First off, this Sunday morning saw a unique spatial approach to the immigration argument. It featured hundreds of people standing in the parking lot of the Heard Museum and forming a human postcard to send to Washington.
Their message? “S.O.S. Congress.” The words conveyed the notion that Arizona is more than just SB1070, and that Arizona—or any individual state—is not the best constitutional laboratory in which to cook up an immigration regime. No, the organizers insisted, the federal government is charged with immigration matters, so get to work.
(Gazing at the news photo, it took me a minute to realize that the organizers had placed three people as the periods in the acronym “S.O.S.” That is an attention to detail—and grammar—that has been woefully lacking in our immigration debate. Well played!)
It was organized by Kimber Lanning, downtown businesswoman and Local First Arizona founder and front person. Her position is that a good result will not flow from boycotts, but from comprehensive immigration reform.
Standing in the early-morning heat at the Heard were families with kids, the young, the old, some pets, and even some politicos, including Attorney General Terry Goddard, former City Councilman Greg Stanton, and legislative candidate Ken Clark.
Read a news story here.
And here are some photos from the Sunday event. (Thank you to Kathy Nakagawa, Frances McMahon Ward and Madison Ward for the great photos. The overhead shot is by Tom Tingle at the Arizona Republic.)
(This past Friday evening was yet another panel discussion on SB1070. This one was held at the Phoenix law firm Fennemore Craig, and it was sponsored by the Arizona Latino Media Association. I got the notice about it Friday afternoon, so I’m very sorry I couldn’t attend. Panelists were legislator John Kavanagh, lawyers Antonio Bustamante and Nancy-Jo Merritt, and the terrific writer Terry Greene Sterling. Read her blog here.)
But I promised a possible solution, didn’t I?
That came to me yesterday while I read yet another story about Governor Jan Brewer’s recent statement about the topic. She continues to allege that the majority of immigrants coming across the southern border are not coming for work. No, she says; they are ferrying drugs and fueling that criminal economy.
“And they’re doing drop houses, and they’re extorting people and they’re terrorizing the families. … The majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming (into) the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels.”
The majority, eh? Even John McCain had to demurely dissent on that one. But it got me to thinking, especially when I read this morning’s story about the state’s crumbling health care infrastructure.
That story led with the tale of a woman who faced a terrible dilemma as state benefits end.
“[Deborah] Ferry is one of more than 12,000 adults with mental illnesses who do not qualify for Medicaid and will lose access to brand-name drugs, case managers, therapists, hospital care and transportation to their appointments when the cuts take effect Thursday.”
“When this all falls down, it’s going to be total chaos,” said Donna Hayes, who has received mental-health services in Arizona since 1979. “There are going to be more suicides, more hospital stays, more people living on the streets.”
I bet you’ve already figured out my brainstorm. Here are the steps to the modest proposal:
- Arizona has many immigrants coming across our borders every year.
- Whether they come from Mexico or Canada, they all have access to more inexpensive drugs than we do in the United States.
- If you were to believe the governor, many of those migrants are already accomplished at transporting drugs.
- Masses of Arizona residents are about to encounter a bleak future as our Legislature opts to end many medical benefits.
What does this add up to? Well, it’s a veritable Marshall Plan that can deliver inexpensive medication to Arizona residents.
Win–win, as they say in politics. And you heard it here first.