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Juan Crow

I came home last night and my (lily white) boyfriend nervously said, "Sweetheart, you know that I don't find ANYTHING about this law remotely funny. It's horrible, terrible, awful, and you know I wholeheartedly think that."



"Juan Crow? Hahahahahahaha"

"It is sort of funny?"

"Hysterical. I can't wait to tell my dad."

"Be sure to mention the 'Graham doesn't think the law is funny at all' part first."

We're probably driving to Burning Man this year. We'll go to New Mexico, then hook a right and head into Colorado, then Utah, then Nevada. I'm not stepping foot in the state of Arizona so long as this law is in effect.

The thing that pisses me off the most about Arizona's attitude (and there are a LOT of things that piss me off about it) is the stupid "you don't live in a border state, you don't understand" bullshit. I DO live in a border state. Been here all my life. And the only time I haven't lived in this border state is when I've lived in another border state. I know. I know what it's like having a very mixed population. I know what it's like to live in a diverse culture. I know what it's like to live somewhere forever and have the demographics change all around you.



( 14 comments — Say something )
Apr. 28th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
>"Be sure to mention the 'Graham doesn't think the law is funny at all' part first."

That's adorable.
Apr. 28th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
do you mind if i link to this?
Apr. 28th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Not at all!
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
Other side?
I just saw this post... 5 minutes after posting this on Facebook about the issue:
"while i think the concerns of racial profiling are probably valid and that makes me uncomfortable... i think something definitely needs to be done about the immigration issue. we live in a safe haven city... which is fine and good until you have an illegal immigrant destroy your car and drive off. a damaged car and a big insurance bill tend to illuminate the other side of the argument."

I respect you so much, Miss Christina, and the reasons for which people are rallying behind Arizona are nauseating to say the least. But having been on the other side of this coin has made me ambivalent. Do you feel there is a need for reform? If so, what kind?
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Other side?
This is what I think.

I think we live in a world that is happy to have inexpensive construction, food production (from picking food in the fields to working livestock to line cooks and dishwashers and bus boys in restaurants), sanitation, child care, domestic help, landscaping, and other cheap labor costs. We gladly pay $1 for a tomato that would cost $4 if picked by someone with better documentation. We are happy to hire lawn services instead of cutting our own grass because the labor is so cheap. We don't even notice the guy filling our water glasses at even the lowest end restaurants or listen to the barrage of Spanish in the kitchens of the highest end. Our construction boom that was our financial undoing was partly on the backs of cheap labor found in the lots of Home Depots and Walmarts around the country. At any rate, I think that we gladly take the benefits of illegal immigration (low costs) and in some ways encourage illegal immigration, but we squash the immigrants who come over at our encouragement when labor markets get tight, when we have other problems and need a scapegoat, and when we are feeling that our country has "changed" somehow. This is a population that has no rights, no recourse, and is easy to marginalize.

I think that millions of illegal immigrants have established homes here. Many have no idea of their native country because they were brought here at such a young age without having made the choice themselves. Many have spouses and children who are US citizens, and to send them "home" would be to destroy and separate families. I think illegal immigrants generally pay taxes (sales tax, rent that goes to property tax, sometimes federal income tax and social security taxes which they'll never get back when they "retire" because they're off the grid). And I think, knowing the consequences of what would happen if they were to be caught committing a crime, most illegal immigrants keep out of trouble and stay clear of doing anything that would draw the attention of the authorities.

Apr. 28th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Other side?
(I had to do two posts because I went beyond my word limit)

This is not to say that I don't think that there isn't a desperate need for comprehensive immigration reform. Pretty much the ONLY thing I supported of the Bush presidency without reservation was the reform package that was introduced in 2007. I think George Bush, also coming from a border state, uncharactaristically understood the complexities of this particular issue and crafted legislation that finely drew the lines appropriately. This bill acknowledged the positive contribution of the shadow workforce to our society without giving a free pass to those who came to this country without proper documentation. It beefed up border security considerably in a smarter way than that stupid, asinine wall down in South Texas does. I think that it was a good start, and I hope that the Obama administration picks up where it was left off.

I think that people are scared of the changing demographics in this country. I think people don't like what they don't understand, and having a Hispanic population that has grown to 36 percent (Texas), 30 percent (Arizona), 37 percent (California), and 45 percent (New Mexico) in the five border states scares a lot of people. Spanish can sometimes be the dominant language in communities now (and remember that the New Mexico constitution was written in English and Spanish). I know that the small town near the ranch has changed dramatically in the 30+ years that I've been goint there. The restaurants used to be burger joints and steak places. Now they're taco stands. The cashiers at WalMart have dark complexions and black hair. They're not the German descended good ol' boys anymore. I think that scares people, and I think that they lash out.

But I don't think that Arizona's horrific reaction is the right one. 30 percent of its population is Hispanic. Nearly a third of the people who live there now have to be afraid of their police officers for no other reason than they might "look" illegal. I think that Arizona was a fast growing state that profited greatly from the cheap labor that immigrant communities provide, and with all of the people who moved there, came a lot of intolerance to those of us born with latin skin tones and last names that sometimes need accents.

I wholeheartedly endorse comprehensive immigration reform. Arizona's law in no way addresses the issue. It just serves to scare and intimidate a third of its population.

FWIW, Claudia was hit by someone who was drunk and then drove off. She never had the opportunity to check the immigration status of the driver, but presumably the (Anglo) person drove off to avoid a DUI charge instead of an immigration check. She also faced a damaged car and big insurance bill.
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: Other side?
So, I agree with you on most points. The one point where my opinion varies is the car wreck issue. In my case, after being hit, I chased the car down, and once I caught up, parked in such a way to block in the driver who hit me. I was furious and got out of the car to give him a piece of my mind... which, of course, he didn't understand. I called the police and 30 minutes later, the first officer showed up. She didn't speak Spanish, so we waited another 20 minutes for a second officer who did. These police were not impolite and treated Mr. hit-and-run just like anyone else. As it turns out, he had no driver's license, no registration, no insurance, nada. And he was driving a car at least as nice as, or nicer than mine. The police issued him a ticket for the original wreck and for the lack of license and insurance... but couldn't ticket him for the hit-and-run since I caught up with him. (True irony.)

Of course, I was still mad as hell. And madder when the police officers and I watched him get in his car and drive away. I asked them why they didn't address the fact he was clearly here illegally, and their response was, "Thank your Mayor for that. We can't even ask him if he's illegal."

Only because I had the stupidity to chase him down and the patience to wait for a police report was I able to pay a lower deductible for the damage. Otherwise, I would have been screwed. I followed up and went to court and absolutely nothing came of it. He never paid the fines, never reimbursed my insurance company for the damages, and never paid any consequences. He just disappeared. When I related the story to my friends, one out of every four had something similar happen to them or someone very close to them.

Now... take your sister's example. Were the police to arrive at the scene,
the driver wouldn't be getting back in that car. They'd be carted away to jail; the car would be impounded; and they'd be paying legal fees until the end of time. Now, I understand these are two very different offenses. However, these are our laws... and I can't help but think there's something wrong with some people being exempt from them.
Apr. 29th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Other side?
Wow. That's gutsy. I would have been terrified to chase a car down after having been hit. But would the cops have done any differently than they did had the person been here legally or been a citizen? It's not their role to enforce immigration laws, and plenty of regular people skip out on fines and payments. I know one person who recently paid inquired into his own record and discovered 8 unpaid violations from as far away as 8 years ago totaling up to $1200. He was born in the US, and actually has a very unpleasant view on immigration. If he ever were to get stopped again by the cops, he'd be hauled in on a arrest warrant. I suspect your guy would be too.

Again, I think that most immigrants tend to be hypber law abiding for fear of deportation, but there are of course bad apples in every group of people.

Edited at 2010-04-29 05:31 pm (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, I had heard nothing of this. Wonder if I could go to Arizona and try to get arrested? But somehow I fear they wouldn't look twice at (lily-white, blonde, blue-eyed) me.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that Graham said that first, because I am also soooo damn white, and am beyond disgusted by that law, yet Juan Crow made me giggle.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 29th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
That is gross on so many different levels.
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Totally unrelated
I understand Graham's dilemma - long, typical story about growing up somewhere else - but some shit's just funny, even if you don't feel totally comfortable getting the joke.

But you gotta check this out about extra-cold water prior to exercise in the heat:

Apr. 29th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally unrelated
Interesting. I'll have to try something like that when I start working out in the heat.
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
I heard on the radio this morning that there is talk about trying to adopt some similar law here in TX. I really hope not. TX doesn't need to provide anymore ammo for people to bash the state.
( 14 comments — Say something )


'stina is, surprisingly enough, a lawyer from Houston, Texas who rambles about quite a number of things.

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