Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arizona State Legislature Provokes New "War Between the States"

It is nice for people to realize that we need not accept behavior that restricts the movement of American citizens. This is the problem with the Arizona law and the many Chicano and Native citizens who live in Arizona are as likely to be subjected to harassment as the individuals who have been smuggled in for profit.

The jails of California are filled with those who are unable to find employment or depend on the drug subeconomy. The agribusinesses that continue to promote the human trafficing have increased the stress on public health and education. The increased violence in communities and the assaults on the elderly remain a profound source of concern. Addressing the needs of the our society due to the migration need to be done without the platitudes of moral superiority. Solutions to infrastructure problems have not come from either side of the immigration issue to date.

I have lived in NM on the border region and am opposed to the idea of a wall as mere posturing and pork for those regions, rather than a real solution. That does not mean that things can remain as they are. Hospitals closing emergency rooms, the inability to provide education of children without English langauge skills and the poverty and living conditions have been seriously impacted on the infrastructure of all border states. The carrying capacity of our water resource systems are being taxed beyond their ability to function sustainably. State budgets cannot address the profound stresses that have resulted from increased population.

The focus of the debate needs to address real solutions to the consequences of the migration. The border with Mexico will inherently be porous and will be circumvented. The government of Mexico is no more concerned about addressing the migration than the government of the United States is. It remains their own social safety valve in addressing the poverty of their own citizens and a source for revenues that are sent to family members in Mexico. This is the international context of the issue. It extends beyond the impact of NAFTA and the maquiladoras. Those fleeing poverty and oppression in Mexico are not to blame for their willingness to risk their safety for a brighter future in America. But we cannot absorb the profound impacts based on existing policies or continued massive influxes of people.

The Arizona law is indeed bad law and will not contribute to the real tasks ahead. A real discussion needs to be based on what is not working and why, as well as how can we begin to provide workable solutions. Polarization of ethnic communities is sharpening and the Arizona law has increased it. It is worth our while to seek the foundations of the conflict, grasp how to increase our abilities to recognize the social conflicts that have arisen and provide some real assurances that public officials are beginning to address real concerns of people on all sides of the issues. Repealing the Arizona law would be the first step in recognizing the dramatic impact of it on perceptions among Hispanics in America.

The recent passage of a ban on ethnic studies curricula in Arizona will not solve the problems of high dropout rates in Arizona and California. It will not address the lack of achievement of students in the United States. It might be worth mentioning the failure of public education in both Arizona and California. This new law against Chicano studies will not decrease drop-outs, or improve the skills of non-English speaking students or provide technological education for the future economy. Priorities need to be made. This is not an instance of funding priorities, and for that reason and others I would not support this law. It is solely intended to polarize Arizona's people.

The fundamental issue remains the failure of American public education and the failures of American students to achieve up to grade level. It is curious though when this bill becomes such a focus of the media when compared to Prop 100 in Arizona which seeks to protect funding for public schools. The resulting boycotts from California cities is increasing the volatility of the issue. I guess if you can't do anything about improving public education, it is more effective for politicians to posture and point their fingers of disdain at the "bad dogs" in other states.

Our infrastructure in California is becoming critically overburdened. California public officials would do better to address our significant needs in education and address the budget and public infrastructure issues with a real sense of priorities for Californians.

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