As you probably already know, Arizona‘s latest immigration initiative is an attempt to pass a bill to deny citizenship to natural born children of undocumented residents of the state. I know the anti-immigrant crowd’s first reaction to that is something to the effect of, “hell yeah!” However, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution (you know that little old document) states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
I know any effort to remind anyone in the Tea Party or even the Arizona state government for that matter of said fact, would fall on deaf ears. In the paraphrased words of a friend, “Republicans never let facts fly in the face of their policy.” This increasingly persistent racially motivated push against Latinos in Arizona made me wonder what would happen if the recent laws that were passed in Arizona were somehow passed in New York State, with a specific emphasis on New York City?
In a city of 8 million people it would be surreal to see how an NYPD lead by Commissioner Joseph Arpaio (shudder) would enforce the mandatory racial profiling law. Since the law does not specifically state what an illegal looks like, let us make conjecture that the state government (which has the strong backing of the Arizona public according to polling) passed a law that essentially stated police would have to stop all non-white people. I know what you are going to say, but… bear with me for a moment.
Only 44% of New York City’s population is white. That leaves roughly 4.5 million people who would need to be racially profiled with a police force of 36,000. We’ll even do it with the caveat that we can scratch off the races that are least likely to be illegals. Black folks (people of African descent, for this particular exercise) would seemingly be a good starting point, but things get murky when you take a slightly closer look. The black population in New York is composed of large immigrant communities from the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America which means we can’t take them off the list.
We can’t take the Asians off the list since many Asian small business owners speak with a discernible accent and that was suggested as major marker of not belonging according to Arizona guidelines. And in an ironic twist, I think we may have to place white people on the list as well. California GOP Representative Brian Bilbray stated you can spot someone who needs to be racially profiled by the clothes they wear. I’m going to connect the dots here and say my Orthodox Jewish neighbors can’t be let off the hook… sigh. Let’s try enforcing another law because this is getting complicated.
Under Arizona law we would remove all the New York City school teachers who have strong accents from the classroom. But wait, New York City has actively recruited foreign teachers in the past to fill the gaps created by their high teaching qualification requirements. I guess we should first lower these standards and THEN fire these tonally-challenged educators. Afterward, we can find lesser qualified candidates to fill their positions.
Now we’re in business; we just saved America and some money in one fell swoop. It goes without saying that parents and educators will no doubt fully support this effort. We can then move to canceling the ethnic studies programs as students will rejoice at having less to study!
Instead of denying birth certificates to natural born Americans based on the status of their parents, we would go one step further and strip the citizenship of those who have been naturalized. With apologies to City Comptroller John Liu, a handful of city council members, and several state lawmakers, you just didn’t make the cut with your taxpaying and public service.
Now let’s fast forward and assess our dystopian new New York. The Arizona policies are a sweeping success. Everyone is under suspicion. The cops are stretched to their limit. No one gets anywhere without having their papers present. Entire generations have become internally displaced due to the loss of their citizenship. Many have been deported. Black History month celebrations along with educational courses/classroom sessions on the religious holidays (Jewish and Muslim) that mark the traditional school calendar have all been done away with. New York is now a vibrant, thriving, homogeneous police state.
Smell that New York (take a good whiff)? That’s what the American ideal smells like in Arizona.