Monday, July 13, 2009

No Littering Charges for No More Deaths

Sixteen people have been cited recently for leaving jugs of water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Littering, they call it. Funny, you can purchase litter at a store? You can use litter to save your life? This "litter" is being left in areas that migrants are walking through in this horrid desert heat.

I was told that one No More Deaths member, the first to get cited for this "littering", had come upon the body of a girl who had died migrating. Imagine how he must have felt when an officer was ticketing him the next day for trying to prevent the same sort of death for someone else.

No More Deaths members have not only seen the bodies, but they've also seen water jugs slashed and water stations otherwise destroyed by anti-immigrant folks (who else would do it?), who obviously don't care too much about litter.

However, No More Deaths members do care about litter.
Staton said that whenever volunteers take water into the desert they also bring empty trash bags. Along the way they pick up empty bottles, food wrappers and containers, clothes, backpacks and other items left behind by crossers.
In the end, the volunteers probably take out more trash than they are accused of taking in. (Source).
The water drop locations are checked at least once per week to pick up empty jugs and replace the used jugs...No More Deaths believes that US immigration policy based on deterrence is the main source of environmental damage along the border. The policy intentionally pushes migrants into remote, dangerous and environmentally sensitive areas of desert. The response to this trend has been the construction of the wall and the deployment of thousands of Border Patrol agents using 4-wheel-drive trucks, ATVs, helicopters and other vehicles, which destroy the land and disrupt wildlife movement in areas like Buenos Aires. (Source).

One article claimed that the arrests were made because NMD "has been unresponsive". However, according to one of No More Deaths's press releases,
A letter signed by more than 70 human rights, environmental and faith-based organizations and individuals was hand delivered to refuge manager, Mike Hawkes, on June 16 asking for a meeting by July 1. A copy of the letter was also hand-delivered to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. Mr. Hawkes responded on Friday, June 26 requesting a proposed agenda and list of participants, but no further correspondence has been received. (Source).

You might be interested to see comments from the types of people who think it's okay for people to die crossing the border, such as this:
This type of behavior is not only destroying our national parks, it's destroying America. When are you people going to wake up and realize that these people are breaking the law?! If we break the law we get punished. These people purposely break the laws and then demand that we take care of them and give them the same rights and respect as us legal US Citizens. Give me a break. It's not about hate or discrimination, it's about the law and what the illegal trespassers are doing and the people who leave out water and food encouraging this behavior is called breaking the law and they all should be punished for it. REPORT TO DEPORT!!! (Source).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Satire for Russell Pearce

No more catch and release of the unwelcome male
(or, what if you took the extremist position of our anti-immigrant Arizona Senator Russell Pearce, and put it in a different context?)
by Senator Valerie Solanas Pearce

I sat ashen as I watched the news reports. Several chiefs of police stood at a press conference and publicly refused to enforce the law. Less than a month after the brutal murder of a police officer at the hands of a male, they snubbed the opportunity to make necessary changes and violated their oaths of office for the sake of political correctness. Meanwhile, people are killed, maimed and raped. Men cost citizens billions to educate, medicate and incarcerate, and they take jobs from women.

Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to prevent the potential crimes that men commit, by destroying or at least repressing the entire male class. I will not stand by and be a spectator to male-perpetrated violence because we refuse to enforce our laws and fail to put women first.

The courts have not identified any policy or humanitarian argument that would negate the fact that men in the United States are more likely to abuse others. The male is, by his very nature, a leech, an emotional parasite and, therefore, not ethically entitled to live, as no one has the right to life at someone else's expense.

Women have a constitutional right to expect the protection of federal laws that prohibit unauthorized activities by men, cluttering up the world with their ignominious presence, and are denied equal protection by law enforcement, police departments or magistrates that fail to enforce those laws.

This is the only law we put conditions on before a police officer can enforce it. Men as a social category are the only criminals we protect by policies. No other crime or criminal gets this protection by our elected officials. The sick, irrational men, those who attempt to defend themselves against their disgustingness, when they see us barreling down on them, will cling in terror to Big Mama with her Big Bouncy Boobies, but Boobies won't protect them against us; Big Mama will be clinging to Big Daddy, who will be in the corner shitting in his forceful, dynamic pants.

Studies and reports have cited alarming statistics: Men commit about 91% of all homicides, and they commit 98% of all sexual assaults. Gratuitous violence, besides 'proving' he's a 'Man', serves as an outlet for his hate and, in addition--the male being capable only of sexual responses and needing very strong stimuli to stimulate his half-dead self--provides him with a little sexual thrill.

Phoenix runs second in the world in kidnappings and third in the United States for violence. Arizona has become the home-invasion, carjacking, identity-theft capital of the nation. These are not statistics Arizona should be famous for.

The elimination of any male is, therefore, a righteous and good act, an act highly beneficial to women as well as an act of mercy. Enough is enough. The laws must be enforced.

I pledge that if we eliminate all men in this state, the result will be less crime and lower taxes. The costs of these crimes are far more than financial to our citizens, and HB 2280 will help make Arizona a safer place.

"What is this?" you must be asking. An op-ed piece taken from a sci-fi novel depicting a feminist semi-utopia? Well, it is a stretch to imagine women's livelihood and bodily integrity being considered valuable, much less a priority, but it is not sci-fi or fantasy. This is a hodgepodge of an editorial by Russell Pearce with some nouns and statistics altered, with some gems from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (SCUM stands for Society for Cutting Up Men).

While I disagree with most of Solanas's manifesto, it is an example of an extremist position. And though Russell Pearce, our dishonorable anti-immigrant senator, would be repulsed by the SCUM Manifesto, I insist that his position is equally unreasonable. He has been advocating for dealing with the crimes committed by some of a certain class of people by removing the whole class of people (undocumented immigrants), even though those crimes are also committed by others. He has praised Sheriff Arpaio for being the only one to do “preventive law enforcement”. What can be made of that other than he prefers to stop crime before it is even committed. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

Of course, Pearce is saying that undocumented immigrants have already committed the crime inherent in being in the country illegally, though clearly he needs to defend this point ad nauseam because crossing a man-made line is just not something most people find important. The satirical piece is a bit of an exaggeration, as Pearce probably wouldn't publish such harsh words about immigrants as Solanas did about men. For one, he learned his lesson when he forwarded out an email from the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization. And two, it's just not politically useful. In addition, Pearce doesn't have to make insults--it is implicit in his position. He unflinchingly equates all undocumented immigrants with murderers and rapists.

The change in references to “illegals” to men in Pearce's op-ed were made so one can see that he is targeting a whole class of people to prevent the violent crimes that some of them commit. No doubt it seemed really extreme to the reader, particularly because men in general are not seen as the "other" like immigrants are. Despite the fact that the statistics about men committing such crimes are true and far worse than the statistics about undocumented immigrants, no one, aside from Valerie Solanas perhaps (tho she seemed less concerned about violence than men’s dullness and egocentricity), would propose that such pre-crime fighting should be exercised to thwart male-perpetrated violence.

What would seem absurd to most people, unfortunately, is to actually get at the root of the problem regarding violent crime. Mental health issues, poverty, social alienation; racist, heterosexist, capitalist patriarchy. But instead, undocumented immigrants are scapegoated for various problems including the crimes that a few commit, usually due to the fact that they must live a criminal, clandestine, and desperate lifestyle, one which is rewarded by exploiting others. Meanwhile there are worse criminals who don't have to be secretive because they are part of the establishment.

Russell Pearce's op-eds which ran with similar tho not exact text in two publications:
The SCUM Manifesto:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Audits: A Friendlier Face on the Same Old

An article in the Arizona Republic yesterday, called ICE audits 32 Arizona companies over hiring describes a new approach to the immigration "problem".
Federal immigration-enforcement agents notified 32 Arizona companies on Wednesday that their employment records are being audited to determine whether they are complying with laws aimed at preventing the hiring of illegal workers.

The Arizona companies are among 652 businesses nationwide that are being audited as part of a new push by the Obama administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to clamp down on employers who hire illegal workers.

Of course this is friendlier than raids, but it will accomplish nearly the same thing. Those is power would have you believe that enforcement of this type is intended to keep employers accountable. What is really happening is that it will have the largest effects on the employees. Supposing that no arrests of workers are going to result from these audits (which we can't assume), it will be increasingly difficult for immigrants to find work.
In Arizona, federal agents also could refer cases to local authorities to enforce the state's employer-sanctions law, which could result in the suspension or revocation of businesses licenses of employers caught knowingly hiring illegal workers.

Since the sanctions law took effect in 2008, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has raided 21 businesses, resulting in the arrests of 262 illegal immigrants, mostly for identity theft. There have been no complaints lodged against an employer.

As you can see, the employer sanctions law has not even been used directly against any employers, but has instead resulted in raids at work sites, and the detention and arrest of workers, including some who were not undocumented.

Guess who was behind this law. Russell Pearce. And certainly we know that this was his intention all along. In fact, he created confusion in which, leading up to the enactment of the law on January 1, 2008, no one knew if people who were already employed with a company were subject to the law, or if only people hired after that date would be subject to the law. This resulted in several people being fired even before the law went into effect.

It will be interesting to see if the friendlier approach will effect 287(g), the agreement that allows the police to enforce federal immigration law.

The more reasonable façade put on the federal immigration enforcement is also seen in the newer focus on "criminal aliens" which would seem to target mainly dangerous undocumented immigrants for removal, but in fact would catch many others up in it.