Feathered Bastard

Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz's Body Circled by Nativist Buzzards

The nativists are a parasitic lot. They gloat when someone is murdered by an "illegal immigrant," or any kind of immigrant, actually.

In the Boston bombings, they made a feast of the two brothers, the alleged terrorists: one a naturalized U.S. citizen, the other granted asylum.

Suddenly, the brothers Tsarnaev became Chechen-born poster boys for those opposed to comprehensive immigration reform, the reason why the 11 million to 12 million who pass background checks, pay a fine, and jump through 13 years of hoops to become citizens under the Gang of Eight's plan should be sent packing instead.

See also: -Jesus Molina Owns the SUV That Struck and Killed Phoenix Cop Daryl Raetz, Police Say -Phoenix Cop Daryl Raetz Killed by Hit-and-Run SUV-Driving Scum (w/Update)

Now, there's the suggestion that the person who may have been driving that green SUV that hit and killed Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz might be in the country illegally.

We don't know for certain, yet. We may know soon. The owner of the vehicle, Jesus Molina, has been arrested on unrelated charges.

For the haters, it's time to get the lynch mob fired up. They can't get to Molina, but rhetorically, at least, they'll lynch all of the undocumented and likely throw in all other recent arrivals -- as well as all Hispanics -- while they're at it.

Is it okay to blame an entire class of persons for what a few have done? The myth of illegal immigrants spiking the crime rate helped kill immigration reform in 2007. And it helped pass Senate Bill 1070, Arizona's ethnic-cleaning legislation.

It might work again. It's one of the oldest tools of propaganda and control, used to inspire pogroms, whip up hatred, play on ancient fears.

The "logic" involved is that of a child's. All of the undocumented bear the sins of one or a handful. The fear has often been more general, a fear of foreigners, a fear of anything not like oneself.

What about this murderess Jodi Arias, proof positive that all who hail from Salinas, California, are maniacs? If she had just stayed put, Travis Alexander still would be alive.

Or John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban." Baptized a Catholic, I hear. Well, that explains everything, doesn't it?

All of your great serial killers -- for the most part -- all white dudes. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, BTK.

Those ofays have a monopoly on crazy; e.g., Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, and so on. Mass murder? With Joseph Stalin and that swastika guy on the History Channel in the Caucasian camp, other races and ethnicities don't stand a freaking chance.

White people, they're evil.

Okay, reductio ad absurdum, but only to make the point: It ain't nice to generalize, stereotype, stigmatize, scapegoat, or revert to ethnic McCarthyism.

And in the case of the undocumented, it's also dead wrong. There are more studies than you can shake a shillelagh at, showing that, actually, the undocumented are more likely to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble. Makes sense, if you just want to work, and avoid detection.

The libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has a number of great articles to this effect. I've always liked this passage from a Daniel Griswold piece republished on Cato's site, circa 2010:

After years of witnessing a rise in the number of illegal immigrants in their state, the people of Arizona are in reality less likely to be victims of crime than at any time in the past four decades.

Legal and illegal immigrants do commit crimes, but at rates that are generally lower than their native-born counterparts. According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, the violent crime rate in Arizona in 2008 was the lowest it has been since 1971; the property crime rate fell to its lowest point since 1966. In the past decade, as illegal immigrants were drawn in record numbers by the housing boom, the rate of violent crimes in Phoenix and the entire state fell by more than 20 percent, a steeper drop than in the overall U.S. crime rate.

"Looks it was one of your beloved illegals, Steve," one commenter posted to a Valley Fever item about the tragedy. "Now let's hear you spin this one."

Like I told him, I don't have to. Hit-and-run is wrong, no matter what the immigration status of the suspect. Would it make you feel better if it were a green card holder? What about a naturalized citizen? Or even a citizen by birth, like Jodi Arias?

Without immigration reform, the screw-ups, the criminals, the killers, they all get to stay, indefinitely. With immigration reform, the weeds are rooted out, and we keep the flowers.

Life is better with those flowers, the DREAMers like Dulce Matuz, who helped found the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, earned her electrical engineering degree from ASU, and made her way onto Time Magazine's cover.

Or the young men and women who want to serve their country, as patriotic as you'll ever find, and yet they can't drive, even while eligible for deferred action, because of Governor Jan Brewer's hateful executive order denying them.

What about the Costa Rican-born peace activist and Gold Star dad Carlos Arredondo, the hero in the cowboy hat who turned shirts into tourniquets at the Boston Marathon?

No, he's not undocumetned. But neither were the Tsarnaevs.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons