4/11 – 4/17 – Is the South entering an era of “Jaime” Crow?

17 Apr

Georgia Lawmakers Target Illegal Immigration, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2011

Last week Georgia passed an Arizona-style anti-immigrant bill which allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of “certain suspects” and requires employers with more than 10 employees to use the Federal E-Verify system. According to the Wall Street Journal, supporters used the standard racist arguments – that the undocumented mooch off social services and take jobs – even asserting that the bill would “root out” all of the state’s undocumented workers.  Yet, it’s clear that the bill is not popular and is the result of Republican law makers’ xenophobic grandstanding.  It received strong opposition from civil liberties and Latino rights groups as well as the business and agricultural communities. Furthermore, in recent years the undocumented population in Georgia, along with all states along the South Atlantic, has actually decreased. What has increased, however, is the overall Latino population.  Between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, the Latino population almost doubled in Georgia.  According to a Georgia professor cited in the WSJ article, “Georgians have had little experience in assimilating immigrants.”

Is Georgia’s law (and Florida and Alabama’s upcoming bills, for that matter) really about protecting the state from those wily undocumented or is it about imposing punitive laws to preserve a perceived control over a changing society?

Georgia and all the Southern states experienced an enormous demographic shift in 1865 when slaves became free persons.  The legal and social rules of Jim Crow were imposed to maintain White domination and control the Black population.  For Black Southerners, the result was terror, violence, segregation and the denial of economic security, educational opportunity and basic dignity.  For all of Georgia and the South, Jim Crow resulted in a divided society, a repressive and an exploitative economy which has, to this day, resulted in lower levels of industry and higher levels of poverty.

As Georgia experiences the changes of an increasing Latino population, it appears it may be entering a new era of racist laws and social control.  It’s no longer Jim Crow, now it’s “Jaime” Crow.

Fortunately, the opposition to this bill indicates that the South, the epicenter of US’s most important movement for civil rights and social and economic equity, will again be the place of vibrant and powerful opposition to racism.

In other news:

The Anti-Immigrant Crusader, NY Times, April 17, 2011

John Tanton is “most influential unknown man in America” and has supported anti-immigrant policies for decades, using environmentalist and family planning rhetoric to push xenophobic ideology.

Georgia Immigration Law Extreme, Far-reaching, AJC Commentary by Jay Bookman, April 15, 2011

Commentator in a local Atlanta paper states that he “didn’t believe they’d pull the trigger”, the state’s hRepublicans, that is.   Check out commentary from Georgian readers at the end of this column.

Despite Latest Ruling, Immigrants Still Besieged in Arizona, New American Media, April 13, 2011

This article reports that, despite the injunction against SB 1070, there are “still police officers out there that are implementing this law at their discretion.”  Various members of the immigrant and activist communities in Arizona share their views on what they call a a “victory in court, but not a victory on the streets.”

Deportation’s wide net, Sonoma Press Democrat, April 10 and 11, 2011

A two-part report on the impact of the Federal Secure Communities enforcement program in Sonoma County.

Family of Arizona youth killed by Border Patrol want answers, Latin American Herald Tribune

A 19 year-old (US citizen) was shot and killed by a US Border Patrol agent while trying to escape across a border fence into Mexico.  The Border Patrol expressed surprise to discover that he was a citizen and the family reports that their son was not given immediate medical care.

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