One of the burdens I carry is the knowledge that I come from one of the country’s anti-immigrant hotspots. No, I am not from Arizona, Alabama, Postville, Iowa or Hazelton, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island, New York. While Suffolk County never passed laws like Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 or Alabama’s even more odious HB 56, Suffolk County gained notoriety for an even more loathsome practice– extreme violence against immigrants.
As Hurricane Sandy crawls through the Washington, DC area, and the kids clamor for yet another game of Who Shook Hook?, now seems as good a time as any to prepare a thoughtful post on the Maryland Dream Act. As a Washington DC resident, I don’t get a vote in Maryland even though, to paraphrase the former Alaskan governor, “I can see Maryland from my house.” Of course, that has never stooped us from having an opinion and I hope that all of my Maryland friends support Question 4, the so-called Maryland Dream Act next Tuesday.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet Paul Penzone, a Phoenix police officer for the past 21 years, who is running for Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Now, ordinarily, I don’t have a lot of interest in races for Sheriff in a state I have never lived in. However, this is a special race because Paul Penzone is running against incumbent Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 80 year old Bull Connor of our time.
On Friday, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Steve King (R-IA) for another term in Congress. King, who once compared selecting immigrants to dog breeding, represents the worst of nativist sentiment and Romney’s solicitation of the know-nothing wing of his party makes a mockery of any analysis that indicates that demographics demand that Romney move off his “self-deportation” stance in the primary toward the more humane and comprehensive approach to immigration reform.
There is a lot in the news about unlawful voting these days. Many states have enacted laws that require specific forms of voter identification before one can step into a voting booth. Voting experts state that voter fraud is infinitesimally small, but the concern over ineligible people voting has grown despite the lack of evidence of its ubiquity. The consequences for the non citizen who votes are drastic.
In what was surely the most anticipated decision of the Supreme Court’s term, Arizona v. United States came down today and not in the way anybody expected. In a 5-3 decision (Justice Kagan took no part), the Supreme Court rejected three of the four contested provisions and cast serious doubt on the viability of the fourth provision. What remains of SB 1070 is a hollow shell of the legislation promised and promoted by Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, and the Mario Mendoza of immigration litigation, Kris Kobach.