Posts Tagged ‘race’

What a White Majority Minority might look like in 2044


Since the first settlers came to America the country has been a predominantly white nation. The country stayed largely white (90% of the population) until the 1950s. Since then the percentage of the population that is white has been declining. It is currently 61 % of the entire U.S. population. A white majority minority in America isn’t expected until 2044 (25 years from now). What are the population projections for 2044?

“Census data projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the U.S. population will become “majority minority” in 2044. At that time, whites will make up 49.7 percent of the population compared with 25 percent for Hispanics, 12.7 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians and 3.7 for percent multiracial persons. This tipping point will result from two countervailing trends that are projected to continue between now and 2060:

  • A long term decline for the nation’s white population. The white population is projected to increase modestly until 2025 when it reaches 199,867,000; after that, it will sustain a continued decrease until 2060 when whites will make up only 44 percent of the population. Natural decrease, the excess of deaths over births, for this aging population will be the primary component of this decline.
  • A growth of new minorities—Asians, Hispanics and multiracial persons. Between 2014 and 2060 both the Asian and Hispanic populations will more than double at growth rates of 129 percent and 115 percent respectively. Multiracial persons will more than triple, growing at nearly 220 percent. These new projections assume a greater gain for Asians than in previous projections but reduced gains for Hispanics. The former reflects rising Asian immigration and the latter a drop-off in Hispanic fertility.

In addition to the emergence of a majority minority nation, continued racial disparity across generations will occur because of the exit of whites from the younger ages as both old and new minorities take up the slack. Between 2014 and 2060 the minority share of the youth population will rise from 48 percent to 64 percent. While the senior population will also become more diverse, in 2060 whites will still comprise a majority of the age 65 and older population at 55 percent.”

These are the facts as based on projections. Now, we must ask ourselves another important question: What does it all mean and what will be the social effects of such changes? This is a complex question but I have a few ideas.

How has such Population Projections Affected American Culture?

Many people in America today seem to feel exacerbated, frustrated (and exhausted) over the fact our country is so politically divided. Unfortunately, race seems to be the hidden bogyman in the room.

Race should be a non-issue in an educated and democratic country. But lack of education in some quarters, along with a moderately sized group (guess who I’m referring to folks) who only reticently give lip service to democratic institutions, has kept race alive as an issue of some concern.

A predicated notion of race should really be based on knowledge and awareness that most of us really have more in common with each other, rather than differences. At an individualistic level, it is both our similarities and differences that make humans so unique.

Socially dividing people today by skin color is a mindless activity that has little meaning when looking back as to where we all originated.

All of us have an identical origin. We are all Afrikaners. Most of our ancestors in the distant past were migrants who left Africa between 180,000-200,000 years ago. Those who stayed in Africa formed what are the African nations today. Not only are we all brothers and sisters under the sun, but we all have the same mitochondrial DNA from one black maternal grandmother living in Africa prior to the mass migrations that occurred so long ago.

In human genetics, the Mitochondrial Eve (also mt-Eve, mt-MRCA) is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all currently living humans, i.e., the most recent woman from whom all living humans descend in an unbroken line purely through their mothers, and through the mothers of those mothers, back until all lines converge on one woman.

In an article (New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color) by Ann Gibbons dated October 12, 2017, she reports:

“Most people associate Africans with dark skin. But different groups of people in Africa have almost every skin color on the planet, from deepest black in the Dinka of South Sudan to beige in the San of South Africa. Now, researchers have discovered a handful of new gene variants responsible for this palette of tones.

The study, published online this week in Science, traces the evolution of these genes and how they traveled around the world. While the dark skin of some Pacific Islanders can be traced to Africa, gene variants from Eurasia also seem to have made their way back to Africa. And surprisingly, some of the mutations responsible for lighter skin in Europeans turn out to have an ancient African origin.

“This is really a landmark study of skin color diversity,” says geneticist Greg Barsh of the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

Researchers agree that our early australopithecine ancestors in Africa probably had light skin beneath hairy pelts. “If you shave a chimpanzee, its skin is light,” says evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the new study. “If you have body hair, you don’t need dark skin to protect you from ultraviolet [UV] radiation.”

Until recently, researchers assumed that after human ancestors shed most body hair, sometime before 2 million years ago, they quickly evolved dark skin for protection from skin cancer and other harmful effects of UV radiation. Then, when humans migrated out of Africa and headed to the far north, they evolved lighter skin as an adaptation to limited sunlight. (Pale skin synthesizes more vitamin D when light is scarce.)”

Most anthropologists today will view race as a very flawed concept. But that discussion is reserved for another time.

As a former social scientist I tend to think of human behavior in factual, psychological, sociological, anthropological and historical terms. This viewpoint is broad, not narrow in scope or limiting. It’s all part of the scientific approach to understanding human behavior. Some people will say culture is more important than one’s genetic make-up. Really? Well, both are important!

Assessment of American Culture Today

Right now, nothing is more contrary to a collective understanding of human behavior than the disconcerting fact that American society has so misread their own social environment. The causes of this are numerous. But fear stands out as a major factor in seeing the world as only “us” and “them.” It is simplicity of observation at its most absurd. Said another way some people prefer to see differences only; other people tend to see our similarities. Those that see similarities are using a wide-angle lens. Those who have a tendency to see only differences just can’t seem to get their social camera working in the first place.

This fear I’m referring to doesn’t act in a social vacuum. It is constantly reinforced by two major elements of American society: (1) Donald R. Trump, and (2) an underlying racist Republican Party, at best a party of abject fools in denial of facts, and at worst, a political party intent on destroying America from within so their treasonous connections to Russia can be hidden from public view. Both elements feed off each other in a callous and sordid political drama that serves no one but themselves.

White America has allowed itself to be duped (and sucker punched) by a racist Republican Party and by that degenerate, bombastic, narcissistic personality defect in the White House. Their purpose is to divide people and instigate conflict—all in the vain hope of returning America to a white dominant society.

All of the recent racist and religious violence from the Ultra-conservative, Nazi, KKK and Alt Right affiliates have been based on a racist ideology (for example, the Charlottesville fiasco and murder, murders committed by Dylann Roof of nine black churchgoers, and the murders of people in various Jewish synagogues across the country).

The assumptions made by these ideological entities, or individuals, have no basis in fact. They simply manifest value judgments that run counter to most values such as egalitarianism, humanism, or moral principles like everyday decency,  sensibilities, and caring for other people.

Why is White Paranoia so unjustified?

As corny as this sounds at times President Franklin Roosevelt got it right. He said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

There are several major reasons whites have viewed their future in America incorrectly. For one obvious reason, a white majority minority will still outnumber any non-white racial/ethnic group in 2044. At that time, whites will make up 49.7 percent of the population compared with 25 percent for Hispanics, 12.7 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians and 3.7 for percent multiracial persons. Collectively, non-white minorities will be 49.3 percent of the entire population in 2044.

Here are some speculations that generally support the belief that whites will have nothing much to fear in 2044:

  1. There will be both positive and negative unintended consequences as a result of a new white majority minority. Liberals and moderates will thrive in 2044 while conservatives will lose much political power except in the rural areas of America (if we still have rural areas that haven’t been made into a paved-over tarmac by then).
  2. Whites will continue to have a disproportionate influence on society but will lose their power through strength in numbers. In this regard issues, not racial designations, may finally become more important. This will impact non-white minority voters as well as white majority minority voters. If this is the case, people having common objectives just might start to act like adults and individuals, not defined any longer by their racial identity. Or at least, less so!
  3. All groups need to finally acknowledge that racial identity is a non-issue. Only social cooperation and individuality is all that really matters. Only time will tell if society in general is capable of achieving Dr. Martin Luther King’s original dream. His speech was a message of unity, not division. He set the bar high for the country.
  4. The country will truly become more democratic consistent with the original intent of our nation’s founding fathers.
  5. Whites will continue to maintain a higher average income but its middle class will continue to shrink. Helping every group’s middle class is an important goal. In order to achieve greater income equality liberals and independents must retake the White House and Congress in 2020.
  6. Whites, for better or worse, will continue to be the best armed majority minority consistent with its income level, and consistent with a 2nd Amendment that remains unaltered.
  7. Assumptions about a monolithic voting block among different racial groups just does not exist. Why? Because thinking the same way on any issue is very unlikely. No group thinks monolithically; all groups are made up of individuals. People vote across racial lines all the time. Joe Biden, a white politician, is favored by 51% among blacks in South Carolina. Or Just think back to 2016 when a fair number of minority voters went for Trump. Obviously, whites were not the only people who got duped in 2016. This reinforces my argument. It doesn’t matter—no one thinks alike. This is at the heart of democratic principles. In a democracy—we want people to think for themselves.
  8. I predict politics will, for the most part, remain the same. There will still be liberals, moderates and conservatives. There will still be a left, right, and a center.
  9. Society will become much more egalitarian with women occupying more places in the House and Senate. Women will have much more political power in 2044.
  10. I predict more non-white minorities will become judges at every level. And they will occupy more seats in local elections and more seats in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. More minorities need to be nominated to the United States Supreme Court.
  11. Democracy will demand accountability in 2044 just as it should now. I predict a century from now historians will look back on 2016-2020 as a pivotal point at which American society had to internally step up and protect the grand experiment of a democratic country against all forms of tyranny foreign and domestic.

Final Comments

Recent comments on Twitter against four women of color suggest that the notion that Donald R. Trump is a racist American is no longer in any doubt. There is a long history that has also documented his racism. His father was a racist who had been arrested at an altercation at a rally for the KKK in Queen’s New York in 1927.

In the 1970s Donald Trump was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for violation of the Fair Housing Act. He discriminated against blacks by lying about the availability of his apartments. In 1989 Trump went on a crusade to villainize the Central Park Five, all four blacks and one Hispanic teenager for a vicious attack on a white female jogger in New York’s Central Park. All five were later exonerated by DNA evidence.

Trump’s opening campaign address was riddled with racial epithets toward Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. When he engaged in the racist Twitter rants about four minority black women in Congress, Civil-Rights Icon John Lewis of Georgia was asked about that. He said of the President’s remarks, “I know Racism when I see it.”

It’s now time for Americans to stand up and take back the country. A good first start is to Impeach Donald R. Trump. There is one book that will never be written by a Republican. The name of that book is, “Profiles in Courage.”

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One of the most difficult tasks for a parent to do is come up with a name for their future offspring. Yet, it is a necessary and critically important task, given that an offspring will carry his or her name for a lifetime. The best advice I can give is to be considerate in naming your newborn. Think about how a name can affect a person later in life. Naming a newborn isn’t about you; it’s about them. Usually, well meaning family members want to be involved and make suggestions, some serious, some not, but ultimately—parents need to take sole responsibility for naming their newborn.

 My daughter is expecting her first child in late February, 2011.  She wants to be surprised as to the baby’s gender. So, she and her partner must go about the business of making lists for both males and females.

 Last November the entire family was sitting around the Thanksgiving table coming up with names for the newborn. Everyone had suggestions, few of which I liked.  Listening to family members is seldom the answer. Everyone had suggestions and their own preferences soon crept into the conversation (including my own).

I suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that my daughter ought to name her newborn, if it’s a male, after Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Otherwise known as Mahatma Gandhi). Mahatma Gandhi was an iconic symbol of non-violent protest and a great spiritual leader in India. I also suggested the name Paris if it’s a girl, and thought Sarah was also a beautiful name.

I also thought, if the newborn is male, it might be named Crixus, after the gladiator opponent in the TV series, Spartacus. Based on a picture I saw from a Baby Sonogram the head image looked like it was sporting a crew cut, and looked just like the TV character, Crixus. I really wasn’t serious about any of my suggestions (like Mahatma or Crixus) because I knew names can have consequences.

Fortunately, my daughter just smiled politely at all the suggestions and told everyone that she and her partner hadn’t made any firm decisions yet. This, of course, means their difficult task of naming their soon-to-be newborn—remains ahead. This all begs the question, how should one proceed to do the task of naming a newborn?


I’ve thought a great deal about this. I soon realized that naming a newborn is more about exclusion of names rather than inclusion. I also discovered that besides names, exclusion rather than inclusion, also applies to the very process of how to name a newborn. For example, naming a newborn after some recognized infant behavioral characteristic (Happy, Smiley, or Sleeper) may be a misplaced convention since a newborn’s normal and enduring patterns of behavior may not be observed until years after its birth, and even then maybe not at all. Also, more importantly names, for legal purposes, are usually required before a newborn leaves the hospital. Nick-names of course will surface during childhood, but often no one has any inkling of what they might be, and certainly very little control over them.

Sometimes parents like gender-neutral names like Shelly, Elliott, Francis, Dale, Lynn, Marion, and Leslie. These names are all perfectly good names. But, because of the newborn’s actual gender, gender neutral names may present awkward moments later on in life.

In the early1950s my sister Dale actually received a draft notice from Uncle Sam to report for basic training with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. In one sense this was quite funny (my sister thought it was funny but my parents were less amused) and in another sense it was just plain embarrassing. So, if you choose a gender-neutral name a word to the wise—consider your choice very carefully. Just remember Johnny Cash’s famous song—a boy named Sue. 



What normally happens is that parents tend to rely on books with 5,000 baby names. With baby-name books in hand, often there is simply a feeling about names that strike us first. To be brutally honest, the names of people a parent had a negative relationship with growing up (or simply currently doesn’t like) are eliminated from the get-go.  

Sometimes, public figures from culture form the basis of our choices, such as first names like Elvis or Cher. Sometimes a cultural icon, historical or otherwise, is combined with the family name like creating Marlin Brando Jones, David Copperfield Smith, or Marilyn Monroe Cantrell.  

Another common way people go about naming a newborn is to tie one’s offspring name with a racial or ethnic identity. One could argue that creating such names is more about valuing or protecting the parent’s group identity than it is concern for the newborn’s individualistic name.  For example, Chinese families tend to choose Chinese first names; Hispanics tend to choose Spanish names; whites tend to choose European names, most often English, French, Italian or German.

There is nothing unusual about this. However, on the one hand as a society, we value diversity and equality and pay tribute to our country as the great American melting pot. We also manifest beliefs about the importance of the individual, regardless of ethnicity or race, as having universal worth or value. Yet, despite this egalitarian ethic, people seem to want to fall back to placing greater value with maintaining the legacy of their own racial or ethnic group. I have no answer for this typical convention in naming a newborn. I may hope for a singularly American identity, but alas—none can be found since we are a nation of immigrants, legal or otherwise.

My own preference (again tongue-in-cheek) is to adopt the child naming convention of the American Indian during the 18th and 19th centuries. That is, they liked to name a brave or squaw after who they became, or after some animate or inanimate object, or some combination of same. Some might have acquired rather dramatic names like Running Bear, Silent Wolf, Eagle’s Eye, Lion Heart, Summer Fawn, or perhaps a made-up name like Princess Summer Fall Winter Spring (After Howdy Doody fame).

There are times when I wish my parents followed the name conventions of the American Indian and named me Iron Man or Brave Heart. That way, my older brother might have been named Mad Dog, or Running-off-at-the-Mouth (Just kidding brother!).  

If the parents of republicans currently elected to Congress this last election had adopted the same idea, they might have given their children names like Cry Baby, Dirt Bag, Underhanded, Greedy, Get Nothing Done and son of Get Nothing Done, Wrong Way, Ms. Take and Indecisive, Gridlock, Stalemate and Pass-the-Buck. These are all good names for republicans. For democrats this term in Congress, their parents might have named them Big Spender, Pet Project, Ms. Take and Indecisive (also republican names), Two-faced, and my favorite—Robin Hood (steal from the rich and give to the poor).  


With all the caveats how should one seriously approach the problem of naming their newborn? What do the experts say?

It turns out many parents often tend to name their newborn after a loved, but nevertheless deceased, grandparent either with first, middle, or even a made-up nick-name. Others like to name their newborn after celebrities or even politicians. For example, after the 2008 presidential election many parents named their newborn Barack or Obama, Michelle, Sasha, or Melia. Were it not for the election results in 2008, we might have had names like John McCain or Sara Palin running around a lot more now. No, I won’t make a joke about that!

Tips on Naming the Newborn

In searching the internet I found the following suggestions on how to approach the problem of naming a newborn. Here are a few name-choosing tips to help you find the right name for your baby.

Put In a Lot of Thought

A name to be proud of is a name well thought out. When choosing a name give yourself a lot of time to think of what you would like your child’s name to be. One pointer would be to find some significance to your child’s name. Avoid choosing a name just because it sounds right.

In the past, parents would choose names that would describe their children or the circumstances regarding their birth – hence names such as Grace (believing their child to be given by grace), Hope, Red, and others. Names surrounding circumstances are also good starting points. Names such as Serendipity, however tortuous, still make a unique sounding name. You will want to avoid names such as Running Dog and Hot Summer, though.

Some will choose a name based on people they want their children to be like – John (after St. John), Mary, Peter, Errol (Yes, Errol Flynn), Angel and the ever-popular Junior. You will want to stay clear of names that might bring to mind unsavory historical figures of infamy (Adolph?).

Put Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes

Constantly ask yourself the question, will this name cause me a lot of grief in school? Try avoiding names that are hard to spell and write. That would make it a problem in the future with documents and correspondence that are mislabeled due to confusing names. For example, if you name your child Mychael instead of Michael, people will still think Michael is the right spelling. While Mychael is quite a unique choice, it could lead to a lot of confusion.

Also test if the name you chose will be the source of teasing and rhyming at school. Find a name that is less likely to be used in teasing (which is terribly hard – you can never underestimate the creativity of grade school kids). You will have to think well and hard to avoid names that would create that kind of childhood torture. Consider your family name when doing so. The way your family name and the name you choose go together will determine whether your kid arrives home crying every day or not.

As a general rule try avoiding having names where vowels and consonants run into each other. If the name you choose ends with a vowel and your family name starts with a vowel, it could create the illusion that the full name is a single word. For example, Lei Orr doesn’t quite sound right does it? Nathan Matterhorn is a little confusing isn’t it? Also as a general rule try avoiding tongue twisters – that probably removes Peter Piper from your list.

Consult and Consider

Consulting a baby name book can yield some pretty interesting results. The advantage of these books is that they also give the meaning of the names they list. This makes it easier to find a name that best describes what you would want for your baby. Relatives and friends will want to suggest names, let them do just that—- suggest.

But in the end, the decision is yours. It’s a decision they will not live with, so make sure you still have the final say. If you would like more information on choosing a name for your newborn, then visit http://caringforyournewborn.myreferenceguide.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alicia_McWilliams

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     Part IV of this series looks at the new Arizona law on immigration. Its basic provisions are described as well as some difficulties and legal issues attendant to it. Since most Americans are only aware of “rhetoric-plaqued” information and mis-information promulgated by the media, it is important that the reader be given an honest, accurate portrayal of the facts.

What is the Arizona Law all about?

     The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (introduced as Arizona Senate Bill 1070, often referred to simply as Arizona SB 1070) is a legislative act in the state of Arizona. It is the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in decades.

     The act makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents required by federal law, authorizes state and local law enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens. The paragraph on intent in the legislation says it embodies an “attrition through enforcement” doctrine.

     Critics of the legislation say it encourages racial profiling, while supporters say the law simply enforces existing federal law. The law was modified by Arizona House Bill 2162 within a week of its signing with the goal of addressing some of these concerns. There have been protests in opposition to the law in over 70 U.S. cities, including boycotts and calls for boycotts of Arizona. Polling has found however that the law has widespread majority support in Arizona and nationwide.

     U.S. federal law requires aliens 14 years old or older who are in the country for longer than 30 days to register with the U.S. government, and to have registration documents in their possession at all times. The Act makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, and obligates police to make an attempt, when practicable during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”, to determine a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien.

       Any person arrested cannot be released without confirmation of the person’s legal immigration status by the federal government pursuant to § 1373(c) of Title 8 of the United States Code. A first offense carries a fine of up to $100, plus court costs, and up to 20 days in jail; subsequent offenses can result in up to 30 days in jail (SB 1070 required a minimum fine of $500 for a first violation, and for a second violation a minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum jail sentence of 6 months). A person is “presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States” if he or she presents any of the following four forms of identification: a valid Arizona driver license; a valid Arizona nonoperating identification license; a valid tribal enrollment card or other tribal identification; or any valid federal, state, or local government-issued identification, if the issuer requires proof of legal presence in the United States as a condition of issuance.

     The Act also prohibits state, county, or local officials from limiting or restricting “the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law” and provides that any legal Arizona resident can sue such agencies or officials to compel such full enforcement. If the person who brings suit prevails, that person may be entitled to reimbursement of court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

     In addition, the Act makes it a crime for anyone, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, to hire or to be hired from a vehicle which “blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic.” Vehicles used in such manner are subject to mandatory immobilization or impoundment. Moreover, for a person in violation of a criminal law, it is an additional offense to transport an alien “in furtherance” of the alien’s illegal presence in the U.S., to “conceal, harbor or shield” an alien, or to encourage or induce an alien to immigrate to the state, if the person “knows or recklessly disregards the fact” that the alien is in the U.S. illegally or that immigration would be illegal.

     Violation is a class 1 misdemeanor if fewer than ten illegal aliens are involved, and a class 6 felony if ten or more are involved. The offender is subject to a fine of at least $1,000 for each illegal alien involved. The transportation provision includes exceptions for child protective services workers, and ambulance attendants and emergency medical technicians.

     On April 30, the Arizona legislature passed, and Governor Brewer signed, House Bill 2162, which modified the Act that had been signed a week earlier, with the amended text stating that “prosecutors would not investigate complaints based on race, color or national origin.” The new text also states that police may only investigate immigration status incident to a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest”, lowers the original fine from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $100, and changes incarceration limits for first-time offenders from 6 months to 20 days.

Why Arizona felt the Need to Pass SB 1070

     One of the basic assumptions people make is that people from Arizona were fed up with the U.S. government’s inability to get the job of immigration reform going. Consequently, this served as the state’s primary motivation for passing SB 1070. Too many felt the federal government had been “impotent/and or incompetent ” for decades when it came to either enforcing or reforming federal immigration laws. This assumtion is in fact true. However, the motivations to pass SB 1070 run deeper than that. Arizona is the first state with such a law as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. Prior law in Arizona, and the law in most other states, does not mandate that law enforcement personnel ask about the immigration status of those they encounter. Many police departments discourage such inquiries to avoid deterring immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating in other investigations.

     Arizona has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants, a figure that has increased fivefold since 1990. As the state with the most illegal crossings of the Mexico-United States border, its remote and punishing deserts are the entry point for thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans. By the late 1990s, Tucson Border Patrol Sector had become the location for the most number of arrests by the United States Border Patrol.

     Whether illegal immigrants commit a disproportionate number of crimes is uncertain, with different authorities and academics claiming that the rate for this group was the same, greater, or less than that of the overall population. Perception bias leads many on both sides of the debate to reject, not recognize, or rationalize crime rate statistics.

     There was also anxiety that the Mexican Drug War, which had caused thousands of deaths, would spill over into the U.S. Moreover, by the late 2000s, Phoenix was seeing an average of one kidnapping per day, earning it the reputation as America’s worst city in that regard.

     Arizona has a history of passing restrictions on illegal immigration, including legislation in 2007 that imposed heavy sanctions on employers hiring illegal immigrants. Measures similar to SB 1070 had been passed by the legislature in 2006 and 2008, only to be vetoed by Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano. She was subsequently elevated to Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration and was replaced by Republican Secretary of State of Arizona, Jan Brewer. There is a similar history of referenda, such as the Arizona Proposition 200 (2004) that sought to restrict illegal immigrants’ use of social services. The ‘attrition through enforcement’ doctrine is one that think tanks such as the Center for Immigration Studies have been supporting for several years.

Launching of SB 1070

     Impetus for SB 1070 is attributed to shifting demographics leading to a larger Hispanic population, increased drugs-and human smuggling-related violence in Mexico and Arizona, and a struggling state economy and economic anxiety during the late-2000s recession. State residents were also frustrated by the lack of federal progress on immigration, which they viewed as even more disappointing given that Napolitano was in the administration.

     The major sponsor of and legislative force behind the bill was State Senator Russell Pearce, who had long been one of Arizona’s most vocal opponents of illegal immigration. He had successfully pushed through several prior pieces of tough legislation against those he termed “invaders on the American sovereignty”.

     Much of the drafting of the bill was done by Kris Kobach, a professor at the University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law and a figure long associated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He had written immigration-related bills in many other parts of the country. Pearce and Kobach had worked together on past legislative efforts regarding immigration, and Pearce contacted Kobach when he was ready to pursue the idea of the state enforcing federal immigration laws. The Arizona State Senate approved an early version of the bill in February 2010. Saying, “Enough is enough,” Pearce stated figuratively that this new bill would remove handcuffs from law enforcement and place them on violent offenders.

     The killing of 58-year-old Robert Krentz and his dog, shot on March 27, 2010, while doing fence work on his large ranch roughly 19 miles (31 km) from the Mexican border, gave a tangible public face to fears about immigration-related crime. Arizona police were not able to name a murder suspect, but traced a set of footprints from the crime scene south towards the border, and the resulting speculation that the killer was an illegal alien increased support among the public for the measure. For a while, there was talk of naming the law after Krentz. Some state legislators (both for and against the law) believed, however, that the impact of the Krentz killing has been overstated as a factor in the bill’s passing.

     The bill, with a number of changes made to it, passed the Arizona House of Representatives on April 13 by a 35–21 party-line vote. The revised measure then passed the State Senate on April 19 by a 17–11 vote that also closely followed party lines. All but one Republican voted for the bill, ten Democrats voted against the bill, and two Democrats didn’t vote.

Opinion polls

     A Rasmussen Reports poll done nationally around the time of the signing indicated that 60 percent of Americans were in favor, and 31 percent opposed, to legislation that allows local police to “stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant.” The same poll also indicated that 58 percent are at least somewhat concerned that “efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens.”

     A national Gallop Poll found that more than three-quarters of Americans had heard about the law, and of those who had, 51 percent were in favor of it against 39 percent opposed. An Angus Reid Public Opinion poll indicated that 71 percent of Americans said they supported the notion of requiring their own police to determine people’s status if there was “reasonable suspicion” the people were illegal immigrants, and arresting those people if they could not prove they were legally in the United States.

     A nationwide New York Times/CBS News poll found similar results to the others, with 51 percent of respondents saying the Arizona law was “about right” in its approach to the problem of illegal immigration, 36 percent saying it went too far, and 9 percent saying it did not go far enough. Another CBS News poll, conducted a month after the signing, showed 52 percent seeing the law as about right, 28 percent thinking it goes too far, and 17 percent thinking it does not go far enough. A 57 percent majority thought that the federal government should be responsible for determining immigration law.

     A national Fox News poll found that 61 percent of respondents thought Arizona was right to take action itself rather than wait for federal action, and 64 percent thought the Obama administration should wait and see how the law works in practice rather than trying to stop it right away. Experts caution that in general, polling has difficulty reflecting complex immigration issues and law.

     Another Rasmussen poll, done statewide after several days of heavy news coverage about the controversial law and its signing, found a large majority of Arizonans still supported it, by a 64 percent to 30 percent margin. Rasmussen also found that Brewer’s approval ratings as governor shot up, going from 40 percent of likely voters before the signing to 56 percent after, and that her margin over prospective Democratic gubernatorial opponent, State Attorney General Terry Goddard (who opposes the law) widened.

     A poll done by Arizona State University researchers found that 81 percent of registered Latino voters in the state opposed SB 1070. This would suggest that race is a more important factor among some groups in society than is the fact that the law applies only to illegals who break our laws. Every time an illegal enters this country he is violating the soverign territory of the United States.

Opinions Expressed by Mexico Government

     Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s office said that “the Mexican government condemns the approval of the law [and] the criminalization of migration.” President Calderón also characterized the new law as a “violation of human rights”. Calderón repeated his criticism during a subsequent state visit to the White House.

     The measure was also strongly criticized by Mexican health minister Jose Angel Cordova, former education minister Josefina Vazquez Mota, and Governor of Baja California Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan, with Osuna saying it “could disrupt the indispensable economic, political and cultural exchanges of the entire border region.” The Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory for its citizens visiting Arizona, saying “It must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time.”

     In response to these comments, Chris Hawley of USA Today said that “Mexico has a law that is no different from Arizona’s”, referring to legislation which gives local police forces the power to check documents of people suspected of being in the country illegally. Immigration and human rights activists have also noted that Mexican authorities frequently engage in racial profiling, harassment, and shakedowns against migrants from Central America.

Reaction Among U.S. Government Officials

     In the United States, supporters and opposers of the bill have roughly followed party lines, with most Democrats opposing the bill and most Republicans supporting it. The bill was criticized by President Barack Obama, who called it “misguided” and said it would “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.” Obama did later note that the HB 2162 modification had stipulated that the law not be applied in a discriminatory fashion, but the president said there was still the possibility of suspected illegal immigrants “being harassed and arrested”.

     He repeatedly called for federal immigration reform legislation to forestall such actions among the states and as the only long-term solution to the problem of illegal immigration. Governor Brewer and President Obama met at the White House in early June 2010 to discuss immigration and border security issues in the wake of SB 1070; the meeting was termed pleasant, but brought about little change in the participants’ stances.

Legal Challenges to SB 1070

     I think it’s fair to say that the initial reaction to the Arizona law has bordered on hysteria. This hysteria was reinforced by the media in such a way as to bring out rhetoric , but nothing approximating a well-reasoned concrete analysis of the facts.

     Many organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced their intention to file legal action against the Arizona Statute based on constitutional grounds. The ACLU criticized the Arizona Statute as a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, which gives the federal government authority over the states in immigration matters and provides that only the federal government can enact and enforce immigration laws.  

     Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional scholar and dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law says that “The law is clearly pre-empted by federal law under Supreme Court precedents.” However, that legal argument is countered by one of the bill’s author, Kobach, who says the law embodies the doctrine of “concurrent enforcement” – i.e., that the state law parallels applicable federal law without any conflict – and he believes it would thus survive any challenge: “There are some things that states can do and some that states can’t do, but this law threads the needle perfectly…. Arizona only penalizes what is already a crime under federal law.” State Senator Pearce noted that some past state laws on immigration enforcement had been upheld in federal courts. In Gonzales v. City of Peoria (9th Cir. 1983), the Court held that the Immigration and Naturalization Act precludes local enforcement of the Act’s civil provisions but does not preclude local enforcement of the Act’s criminal provisions. The U.S. Attorney General may enter into a written agreement with a state or local government agency, under which that agency’s employees perform the function of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States; however, such an agreement is not required for the agency’s employees to perform those functions.

     However, various legal experts were divided on whether the law would survive a court challenge, with one law professor saying it “sits right on that thin line of pure state criminal law and federally controlled immigration law.” Past lower court decisions in this area were not always consistent and a decision on the bill’s legality from the U.S. Supreme Court is one possible outcome. Other lawsuits have been filed over the new Arizona law, many involving many other legal issues such as racial profiling, local police responsibility in immigration laws, resource issues, Fourteenth Amendment and Equal Protection Law, First Amendment (free speech), and the  Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure).

     It is possible that all the suits would be combined into one case for the courts to hear. Kobach remained optimistic that the suits would fail, saying “I think it will be difficult for the plaintiffs challenging this. They are heavy on political rhetoric but light on legal arguments.” In late May 2010, Governor Brewer issued an executive order to create a legal defense fund to handle suits over the law. Brewer got into a dispute with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard over whether he would defend the law against legal challenges, as a state attorney general normally would. Brewer accused Goddard, who opposed the law personally and was one of Brewer’s possible rivals in the gubernatorial election, of colluding with U.S. Justice Department as it deliberated whether to challenge the law in court.

Discussion and a Suggestion

     In its final form, HB 2162 limits the use of race. It states: “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

      The U.S. and Arizona supreme courts have held that race may be considered in enforcing immigration law. In United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, the U.S. Supreme Court found: “The likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor.” The Arizona Supreme Court agrees that “enforcement of immigration laws often involves a relevant consideration of ethnic factors.” Both decisions say that race alone, however, is an insufficient basis to stop or arrest.

     Every year in the United States millions upon millions of people fill out two important legal documents: (1) Federal Income Tax Form 1040, and (2) their respective State Income Tax forms. Anyone who fails to either pay their taxes or file correct income tax forms is already under the watchful eye of both federal and state governments. Everyone is required to sign their tax forms, creating the conditions for checking the truthfulness of the statements signed off on.

     Consequently, it would be useful as an investigatory tool if both federal and state individual income tax forms were modified to include a section verifying country of origin, hospital where born including address or midwifery verifications, photocopy evidence of a legitimate birth certificate, and a box to be checked indicating US citizenship/non-citizen status. Those tax returns that are deemed suspicious could then be further investigated.

     State governments could take a leadership role here and start modifying its individual income tax forms accordingly. Getting the federal government to modify the individual federal income tax form 1040 will take (no pun intended) an act of Congress. Where state governments are concerned, perhaps Arizona could be the first state in the nation to modify its individual state income tax laws to incorporate the changes I’ve recommended.

Note: Much of the material written in this Blog was obtained from Wikipaedia, The Free Encyclopedia.




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