This I Believe (essay on SB 1070)
By Eric Hernadez
Arizona’s SB 1070 states that police officers can question any person, who looks “suspicious”, as stated by Arizona officials, of their immigration status, take them into custody and deport them. It also prohibits people of “undocumented status” from being able to apply for work.
This law does not affect me directly, but the venom that it evokes against one group of people is horrifying. Undocumented immigrants, just as much as anyone in this country, want to make something of their lives and desire to prosper. They are no different from any regular citizen, in fact some know more about America’s economy than even natural born citizens. They simply lack the proper documentation and are often afraid of seeking help for fear of being deported. I have seen this go on personally.
In a predominantly undocumented neighborhood in Rogers, there is an outrageously high rate of crime and most of the residents are afraid to seek out police officials because they are afraid of being deported and separated from their families. Two years ago, my uncle was deported when his friend was giving him a ride to work. My uncle was not the man driving, yet still he was deported simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His five children live with the sentiment that whatever they had last said to their father may very likely be the last impression that they were able to leave on him.
When SB 1070 announcement came, I feared for the security of my nation. Just as Martin Luther King fought for the rights of African Americans, I feel that Hispanics need a leader of that magnitude so that they can finally realize that not only do they exist, they matter. They are not just another “immigrant”; they are people not much different than any of us. I believe that everyone has an equal opportunity to make something of his or her life. No one should be forced to live in fear and I know for sure that I will not lie down while someone gets to dictate what I am to do with my life. I alone am the master of my fate, and I feel that everyone deserves that right. Just like “the man” fought hard to get into his position, every person has to do everything that he or she can to climb the arduous climb to the top of the world.
Arizona’s immigration law stepped over the barrier from national security to prejudice. In this great country of America, “equality” has become skewed and disturbing. There is no country in the world that can possibly boast the different cultures and ethnicities all within the same boundaries, yet still states continue to attempt to destroy the fabric of our American Culture. American culture is no longer white or African American or Latino, but a mix of all of these. We all have come together to form a community together. The definition of a community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. Some history is shared specifically within races or ethnicities, but in the end we all come together as one nation, as one America. No matter the color or race, everyone must share because in the end we all inhabit the same area which means that anything we do to each other comes directly back to us with effects as well. Every American is entitled “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That should not depend on skin color or background because in the end, we are all Americans. We must all rise up and tear down the barriers between ethnicity because as long as we are a nation divided, we are just as easily a nation defeated.