For those who’ve forgotten AB 1070, especially since U.S. District Court Judge Bolton put a temporary hold on some parts of SB1070, the law is Arizona’s “attrition through enforcement” answer to stopping illegal immigration at its border with Mexico.
It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people reasonably suspected are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with the feds, unless doing so hinders an investigation or emergency medical treatment. The law also makes it a misdemeanor — to not carry alien registration papers. In addition, it allows unhappy Arizonans to sue local government if they believe federal or state immigration law isn’t being enforced.
But what will most rankle those who hate the presence of undocumented brown hordes in Arizona, is that the Republic story paints a sympathetic picture of the life of three young Mexican immigrants, Gerson Gonzalez, Alejandro Sau, and Jonathan Labrada. The three entered the U.S. illegally in 2007. Hate like revenge is a dish best served cold. Putting a warm, compassionate face on the struggle of three hapless Mexican youths trying to better themselves only complicates an issue that’s supposed to be easy and black and white. See, for example, “What is it about illegal that you don’t understand?”
The three “illegals” are high school students who spoke no English when they arrived. And they had to quickly learn to fend for themselves when difficult life circumstances, including Arizona’s inhospitable immigration climate, put them on their own.
This meant life in a beat-up trailer with little or no money or food and save for the kindnesses of teachers, not much else but each other. It’s a difficult road taken but through grit and “ganas,” which in Spanish means to have the willingness, Gerson, Alejandro and Jonathan found the heart to persevere no matter the odds.
And even conceding that such odium is at the margins, support in Arizona and elsewhere for the state’s anti-illegal immigration law remains strong. Consequently, it’s no accident there’s no dearth of tough ‘secure the borders’ talk among those running to retake the White House.
But back to the newspaper report. Since Gerson, Jonathan and Alejandro are still here and still without papers, it was either gutsy or foolish for them to have told reporter John Faherty their story.
Perhaps they did it because Gerson believes he is “good for this country.” Or maybe, Gerson, Alejandro and Jonathan simply want to put faces on the issue.
We should at least see what he and his companions are all about. Also see “Slideshow: A year with the boys.”
Photo Credit: “Townhall wedgie,” by MrSabo at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution and share alike distribution;”Crossing over barbed wire with a gallon of water,” by pablopare2011 at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution and share alike distribution.