I cannot imagine having to carry my passport wherever I go— even if it’s to the corner store— for fear of being arrested.
However, the new law in Arizona, SB1070, would allow law enforcement officials to arrest anyone they suspect of being in America illegally. So, if I forget my green card, my American passport or my visa at home, police can take me to jail. This law will surely lead to racial profiling, obliterating decades of civil rights victories. In the meantime, Governor Jan Brewer just signed another bill, which kills ethnic studies, bans “ethnic solidarity” while comparing it to treason, and acts to fire English teachers with foreign accents.
One of my dearest friends lives in Tucson. Her American husband does not allow her to go out without her green card; she is a Mexican. This law will put the fate of legal immigrants, like my friend, in the hands of police officers, some of whom may be racist.
This law, in addition to being racist, might also hurt the state’s economy. Mexicans often come to Arizona to shop. Rich Mexicans buy houses so they have a place to stay while they’re on business or out shopping. Surely tourism will decrease.
While this racist law stands, I will never take a flight that makes a stop in Phoenix or Tucson. I will never stay in hotel in Nogales, Arizona, as I drive from Sacramento to Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico to see my family. My money will not feed their gas stations, restaurants, hotels, taxis and parking lots. I don’t want my tax dollars to support a state that chooses such a cruel and punitive method to solve a complex problem.
Alone, my impact will be small, but if everybody does what they can to reject Arizona’s law, we can give Arizona a lesson.
Editor: María Ginsbourg
Araceli Martínez Ortega is a Mexican journalist who has lived in California in the last nine years. This collaboration is about her personal journey through Las Americas and wherever she goes.