I finished my honors thesis today, a "new media documentary" (pretentious way of saying documentary website) on undocumented students in Arizona. In an infelicitous turn of events, the Arizona Legislature choose today to pass the toughest enforcement law on undocumented immigrants in the country: SB 1070. Dramatic? Yes, but I just hope things don't go from bad to worse as I unveil my project.
I have a big problem with what the Legislature is doing, but I have a bigger problem with the ignorance they've displayed by pushing this bill through. Living in Arizona, you slowly become desensitized to the perfidy of our politics, but without a doubt this one goes too far.
Let's step back. I've come to realize — and I hope my project will portray — that undocumented immigrants are not a homogeneous group. They are as varied as ordinary, documented citizens in their circumstances, values and appearance. My experiences tell me the Arizona Legislature is wrong. Not only are they ignorant of these simple human truths (the reality of human pluralism), but they seem too wrapped up in their hubris and self-righteousness to consider the implications of their actions.
Just whom are we deporting? Are we correct in refusing to let these people stay in this country or are we removing the very people who can help us strengthen this state? What makes you a citizen beyond your seemingly arbitrary birth on a particular plot of land?
Those are just three questions I hope my thesis cause people to ask themselves. I don't aim to change minds. I just want to get people to question the stereotypes they've constructed for undocumented immigrants. I'll link to the project as soon as it's online, which should be in the next couple days.