Monday, April 26, 2010

One Arizona Citizen's Story

On April 23, 2010, the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer did two things. One, she signed Senate Bill 1070 into law and two, proved that Arizona has its head up its ass. SB 1070 requires police to ask for documentation when they have "reasonable suspicion" that someone is in the U.S. illegally. The bill has been hotly contested. Opponents claim it will lead to racial profiling. Supporters say action is needed to stem illegal immigration in light of the federal government's failure to take action.

I’m a white woman who was born and raised in the United States of America. That makes me a citizen. My bloodline is a mixture of Swedish, Norwegian, and German; northern European. Given the geographic locations of these countries, let me say that I’m about as white as you can get. You can’t find us in a snowdrift, that’s how white. I remember as a young teenager, sitting at the kitchen table talking to my German-born grandfather. He was three years old when he arrived in the United States. He also revealed a fact about his father that didn’t really bother me until today: great grandfather was an illegal alien.

Great grandpa sailed over from Germany with a cargo of workhorses. In those days, immigration law said you had to have family members or someone already here to take responsibility for you. But there was no one like that for great grandpa. He jumped ship and the rest is family history.

Great grandpa came here because things were not so good at home. He jumped ship to be able to provide a better life for his family. He could have been a criminal in Germany, who knows? But here he worked hard and created the life he wanted then sent for his wife and son. He saw his family succeed and prosper.

If those politicians and other people who pushed this law into existence really thought about it, I’m sure they would find a similar family history. This country was founded by people who didn’t like the way things were in their own countries. They emigrated to have the life they wanted. Just like the ones we are trying to keep out now.