Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life In A Southern Town

Roaming around this sleepy town my entire life, I've come to expect a certain protocol when it comes to dealing with those whose job it is to secure our port, which is, by the way, the largest inland port in the country.  Did I get that right, daddy Salinas?

At the checkpoint, located near Encinal, TX (Hey, this is the first shout-out to Encinal on LaSanbe), it's usually been an easy process.  The Border Patrol asks if we're U.S. citizens, we says yes, and they wave us through.  We proceed by cranking up the stereo to the deafening levels it was at before, unbuckle our seatbelts, and slouch in our seats just a little.  Relaxed again.

Crossing bridge I is where I've felt harassed by customs agents in the past.  I can recall one time when an officer sternly asked me if I had my birth certificate on me.  He was bothered when I told him I didn't.  Ultimately I was let through but my outlook was a little more jaded.  I don't fly often, but apparently, proving one's citizenship is required at our airport as well.
To this day, when I fly out of Laredo it boggles my mind that Americans must be subjected to an immigration check at the airport.
Arizona is feeling the backlash after the governor signed into law a means of allowing authorities to check a person's immigration status if a doubt exists.  If you look like an immigrant (???) you're going to be pulled over.  Not to be outdone, Representative Debbie Riddle is thinking of doing the same here.
She'll do the same when the Legislature next meets in regular session in January.
It's obvious that these numbskulls aren't taking Latinos' political and purchasing power into account.  But when have they really thought things out?  When their fences don't work, they go to plan B.  Unfortunately the only ones who will benefit from this are prison administrators.  Suddenly they see a possible surge in customers as "violators" will be charged with a crime if caught.  Meanwhile, business owners will suffer as shoppers boycott entire states.  (see Arizona)

Mayor Salinas will undoubtedly make his voice heard.  And if he has to take another trip to D.C. to do it, so be it.  U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar will make a more tactful observation.  He's got a tough crowd to answer to in the northern stretch of his district.  Somehow I don't see him holding any town hall meetings soon.  Democrats will have to take a stand on this issue, even if they don't push for an immigration reform bill by the end of the year.  Immigrants of all stripes will be closely watching for who does what.  And this might just help the Demos in the mid-terms, if they can capitalize on it wisely. 

In the meantime, I'll need to find out if wearing chanclas with socks will get me pulled over.  On second thought, maybe I should go out and buy the biggest sombrero I can find and walk around the downtown area just to fuck with the men in green. 

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