According to Alonzo's research, things were even worse in the East. "The following year, in North Carolina," she wrote, "farm officials set up a statewide hotline to fill crop and livestock jobs. Two calls were received."

Things have only gotten worse with anti-immigrant legislation.

In 2007 more than 90,000 migrants fled Oklahoma, causing a loss of $1.9 billion to the state's economy. Since passage of S.B. 1070, Arizona has shed 200,000 migrants, who fled to friendlier states.

Agriculture is the largest sector in Georgia's economy, yet lawmakers passed stiff anti-immigrant legislation projected to cost the state $391 million in lost crops. The governor suggested that farmers hire ex-cons to work the fields. The ex-cons refused. More than 70 percent of Georgia's restaurants had labor shortages and lost, on average, $21,000 per eating establishment.

Last year Alabama one-upped Arizona and passed a tougher, meaner anti-immigrant measure.

Research at the University of Alabama said the state could lose up to $10.8 billion and 140,000 jobs.

The governor demanded that the statehouse reconsider. Alabama legislators responded by making the law tougher.


Why, in the middle of a recession, would statehouses vote to cripple their economies by driving Mexicans to flee?

Why, with President Obama deporting more Latinos than at any time in the nation's history, would legislators demand local cops inspect citizenship papers?

The inescapable answer: race.

The guiding proponent of these statutes is Kris W. Kobach, who helped author S.B. 1070.

At the time, Kobach was senior counsel to the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

In 1986, John Tanton, FAIR's founder, wrote: "As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"

Not surprisingly, the Southern Poverty Law Center called FAIR a racially driven organization.

Alabama's copycat legislation was penned by state Sen. Scott Beason, who has called blacks "aborigines" and declared that when it came to immigration, folks ought to "empty the clip."

In Arizona the bill drafted by Kobach was sponsored by then-state Sen. Russell Pearce.

In 2006 Pearce forwarded to his followers a screed he'd read entitled, "Who Rules America." The essay took exception to race-mixing and a "world in which every voice proclaims the equality of races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish 'Holocaust' tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of non-White aliens pouring across our borders."

The essay, which originated from a neo-Nazi newsletter, went on to ask: "And who are these all-powerful masters of the media?"

The answer was obvious: "As we shall see, to a very large extent they are Jews."

Eerily, the message Pearce forwarded to political supporters in 2006 foreshadowed coming bloodshed.

"On the other hand, a White racist — that is, any racially conscious White person who looks askance at miscegenation or at the rapidly darkening racial situation in America — is portrayed, at best, as a despicable bigot who is reviled by the other characters, or, at worst, as a dangerous psychopath who is fascinated by firearms and is a menace to all law abiding citizens," read Pearce's send-along.

Last month in Gilbert, Ariz., Pearce acolyte J.T. Ready slaughtered his girlfriend, her daughter and her boyfriend, and a 16-month-old infant, before turning the gun on himself.

Ready was a neo-Nazi who had been photographed at white supremacist rallies in full National Socialist regalia. Following the passage of S.B. 1070, Ready formed an armed militia that hunted Mexicans in southern Arizona.

After the multiple homicides, Pearce tried to distance himself from Ready. This sleight of hand was complicated for Pearce: He'd endorsed Ready's failed run for the Mesa City Council, and, in fact, had ordained Ready into the priesthood of the Mormon faith and attended his baptism.

These, then, are the miscreants who have stirred this nation's darkest prejudices.

None of this was grist in the Supreme Court. The Obama administration opted to argue only the narrowest of issues: state immigration laws trampled federal domain. With an election looming, the president chose not to confront nativist anxiety.

Latino groups and civil rights organizations have filed lawsuits that challenge what Obama ducked. These suits recount what happens on American streets when brown people are detained, when Mexicans and Central Americans are crowded into detention centers, when families are ripped apart.

When law enforcement cordons off brown communities, the law, as applied, is apartheid.

Perhaps you can understand, after a wave of hateful legislation and a galling discussion by justices and attorneys in the country's highest court, that there are those not content with jurisprudence.

You see, all this legal eloquence comes after generations of families picked crops on their way to citizenship, only to encounter lawyers and lawmakers who are worse than any field boss.

Monica Alonzo's father crossed the border from Mexico. His family worked in the cotton fields. They earned less, picked more, and kept their mouths shut. Kids in school were slapped if they were overheard speaking Spanish.

"They mistreated the Mexicans the worst in El Mirage," says Alonzo. "Mexicans went straight to jail or were roughed up for minor offenses.

"They were made to feel like worthless people," she continues. "Many Mexicans instilled in their children the importance of speaking only English. Not in my house. For my father, the treatment created a lot of resentment towards whites. We weren't allowed to speak English at home for some time. We would get in trouble if he knew we were mixing with the Anglos."

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9 comments
Mamerer
Mamerer

Hold employers accountable for proper identification, because they are the only ones benefiting from this situation. No punishment for those without proper ID, just no jobs. The same way it is for my son who wants to live and work in France, he put his name on a list and now he waits, like everyone else.

TXinSF
TXinSF

Why not go after the employers, especially since the majority of "Mexicans" in America are American citizens? If the loss of employment for American citizens is the most important issue, then any rational policy dealing with illegal immigration must start with employers who provide the illegal employment, and thus, the very basis for remaining here illegally. Persecuting the easily persecuted is the hallmark of authoritarianism and sadism, and in the case of these laws targeting people of color, naturally follows from racism.

Dferr
Dferr

Right, so who criminalized the Europeans? Native Americans live in the American CONTINENT. There is a difference of culture where one believes in no man having ownership over the land, while the other believes stealing and claiming land from others is a valid excuse to displace "the visitor". The extent to which North American Europeans have rationalized their ownership in America is a dishonest load of BS.

David Macias
David Macias

"President Obama has deported 1.5 million Latinos, more than any president. Such a massive displacement of humanity does not come without brutality."

"Arf!" Lemming
"Arf!" Lemming

"Then where will they go for a better life?" It won't be Canada , that's for certain... Stephen Harper's government has seen what's happening to USA and the border agents are turning away Americans from a week or 2 visit , 'if' they appear to have too much luggage , etc... This (Mexican invasion) is purely an American phenomenon...

Essem
Essem

What a moronic reply. Are you capable of any kind of logic at all? Real simple. If I enter your house without your permission and hide out in your basement, I am uninvited, undocumented and illegal. If you enter someone else's country without permission, you are there ILLEGALLY.

Essem
Essem

"What S.B. 1070 does is criminalize the undocumented." Yeah, and if someone is in my house without my permission, calling 911 criminalizes the "visitor"... What a dishonest load of BS.

 
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