic chauvinism.”

Meanwhile, in a move that was more covert until the Wall Street Journal uncovered it, the Arizona Department of Education has told schools that teachers with “heavy” or “ungrammatical” accents are no longer allowed to teach English classes.

As outlined by the Journal, Arizona’s recent pattern of discriminatory education policies is ironic — and is likely a function of No Child Left Behind funding requirements — given that the state spent a decade recruiting teachers for whom English was a second language.

In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America.

Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English.

Teachers who don’t meet the new fluency standards have the option of taking classes to improve their English, the Journal reports, but if they fail to reach the state’s targets would be fired or reassigned.

Arizona Expands Its Discrimination: Teachers With Heavy Accents Can’t Teach English, Ethnic Studies Are Banned

ThinkProgress~Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

The measure is directed at the Tuscon Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department, which school officials say provides only “historical information” — not “ethnic chauvanism” as the state school superintendent has alleged. One state lawmaker tried to show how ridiculous the legislation is by proposing that schools be barred from teaching about 9/11 because it would result in hatred toward Arab-Americans; the measure failed.

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Filed under Arizona, Education, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Law, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

Lawsuits Over AZ Immigration Law Filed By Police Officer, Latino Group

Posted by: BuellBoy

AP~Anger mounted Thursday over an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration as a police officer filed one of the first lawsuits challenging the law and activists gathered outside an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, chanting “Boycott Arizona.”

The lawsuit from 15-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar is one of two filed Thursday, less than a week after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law that’s sparked fears it will lead to racial profiling despite the governor’s vow that officers will be properly trained.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law, which requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

Escobar, an overnight patrol officer in a heavily Latino area of Tucson, argues there’s no way for officers to confirm people’s immigration status without impeding investigations, and that the new law violates numerous constitutional rights.

Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Escobar is acting on his own, not on behalf of the department.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders also filed a lawsuit Thursday, and is seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona’s law violates due process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they’re convicted.

“Mexican-Americans are not going to take this lying down,” singer Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson native, said at a state Capitol news conference on another lawsuit planned by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center.

At least three Arizona cities – Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson – are considering legal action to block the law. In Flagstaff, police are investigating a threatening e-mail sent to members of the city council over their opposition to the law. The author said council members should be “arrested, tried in court, found guilty of treason and hanged from the nearest tree!”

About 40 immigrant rights activists gathered outside Wrigley Field in Chicago Thursday as the Cubs open a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A small plane toting a banner criticizing the law circled the stadium, and activist George Lieu said they’ve sent a letter to Cubs management asking them to stop holding spring training in Arizona.

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Arizona Boycott Goes Viral As State’s Tourism Industry Tries to Fight Back

BNet.com/Barbara E. Hernandez~While Arizona tourism tries to resist the tidal wave of anti-Arizona sentiment triggered by the state’s passage of a tough new law that targets illegal immigrants, it may be a losing battle when stacked up against viral social media and negative word-of-mouth. Worse, the state looks to lose 3.8 million visitors a year from Mexico, whose citizens are now leery of police stops and harassment.

The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association set up its own Facebook page, called “Don’t Boycott AZ Tourism” most likely to battle the three other “Boycott Arizona” Facebook pages already in use, a petition site and a general Arizona-bashing. The Facebook page, which has the sub-headline of “Don’t punish 200k tourism employees for politics,” so far has 802 followers. The primary Boycott Arizona page has more than 11,000. That’s what the Arizona hospitality industry is up against — a very aggressive and antagonistic social media campaign oppposed to Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant laws.

So far it’s working. The American Immigration Lawyers Association notified JW Marriott in Scottsdale that it will cancel a 300-plus person event, saying, “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a meeting in (the) state.”

At the Arizona Inn in Tucson, 12 customers canceled reservations or said they wouldn’t come to the state because of the recent law.

“This is a very scary situation that the police can now just come up to you for no reason and ask for papers,” Joy Mann, a prospective guest who had previously stayed at the inn, wrote . . . in an e-mail message. “My son is a construction worker and is very suntanned. I cannot ask him to join us there now, as I would fear for him.”

The law may have even more consequences for international tourism. Visitors to Arizona spent $18.5 billion and supported about 167,000 jobs in 2008. Out of the 37 million visitors staying overnight, about 3.8 million came from Mexico, the largest single source of international visitors. The new anti-immigrant laws that may mean being pulled over by police and required to prove immigration status, will affect those visitors most. On Tuesday, Mexico issued a travel advisory for its citizens, telling them, “It must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time.”

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Filed under Arizona, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Law, Uncategorized

SNL’s Seth Meyers Slams Arizona’s Immigration Law, Calls It ‘Fascist’

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Arizona’s New Immigration Law is an Act of Vengeance by Eugene Robinson

Posted by: BuellBoy

Op-Ed by Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Washington Post/Eugene Robinson—Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights — and supporters of sane governance — held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn’t the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim — and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state — would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?

And what is the deal with Sen. John McCain? The self-proclaimed practitioner of “straight talk” was once a passionate advocate of sensible, moderate immigration reform. Now, facing a primary challenge from the right, he has praised the new law, which is as far from sensible and moderate as it could possibly be. Are six more years in the Senate really worth abandoning what seemed like bedrock principles? Or were those principles always situational?

Let me interrupt this tirade to point out that while Arizona has unquestionably done the wrong thing, it is understandable that exasperated officials believed they had to do something. Immigration policy and border security are federal responsibilities, and Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a crisis.

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Jon Stewart: ‘Arizona Is The Meth Lab Of Democracy

TPM~Arizona has passed a lot of out-there laws lately — including one last week that makes it a crime to be in the state illegally.

Jon Stewart was particularly baffled by this: “It turns out,” he said, “Arizona is the meth lab of democracy.”

Stewart then wondered what the bill does exactly: “Increase border patrols? Taller fences? Piranha moat?”

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Filed under Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Jon Stewart, Law, Uncategorized