No Reprieve in Arizona

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryIn an act of defiance that borders on virtually declaring Arizona independent of the United States, Governor Teresa Brewer stated that no “illegals” shall receive state driver’s licenses and any other state benefits. One of the benefits these undocumented children would have received under U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive order for deferred status for those undocumented children brought by their parents was the ability to apply for driver’s licenses in the states they reside and state identification cards. Well, Brewer is making sure that none of the undocumented kids will receive any driver’s licenses and or any other benefits. To go further, Brewer is going to withdraw Arizona from the REAL ID Act of 2005—not because of its mandatory requirement that all states conform to federal identification standards but because undocumented children could get Arizona driver’s and state identification licenses.

In other words, 80,000 undocumented kids in Arizona have once again been dispossessed of their basic civil and human rights. The Arizona state legislators and governor have spent so much time, energy and money trying to keep their Latino population down that all of this money would have been better spent trying to improve economic and job conditions in the state. These undocumented kids never asked to come to the United States, never asked if they wanted to stay, and never asked to be in the legal limbo they are in now. Of course, to the neo-nazi politicians in Arizona it does not matter. They are trying to do their best to “expel” or “cleanse” Arizona. And these extremist politicians will even defy federal law and any sense of common decency coming from the federal government (which is rare in this day of age) to do so. Mind you, obtaining driver’s licenses is one of the basics for these kids because as they mature into young adults they will need to hit the roads in order to go on to college, do work or do military service if they so choose. Without a driver’s license, most will be unable to go from point “A” to point “B”. But then, that is the whole point of what Governor Brewer wants.

Governor Brewer and the neo-nazi politicians in Arizona are banking on the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney winning the November election. Romney stated that he fully supports what the politicians in Arizona are doing, and he clearly will not only support them as president but also rewrite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down most of Arizona’s state immigration law. The only reason (maybe?) that Obama is not doing anything else against Arizona is that he might create sympathy for these same extremist politicians in other states. Many of the other states dominated by Republicans want to dump certain provisions of the REAL ID Act to attack and expel the undocumented. In an election year, Obama’s chances of winning now could be jeopardized by striking at his political enemies. With the rise of extremist political right wing, a bad economy and a state acting like a virtual sovereign nation, we are truly living in bad and troubled times.

Postscript: Since I wrote this, Nebraska has joined Arizona in wanting to withdraw from the REAL ID Act to make sure undocumented young people in that state do not obtain driver’s licenses or any other benefits.

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