Feathered Bastard

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's Modest Proposal on Immigrant Children

Where the right-wing meets the sick and surreal. That's my succinct definition of Arizona. Every day in this state, one's faith in humanity is challenged when it comes to the subject of immigration. I half expect to awake each morn and find Russell Pearce's recipe for parboiled immigrant infant in my in-box. Or a coupon for Sheriff Joe's migrant meat tenderizer, with Joe's face feasting on a brown leg o' Mexican, saying, "Mmm, boy. That's good eatin."

In Sand Land, when it comes to immigration, no proposal is too out there to offend the locals. March Mexicans through the streets by the hundreds. Deny them bail. Separate moms from their kiddies. Break their arms. Their jaws. Anything goes.

So it is with this report from the self-important pooh-bah of the local Fourth Estate Howie Fischer on Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's genius idea to start asking schoolchildren about their immigration status.

Never mind that the Supreme Court long ago ruled this unconstitutional. Or the insanity of trying to deport little children based on their naive grasp of what country they might belong to. Or even the gross inhumanity of the concept. Hey, we've got moolah to save! So the doddering Dupnik suggests that what this state needs is a good test case to set before the U.S. Supreme Court. You know, kinda like Dred Scott back in the day.

In reading Fischer's calculus of the dollars and lack of sense, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a young man about to graduate from a Phoenix high school. He's currently in junior ROTC, and plans to enter the Army once he's got his diploma. His parents were both illegal, and have returned to Mexico. He only obtained a green card late last year after much legal wrangling, and having to prove to a court that he had been abused by his dad.

In other words, this young man just barely made it through the door, and in doing so, he will serve this country far more than I, or many of you reading this, ever have. One day over lunch, he explained that he only discovered he was illegal when he was in his early teens, and was picked to participate in a program that would allow him to work as an intern and make a little money. The only hangup was that he needed a Social Security Number. So he asked his parents about getting one. His father laughed at him. That's when they explained that he was illegal, and could not obtain one.

I wonder what would have happened if Sheriff Dupnik's proposed in-house school immigration enforcers interrogated this young gent before he learned that he was not a citizen. Fortunately, as it stands, Mexico's loss is our gain.

For those of you who'll kvetch about your taxes going to educate illegals, all I've got to say is that I pay for your rugrats to go to school, and no one asks me if I want to or not. If someone did ask me, I'd rather my tax money go to educate some Mexican kid whose parents risked life and limb to get here, instead of the progeny of the lumpen cracker hate-mongers, who will no doubt love Clarence Dupnik's modest proposal.

What does Dupnik do for an encore? Stick 'em in tiny cages? Feed them dogfood? Sell them as pets? Who knows? I've ceased being shocked by this state anymore. Dupnik's suggestion jumps the ever-lovin' shark.

P.S.: Thanks to Le Templar of the EV Trib for pointing out that I'd flubbed AZ dean of reporters Howie Fischer's name as Howie Seftel in the original of this post (now corrected) I must've been flashing back to my days as a food criric! Apologies to everyone but Sheriff Dupnik. Heh.

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