Watching Dennis Gilman's new video of Wednesday's protest against Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's systemic over-charging of undocumented workers, one is struck not only with the injustice of keeping Sara Blanco and her sisters from their mother, their grandmother and their grandfather, but also with the realization that injustice is too weak a word to describe this scenario.
What would you call a policy that treats undocumented Latinos differently from underage ASU attendees who have essentially committed the same crime?
Unfair, discriminatory, bigoted, odious. All of these things and more.
What about a policy that needlessly separates children from their parents, that stacks multiple counts of forgery and ID theft against the parents in order to make them nonbondabe, to coerce guilty pleas, and to ensure their deportations?
Sick, ruthless, Kafka-esque.
How would you describe a policy that makes children like these cry, that inflicts upon them the unique mental anguish of knowing your parents are hardworking, decent people, yet are being treated worse in stir even than some admitted killers?
What about the terror you have seared into their innocent brains for all time, along with the sight of their mother in stripes and shackles, hit with nine felony counts, all because she was driven to help provide for her family and give her children a better life?
I am tempted to use a loaded term such as "evil." Indeed, every time I think of Sara crying, the word "evil" pursues me. What else describes a system that cruelly manufactures such hardship and heartache for little ones?
Certainly, Bill Montgomery knows what he is doing is wrong. He has children. He claims to be a Christian and to believe in the equal application of the law.
He has even signed onto a watered-down version of immigration reform, a local proposal known as SANE, or "the Montgomery Plan," take your pick.
More importantly, perhaps, he knows that the world is changing, immigration reform is inevitable, the Hispanic voter is ascendant and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is on his way out the door, either for health reasons or due to the recall.
Nativism is in decline, and what helped Montgomery get elected in 2010 could work to his detriment in the very near future.
So, Montgomery has every incentive to change. Meanwhile, for him to continue backing the SANE initiative, while maintaining a policy fashioned with racial and ethnic animus by disbarred, disgraced former County Attorney Andy Thomas, is the crassest form of hypocrisy.
How can progressive and pro-immigrant forces such as Chicanos por la Causa, the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, the Anti-Defamation League, and so many other good organizations and persons who endorse SANE, maintain their ties to Montgomery as he continues a practice that reduces children to tears, imprisons hardworking people, and keeps families apart?
They cannot. To do so would be beyond rationalization and make the SANE initiative a joke, one worthy of every ounce of derision you can fling at it.
And so those who have signed onto SANE must make a choice: They can pressure Montgomery to end this policy and separate themselves from him until he does so, or be seen as giving tacit endorsement to what Montgomery is doing.
This policy must end. If you've signed onto SANE, look into Sara's eyes, and try telling me what a swell fella Montgomery is for endorsing the proposal, how reasonable he is, how moderate.
I dare you.
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