April 23, Both a Joyous and Tragic Day for US Immigration

April 23, 2010 would be marked as both a joyous and tragic day for US immigration. In Washington, DC, President Barack Obama presided on a happy occasion honoring immigrant service members of the US armed forces as they became US citizens. In Phoenix, Arizona, Gov. Janet Brewer signed the most draconian immigration law that the country has ever seen.

In the East Coast, US President Barack Obama joined 24 US service members and administered their US citizenship at the White House.  This joyous ceremony recognized the contributions made by immigrant members of the U.S. armed forces who have earned their American citizenship through service to our country, and the contributions immigrants from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history.

“These men and women were born in 16 different countries, but they came to the United States sharing a common purpose, and chose to defend their adopted country even before they became citizens,” The White House reported.  Four of these service members honored are Filipinos.

At the same time in the West Coast, Arizona Governor Janet Brewer signed the most draconian immigration law the country has ever seen which will have tragic consequences for many immigrants, legal and illegal.  Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said the authorities’ ability to demand documents was like “Nazism.”, the New York Times reported.

Protest photo in Arizona

Woman protesting draconian immigration law enacted in Arizona (photo courtesy of the New York Times)

This law would allow detaining people when the Arizona local authorities reasonably suspect they are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.

This marks a sad and tragic turning point in US immigration laws. I fear the day that I have to carry an ID every time I go out and prove my citizenship or else I’ll be detained in jail.

About daleasis

President of the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide
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