It’s deja vu in Arizona

It only seems like yesterday when Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed that state’s notorious anti-immigrant hate bill, S.B. 1070, into law in 2010.  Eventually, most of the law was thrown out by the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v US (2012). Despite this, immigrant-haters continued to try to promote the myth that the real purpose of the Arizona law was to enforce federal immigration laws that were already on the books, but which the Obama administration was allegedly failing in its duty to carry out.

As if it was not clear before, it is now abundantly clear that S.B. 1070, the anti-immigrant hate bill, was never about law-enforcement.    Not giving up on is bigotry, the same Republican-controlled legislature that passed S.B. 1070 in 2010, has now passed an anti-gay bill, S.B. 1062, which would allow businesses to discriminate against anyone for any reason, if such discrimination is allegedly based on religious belief.  While the bill does not expressly single out LGBT people as targets of discrimination (which would make the bill unconstitutional on its face), the intent is obvious.   The current bill is not about protecting religious freedom, any more than S.B. 1070 about enforcing federal immigration laws.  Both measures are about promoting hate, and hate only.

Major companies and institutions (e.g. Apple, Marriott, American Airlines, Intel and the State Super Bowl Committee) have urged a veto, according to news reports.  Click here for the article, “Apple Warns Arizona Governor Anti-Gay Will Hurt Highly Anticipated Sapphire Glass Factory,” February 25.  As of the writing of this, Governor Brewer has not indicated whether she will veto or sign the bill.

Unless bigotry against minority immigrants, such as the anti-Latino hate that is now blocking immigration reform in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, is thoroughly stamped out and eliminated from America’s political life once and for all – just as legalized racial segregation was in the Civil Rights Era – the virus of prejudice and discrimination will continue to spread against American citizens as well.

The battle for immigration reform is also a battle against the wider bigotry that is poisoning so much of American society. This is why immigration supporters must win in the struggle to achieve legalization and eventual citizenship for 11 million mainly Latino and other non-white immigrants, as well as a fairer, more rational, legal immigration system for both employment and family-based immigrants.

The rights of all Americans to be free from prejudice, hatred and discrimination depend on this.