Friday, March 18, 2011

Focus on Bigger Picture in Shadow of Victory

Yes, it's encouraging in some ways that Arizona Senate rejects 5 illegal-immigration bills, yet of course this is no reversal of SB 1070 or anything before it.  As my partner noted to me, it's likely that it was more the pressure from the businesses than the people that made an impact this round, though I'd like to think that protesters are at least an annoyance if not worse to the politicians deciding the fate of so many.

I would like to point out, as I have in previous posts though perhaps buried within my writing, that the overarching goal of anti-immigrant legislation is not to remove all immigrants.  It is to criminalize them so as to make them more exploitable and controllable.  As many of you understand, migrants provide cheap labor.  They would to some extent, even if they were not "illegal", as they have been in the past.  But criminalizing them more and more keeps them in the precarious position that makes them easily exploited.  Of course what makes them "illegal" is their presence in this country, which implies that the law makers want them out--and some probably do.  But where blatant racists and business owners' interests come together is the interest in criminalizing a permanent underclass.

Let us not forget, however, that the prison industrial complex, the private prison industry in particular, directly profits from the criminalization of migrants.  This is a more direct and observable player in this game, especially where it connects with those in government like Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer as I discussed in What came first: the Racism or the Profit Motive? On Private Prisons' push for SB1070.  Then on a larger scale, with more funds and power, are the defense contractors who have been pushing for securing the border with walls and a variety of technological equipment.

 As I wrote in Ending criminalization of people of color must be priority,
Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, like those whose faces I could barely see, are held in detention centers and jails.  SB 1070 has not yet gone into effect.  This has been going on for so long and will only continue to do so as long as activists only insist upon ending racial profiling and stopping SB 1070 or even all racist bills/laws if it stops before calling for an end to the border and criminalization of people of color.  There are so many undocumented immigrants who are living in our cities whose voices are overpowered by those who want to maintain the status quo.  There are so many indigenous people near the border or even throughout this state whose voices are not heard, who are also impacted by the border and will also be impacted by SB1070 and so much more.
We must not buy the rhetoric that if it weren't for this right-wing attack on immigrants, things would be just fine.  Even before so many people were worried they'd be deported at any moment, they still had to work shitty jobs for low wages.  Even before so many border patrol agents or national guard invaded O'odham land, there were still many problems faced by people in the border regions, or just with brown skin in general.  Let's address the reasons so many are forced here in the first place and why so many people of color are in prisons, who profits, how settlers can decide who does or doesn't belong, and how does it all come crumbling down?