That’s Your Birth Certificate? I Don’t Believe You.


I was talking to a Republican friend of mine a few weeks ago. Roughly a week had passed since the Arizona immigration law had become legislation and we were vigorously debating it. I was irate and told him that the law was unjust and chauvinistic. He couldn’t seem to understand what my problem with the law was. He was so intent on its “effectiveness” and how rational he thought it was; “If you’re an American citizen and can prove it– you’re fine!”

A few days ago, in Northern Illinois, a man named Eduardo Caraballo was taken into police custody after he was suspected of being involved in a robbery. When his mother came to bail him out, the cops wouldn’t let him go. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody on the hunch that he wasn’t a legal citizen.

Caraballo was born in Puerto Rico– a commonwealth of the United States– and maintains US citizenship. He supplied the feds with his birth certificate, ID, and social security number, but they kept him in custody over the weekend. They weren’t sure the he was a citizen. Apparently, there wasn’t enough evidence.

Maybe it was human nature, or maybe it was just an excuse; but, if for no other reason, this is why Arizona’s immigration “reform” is nefarious and highly unethical. It doesn’t work. Its motives are skewed and it empowers people to debilitate those who share their rights and privileges.

Arizona SB 1070 law is deeply rooted in conservative acrimony towards all things different and embodies a type of xenophobia that the world hoped to have done away with more than half a century ago.

It doesn’t work.

(Ed. note: He’s Puerto Rican-American, and they were going to deport him to MEXICO!)

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4 thoughts on “That’s Your Birth Certificate? I Don’t Believe You.

  1. Ami,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter and specifically for the Caraballo story. Unfortunately, I have heard stories similar to his, and it seems that this new law in Arizona will certainly encourage such horrid behavior. The other day I was discussing the issue with a politically conservative friend of mine, who basically said: “Arizona is merely enforcing the federal law.” I have my own thoughts on this statement, but I am curious what yours are! Let me know.

  2. Tova:

    I would direct your friend to this link: https://legislativewordplay.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/5-reasons/

    Your friend’s statement is negligent and ignorant for a couple of reasons. The federal gov’t upholds the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws racial discrimination (oh, and also the constitution). If the US were to uphold a law that directly encouraged racial profiling and unconstitutionality, it would be hypocritical.

    But let’s say the federal gov’t did uphold a similar law to Arizona’s. Cool. But it’s still not okay– two wrongs don’t make a right. If that’s the case, then the US is making the same mistakes as Arizona. The government’s upholding of a law like this would not substantiate the Arizona law.

    If you support this law, in any form, you are a direct proponent of racial profiling.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Great post. Sadly, Arizona’s law seems to be widely supported in America, and similar laws may be the future of American policy. Today, the New York Times reported that about half of all Hispanics registered to vote may not be showing up at the polls in the midterms. That does not bode well for a compassionate/rational immigration policy in this country.

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