Thursday, July 29, 2010

Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

A few years ago, I had just finished my last semester in college. I got my final report card in the mail, only to discover that the professor for one of my online classes failed me. I was upset, as I had gotten A's and B's on all of my assignments. I called him, and he told me that I hadn't turned in the final exam, which was worth 40% of the grade. I looked in my sent mail folder and told him what day and time I sent it, and the subject line. He checked his mail again while I was on the phone and said it wasn't there.

Desperate, I asked, "Is it in your spam folder?"

He checked, and it was there. He apologized and told me he would turn in a revised grade to the school once he graded my exam.

My problem with the Arizona law as it is written is not that it send illegals back to the country they came from. My problem is that the AZ law has no provision for dealing with false positives. It is like the spam folder. Sometimes real messages don't get through, and sometimes real American citizens will get locked up.

Do you know how expensive it is to defend yourself against an unwarranted criminal charge? Thousands of dollars. This laws targets the poor of every race. If a cop doesn't like your attitude, all he has to do is ask you for your citizenship papers. Don't have 'em on you? You are under arrest.

Black, white, hispanic, whatever race you are. The law doesn't spell give an official direction as to what "reasonable suspicion" of being illegal is. Most people who are against the law assume it is having brown skin and speaking Spanish. The law is so vague, it could include "wearing socks with sandals" or "eating mayonnaise on french fries". This just gives cops another reason to arrest you for no good reason.

We need to build a wall to slow the influx (on both borders), because we are trying to bail out a boat without plugging the hole first.