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California officials continue to inject race into immigration debate

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

Reported by the Whittier Daily News, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) believes racist forces are the driving support for Arizona’s immigration law.  She slammed the law for being a “concentrated effort” by people who “have ties to white supremacy groups.”

Labeling the law as outside mainstream politics, Sanchez compared it to “a Jim Crow system where based on the color of your skin you could be treated as a second-class citizen or harassed based on how you look.”  In a poll by the Daily News, however, readers clearly disagree with Sanchez’s assertions.

The question asked in the poll is: “Do you believe white supremacist groups are behind the recently enacted Arizona immigration law?”

An overwhelming eighty five percent of those polled say “no”, while approximately fourteen percent say “yes.”  Assuming that readers are not primarily white supremacists, a viable argument is that Rep. Sanchez’s accusations against the law actually lie outside the mainstream of public opinion.

And Sanchez’s remarks are only one instance of the continued effort to make the immigration debate racial in nature.

In a city that is no stranger to condemning the Arizona law, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) passed a resolution wanting history and civics classes to discuss the Arizona law "in the context of unity, diversity and equal protection for all.''  The LAUSD’s resolution even went so far as to say that the Arizona law "effectively sanctions and promotes unconstitutional racial profiling and harassment, and blatantly violates the civil rights of both Arizona residents and all visitors to the state.''

The board president of the LAUSD, Monica Garcia, called the law “un-American.”

Possibly a result of the rhetoric of California officials, the immigration debate is producing more sparks in the upcoming California state election.  Candidates competing on the Republican primary ticket have varying stances on the subject.

Meg Whitman’s newly revealed hardline immigration stance has already met friction from the California Nurses Association, who launched a radio campaign against her.  The move by the association seems to be strategic in nature, considering that Whitman came out with her own immigration stance via a radio commercial.

Nationally speaking, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer seems to have become the prominent voice against gushing opposition to the law.  Besides meeting with President Obama, she expressed the urgency of the matter by alluding to the BP oil spill on the forefront of many Americans‘ minds.

In her official Twitter account, which was posted on the same day as her meeting with President Obama, she made the BP reference:  “Calling for immigration reform before securing the border is like asking for energy policy reform before stopping the oil leak in the Gulf." 

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