An Arizona Democrat’s Attempt to Help Immigrants Backfires


State senator Martin Quezada (Arizona)

State senator Martin Quezada (Arizona)

Arizona is at it again. The Trump phenomenon is emboldening racist legislators to propose the types of bills we haven’t seen in five years. Bills like the ones that got SB1070’s sponsor Russell Pearce recalled from office are now being introduced by his then-cronies John Kavanagh and Steve Smith, now that they see the opportunity to be the lead actors in the state’s war of attrition against Brown people.

If passed, they would make life for immigrants and Brown people in Arizona even worse than it already is. They would create two separate criminal justice systems: one for the documented and one for the none. They would deny undocumented people any right to probation, alternatives to incarceration, or shortened sentences and make it to where undocumented people must serve the lengthiest sentence for any conviction. They would impose the restrictive standards the state has created to prevent cities from implementing proactive solutions like Phoenix’s new municipal ID programs.

In the context of the SB1070 forces re-emerging, you would expect friends to immigrants and Latinos in the state legislature to be standing up to these proposals, developing parliamentary moves to see them stalled or stopped, and countering with positive bills that outline what real solutions look like.

But in 2016 our “friends” have not learned how to be helpful and on the contrary continue to propose things that hurt more.

Martin Quezada, a Latino Democrat state senator, is actually introducing a tough-on-crime bill that broadens penalties and gives law enforcers like Arpaio and the prosecutors who work with him new tools to punish our community. The bill goes against the national bipartisan trend to redefine justice and reduce mass incarceration that’s been spurred on by the Black Lives Matter Movement. And in Arizona, it goes against common sense.

SB1271 doesn’t create new laws that address new problems. It simply adds harsher sentences to existing laws and puts the discretion of enforcing them directly into the hands of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others like him, instead of the state’s Attorney General. We’ve seen this approach before. Kyrsten Sinema, previous Arizona state senator, introduced a well-intentioned anti-smuggling law. But in our state, what’s intended to help gets used to hurt as quickly as the ink can dry on the governor’s desk Instead of preventing the terrible practice of smuggling, Arpaio used the bill as a pretext and extra punishment, charging undocumented people with conspiracy to smuggle themselves.

Quezada’s proposal is probably intended to be helpful. It aims to address fraud by Notarios (Public Notaries) who prey on immigrant communities with false promises and fake legal services. In general, notaries and non-lawyer immigration services have grown out of need from a community that is under attack and confronted by extremely expensive immigration attorneys. Like any industry, there are people whose motive is to take advantage. But for every unscrupulous notary, there are probably one hundred neighbors helping neighbors and community organizations filling the gap with informative workshops and volunteer assistance.

The problem does deserve attention and we must all work to make sure our community is not made victim to fraud. But the steeper sentences and more policing in SB1271 is not the way to do that. At a time when Kavanagh and Smith are presenting an onslaught of legislation against our community, it should be withdrawn, not piled on. As written, an attempt to protect our community will only result in exposing us to the very predatory forces that have engaged in a shameless assault against us.

The current Maricopa County attorney has supported Arpaio in raiding our families and has a long legacy of anti-immigrant policies. If passed, it is the Sheriff himself and the Maricopa County attorney Bill Montgomery would be handed new toys to go after our community. Whether it’s because his attorney friends are trying to protect professional territory, or because he wants tough-on-crime credentials, or even if Quezada genuinely is trying to help vulnerable people, this policy is misguided and feeds right into the anti-immigrant rage that is attempting to get rid of us.

When we’re so often told that the remedy to political attacks like what we’re seeing from the SB1070 forces is to elect Latinos and Democrats to office, Quezada’s example is calling that into question. We need friends and champions in office to stand up to the Arpaios of our state, not give them more power.


Carlos García is the executive director of Puente Arizona.

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rikimaru says:

The Talmud must not be regarded as an ordinary work, composed of twelve volumes; it posies absolutely no similarity to any other literary production, but forms, without any figure of speech, a world of its own, which must be judged by its peculiar laws.
The Talmud contains much that is frivolous of which it treats with great gravity and seriousness; it further reflects the various superstitious practices and views of its Persian (Babylonian) birthplace which presume the efficacy of demonical medicines, or magic, incantations, miraculous cures, and interpretations of dreams. It also contains isolated instances of uncharitable “ judgments and decrees against the members of other nations and religions, and finally it favors an incorrect exposition of the scriptures, accepting, as it does, tasteless misrepresentations.

The Babylonian” Talmud is especially distinguished from the Jerusalem or Palestine Talmud by the flights of thought, the penetration of mind, the flashes of genius, which rise and vanish again. It was for this reason that the Babylonian rather than the Jerusalem Talmud became the fundamental possession of the Jewish Race, its life breath, its very soul, nature and mankind, powers and events, were for the Jewish nation insignificant, non- essential, a mere phantom; the only true reality was the Talmud.” (Professor H. Graetz, History of the Jews).
And finally it came Spain’s turn. Persecution had occurred there on “ and off for over a century, and, after 1391, became almost incessant. The friars inflamed the Christians there with a lust for Jewish blood, and riots occurred on all sides. For the Jews it was simply a choice between baptism and death, and many of them submitted to baptism.
But almost always conversion on thee terms was only outward and false. Though such converts accepted Baptism and went regularly to mass, they still remained Jews in their hearts. They were called Marrano, ‘ Accursed Ones,’ and there were perhaps a hundred thousand of them. Often they possessed enormous wealth. Their daughters married into the noblest families, even into the blood royal, and their sons sometimes entered the Church and rose to the highest offices. It is said that even one of the popes was of this Marrano stock.