For many of my FSPA readers it’s Chapter of Chats week! I’ll see some of you very soon.
Check out another great resource from Voces on the copy cat bill introduced by Rep. Pridemore – do not miss the link at the end that lets you sign a petition to let Rep.Pridemore know WI will not become another AZ!
1. Immigrants Deserve Our Respect, Not Our Disdain
Contrary to conservative talking points, the majority of immigrants are not criminals or welfare parasites, but rather hard-working folks who simply want to earn a living. In fact, Harvard professor Robert Sampson has found that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than other people. Undocumented immigrants also contribute more to state and local economies in taxes than they absorb in social services, including billions paid to Social Security.
2. Arizona-Style Laws Are Expensive
Since it passed SB 1070, the state of Arizona has spent over $1 million on legal defense and has paid out hundreds of thousands more to public relations firms to restore the state’s image. The Wisconsin bill’s opponents have already promised a public campaign and legal action against the bill.
3. Civil Rights Violations Will Skyrocket
Pridemore’s proposed law would require police to check the immigration status of anyone who is arrested, not just those convicted of crimes. Giving local law enforcement officials the power to threaten any undocumented immigrant they encounter with deportation is dangerous — that kind of unchecked power permits officers to threaten, coerce or manipulate any undocumented person at will. Communities across Wisconsin will surely see a disturbing uptick in civil rights violations.
4. Policing Will Suffer
Local law enforcement, already strapped for cash by the recession, will have to spend precious staff time and resources to check the immigration status of every “suspected” undocumented immigrant. That’s why Arizona law enforcement was against SB 1070. It’s also why Milwaukee Police don’t ask suspects about their immigration status — it’s a waste of time for immigration authorities. “Do you really think they’re going to come at 2 o’clock in the morning in District 7 to pick up a bricklayer who just got caught without a driver’s license and is here illegally?” says Milwaukee’s police chief.
5. Immigrants Will Be Less Likely to Report Crimes
Immigrants that are scared of being deported are less likely to tell police when they witness or are victims of crimes. Pridemore’s proposed law would reduce reporting by victims of domestic violence, theft or violent assaults.
6. Families Will Be Needlessly Divided
Under this policy, a law-abiding undocumented mother or father of citizen children could be pulled over for a broken tail-light, booked, then permanently deported within days, leaving responsibility of the children to local social service agencies. It just doesn’t make sense — the state loses a hard-working taxpayer, and children lose their parents.
7. Many Citizens Can’t Prove Their Legal Status
Thirteen million people — seven percent of the U.S. population and primarily poor women — don’t currently have documents that prove they are citizens, says a study by New York University. Even more worrying are mistaken deportations like that of Mark Lyttle, a mentally ill U.S. citizen who was recently deported to Mexico.
8. Private Prisons Will Benefit, Not the Public
Private prisons stand to gain millions from laws that criminalize immigrants and cause incarceration to rise. Investigators recently uncovered that ALEC, a membership organization of state legislators and corporations, including private prison companies, played a major role in the drafting of Arizona’s SB 1070 law. Wisconsin’s new governor-elect, Scott Walker, was a member of ALEC and has supported the private prison corporate agenda for years.
9. Wisconsin Has Bigger Concerns
Like the rest of the nation, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high while local and state governments, schools and social services are facing crushing cutbacks. Wisconsin has more to worry about than immigrants who haven’t caused social or economic problems in the state.
10. No One Says Immigrants Are Bad for Wisconsin
In his announcement, Rep. Pridemore made a clumsy link between Wisconsin immigrants and “the illegal drug trade” and a host of other generic social problems. The fact is, no one has provided proof or even claimed that immigrants are to blame for any of the state’s problems. Rather than sparking a foolhardy and costly campaign to bring Arizona’s discredited law to Wisconsin, Pridemore should tackle issues that really matter to Wisconsinites.
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