We’re all undocumented!

JUNE 24, 2010

By LAURA SUCHESKI

California senators and assembly members gathered on the West Steps of the Capitol Wednesday to formally introduce a boycott resolution against the state of Arizona in response to its controversial immigration law.

The proposed resolution includes a travel advisory, the first of its kind from one state against another state. It cautions Californian “from traveling to, or spending time in, Arizona, due to the risk they may face in being subjected to inappropriate and unlawful scrutiny.” Also in the law are directives for CalPERS and CalSTRS investment officers to “cease making investments in Arizona” and for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to remove Arizona from consideration for the All-Star Game.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is the sponsor of the bill as well as the chairman of the Latino Caucus. Behind him and the bill were Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, chairman of the LGBT Caucus, Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Long Beach, chairman of the Asian Pacific Island Legislative Caucus, and Assemblymen Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, and Curren Price Jr., D-Los Angeles, chairman and vice-chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

“Division is not the way to go. We must be united as a nation. You cannot break the law to protest a broken law. You must comply with the Constitution,” said Cedillo, explaining the message the resolution will send. “We can’t have 50 states trying to have 50 different immigration policies.”

Ammiano, the “movie star” of the group according to Cedillo, compared the struggle against Arizona to the struggle of LGBT individuals to gain equal rights and acceptance. He recounted the plot of the movie Spartacus, in which ancient Roman government goes searching for the slave leader Spartacus, presumably to kill him. When he came looking for Spartacus in a crowd, members of the populace stood up claiming to be Spartacus, in support of the targeted man.

“I’m undocumented, no you’re undocumented!” said Ammiano, “If we stand up in solidarity, we can beat this back,” said Ammiano. “If you’re good enough to clean my toilet in my house but you’re not good enough to live in my house, that’s hypocritical.”

Responding to critics of the boycott who contend that it will hurt Arizonans who do not support the law, Ammiano said, “You don’t hurt real people when you boycott, because they are already hurt. They are being dehumanized.”

The representative from Council on American-Islamic Relations spoke in support of the boycott and called out the recently-resigned chairman of the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, who was in the audience. He accused him for “peddling hate” and condemned the Tea Party as a “racist movement.”

Williams asked the first pointed question of Cedillo, pointing out that California actually already has a nearly identical law on the books. The distinguishing feature of the Arizona law is its charge to stop suspects on “reasonable suspicion,” which can result in racial profiling. William asked if Cedillo was planning on revising California law to distinguish it from the law he wants to boycott.

Cedillo said that comprehensive immigration reform is needed at the federal level, tacitly declining to answer Williams’ question.


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