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Arizona’s 1070

September 12, 2010 12 comments

I keep hearing over and over that the main reason that has pushed Arizona to take immigration matters into their own hands is the “soaring crime in border states”.  Being the nerd that I am, I have decided to do some research and this is what I came up with:

  • Violent crime rates in Arizona are at their lowest point since 1983
  • Property crime rates in the last few years were the lowest since 1968
  • Violent and property crime rates in New Mexico, Texas and California dropped from 1998 through 2008

Another claim that i have heard is that there have been headless bodies found in the desert and John McCain has stated that Arizona is the second kidnapping capital in the world. Those articles will show you those claims are complete false.

Yet another claim made by Arizona’s Republican leadership is that illegal immigration is “out of control”.  Here’s what the New York Times had to say about that:

But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol…

“If an illegal immigrant commits a crime, this confirms our view that illegal immigrants are criminals.”  Ms. Gans said. “If an illegal immigrant doesn’t commit a crime, either they just didn’t get caught or it’s a fluke of the situation.”

“Their repeated characterization of illegal immigrants as criminals – easy to do since they broke immigration laws – makes it easy for people to ignore statistics.”

The statistics send me back to the drawing board.  If crime is down, and illegal immigration is down, then what’s the urgent matter that drove Arizona to take immigration reform into their own hands?  What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know your theory.

Hispanic unity

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

All the hoopla and controversy surrounding the Arizona law makes me think about the Hispanic community as a whole and the challenges we face.  Just last week, 72 immigrants were brutally murdered in Mexico by violent gangs involved in the drug war. These headlines will fuel the fire that has erupted in Arizona.  There are definitely challenges in our community that need to be addressed, but Hispanics must come together and stop the separation amongst us that has characterized our relationship for the past five centuries.

Meanwhile, there is a very interesting dynamic taking place in New Mexico.  Some internal political polls show that northern NM Hispanics don’t seem to care too much about the Arizona law and might end up supporting the end of the issuance of drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.  In this particular blog I will refrain from expressing my personal beliefs about either the issuance of drivers licenses to the undocumented or about Arizona’s 1070; I will focus, instead, on the troubling views of some Hispanics that they are not part of the discussion, that somehow they are better than the Hispanics (latinos) being targeted in Arizona.  The bottom line is that we all share similar backgrounds and challenges.  The following was my contribution to a NM politics blog that was discussing whether New Mexicans were “Spaniards”:

Hi Joe, I happen to agree very much with Dr. Estevan Rael Galvez. Spaniards went all over Latin America, not just to New Mexico. The argument that New Mexicans are “Spanish” and wish to distance themselves from Mexicans is truly misguided, at best. New Mexicans are as much Spanish as Mexicans are. Let’s remember that Mexicans have Spanish blood in them and many of them are very white (watch Univision anytime and you’ll see). New Mexican customs are much more linked to Mexican customs: the food, the music, the attire and decorations.

All that said, it’s unfortunate that as Hispanics we always seek to make up in our minds that one nationality or birthplace makes you “better” than those Hispanics of another area. Instead, Hispanics should come together and seek ways to improve our common problems and challenges.

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