Sorry I have been an absent blogger lately… I am on the road to the Wisdom 2.0 Conference near San Jose, CA, which starts today. It should be an interesting combination of high tech and mindfulness, with speakers like Roshi Joan Halifax, Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), and Meng Tan (of google).
This road trip took me through Arizona, so the recent passage of SB1070 (the anti-immigration/immigrant law) has been very much on my mind. No matter what your thoughts about the current state of immigration, my take on it is that as human beings and socially engaged Buddhists we should be outraged by and speaking out against this piece of legislation. Why?
- It’s mean-spirited… the opposite of lovingkindness.
- It’s a massive display of white privilege. The bill mandates law enforcement officers to determine people’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion.” What exactly does that mean? If you have brown skin, you’re a suspect. Hey, how about me? I might be an illegal German/Slovenian immigrant. But would anyone ever think of that? Bingo. Racial profiling.
- It will create a climate of distrust, and will almost certainly prevent people from reporting crimes to the police out of fear of being deported.
- It’s redundant… the federal government is already responsible for enforcing immigration laws (for better or worse).
Here’s one way to respond, cooked up by some Facebook members:
In defiance of the new bill in Arizona and in support of the Arizona citizens who will face harassment every time they step out their doors, the call is out for everyone to ask the question: “Do I look “illegal?” during the week of May 1st to May 8th. The focus is on raising awareness on the day of May 1st but by the overwhelming response, putting out this message is extending for the rest of the week.
Post the question as your status on Facebook. Throughout the day, send the question out on Twitter. Ask one another the question, “Do I look illegal?” Hopefully, this will get all of us thinking and discussing what exactly does “illegal” look like..
Finally, wear shirts, buttons or hold signs saying, “Do I look ‘illegal’?” and take pictures to either send to Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona and/or post them [on Facebook]..
Her mailing address is:
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
So I’m looking for a t-shirt to wear tomorrow. There’s also a good online letter to Sen. Brewer that you can sign and send, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Let us know what you plan to do, and your thoughts on this issue.
Correction: In the original post, I wrote that “The bill mandates law enforcement officers to determine people’s immigration status based solely on “reasonable suspicion.” Actually, there is a provision in the bill that race cannot be the sole grounds for reasonable suspicion. However, as attorney Patrick Rung writes: “even if that’s the case, what non-racial basis can be used to justify a check of a person’s immigration status? So far, that’s a question that no one – including the proponents and authors of the bill – can adequately answer. And that makes it subject to a vagueness attack.”