Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Immigration Policy: Why It Matters To A Sexual Justice Advocate

I am outraged, as I know you are, about the new immigration policy in Arizona that allows police to question people about their immigration status and requires them to produce documentation that they are in the United States legally.

It is nothing short of a full frontal attack on people of Latino descent in Arizona and xenophobia at its worst. I'm also pretty confident that it will be found unconstitutional. I'm proud of the work my denomination is doing in Arizona in their Standing on the Side of Love campaign.

I asked a colleague whether there was a pending sign on letter by national religious leaders, and she seemed surprised that we would want to be outspoken on immigration laws. Now as a small organization, we do concentrate on a small number of sexual justice issues, but there is no question that they are affected by these laws.

At its core, my strong faith commitment to the dignity and worth of all persons means that I do not think any person is "illegal" or unworthy of equal treatment. But, these issues also intersect in more practical ways. What's going to happen to Hispanic women in labor in Arizona when they go to a hospital? What about when they visit a public health clinic for birth control? What happens to gay and lesbian Hispanic immigrants who live with U.S. citizens in families but because there is no marriage equality are denied immigration status that their straight married friends have? There are many such questions where these issues intersect.

I'm also acutely aware that the same people who support these types of laws also fight against sexual justice issues. A recent poll of Tea Party activists for examples show that 82% of them think immigration is a very serious problem, 84% oppose marriage equality, and 79% don't support the availability of abortion. (A third believe that President Obama was born in another country.)

SO, why would I speak out against the Arizona law? Because all of these issues are interconnected, and because as long as there is injustice for any group, there cannot be, "liberty and justice for all."




5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Bill Baar said...

this is silly..

There is no getting around the "illegal" in illegal alien, and laws are useless if not enforced by police. We just arrested two guys in my community for hiring illegals and cheating them of their withholding taxes too.... basically used them as slaves. But the law that applies to employers, applies just as much to the employee.

Chicago by the way has plenty of blond illegal aliens from eastern europe... irish too...

and none of this has anything to do with sex....

Rachel Rev said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Actually she just explained what it has to do with sex... And it made sense; not sure why it's difficult to comprehend.

Whitney said...

Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. Not just for this post, but for your important work. I'm a UM ministerial candidate, seminarian, and Planned Parenthood volunteer. I read "Feministing" everyday (which is how I found your blog). I am continually surprised (although I shouldn't be, at this point) at the hesitancy, fear, shame and uncertainty with which my colleagues approach matters of sexual and gender justice. This is at a "liberal" seminary, where everyone I know is a social justice activist of some sort - where several students won state and national awards for their work on behalf of anti-capital punishment campaigns. And yet, when I start to talk about reproductive justice, I feel like the lone "voice crying out in the wilderness" (sound of crickets chirping and tumbleweeds blowing past). I'll definitely check out your organization. Thanks for making me feel like I'm not a crazy person.