By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
XColumn@gmail.com - http://drcintli.blogspot.com/
For several thousand years, Arizona was a great place to live. Then Gov. Brewer became governor… joining Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the undisputed rulers of this now, godforsaken desert… Actually, Arizona is still a great place to live, primarily because it is the home of numerous human rights organizations, including Tucson’s Derechos Humanos, perhaps the premier immigrant/human rights organization in the nation. And now, Derechos needs our assistance.
The Tucson/Arizona desert is where migrants die horrific deaths; this is where the fences and walls are. It is la cuna de la migra. This is where all the high-tech wizardry is deployed, including drones and all kinds of military troops and vehicles. Here is where migrants – Mexicans, on either side of the border – are also shot with impunity. When people think of militarization of the border, this is ground zero.
This is also the home of operation streamline - an operation that would've been the pride and envy of apartheid South Africa. This is the kangaroo court that charges some 70 migrants with illegal entry, tries, convicts and sentences them to private prisons, all within an hour, every day, since the Bush days. Not coincidently, there is a national campaign to shut this operation down – which includes a series of National Days of Action (Feb 19 in Tucson, 12:30 in front of Federal Building) leading up to a Feb 22 legislative hearing in DC.
Not to be forgotten is that Arizona is the home of much repressive legislation, including the racial profiling SB 1070 (which has been exported nationwide) and the anti-ethnic studies HB 2281. It is also where relentless extremist politicos continue to try to overturn the 14th amendment - which ensures birthright citizenship. Amid these assaults, Derechos Humanos has uncompromisingly and continually risen to answer the call of history for a generation (20-year anniversary this June), to combat the injustices and the inhumanity of this nation’s immigration policies. This, amid death threats, and attempts to fire those affiliated with Derechos (several years ago Arpaio tried to get Isabel Garcia fired over a piñata incident).
Derechos needs $7,000 to stay alive and it needs it by the end of February. Those of us who live in Arizona know that we have asked the country over and over for support for our many battles. And people have given it because they understand that Arizona is this nation’s anti-rights laboratory. People everywhere understand that and they also understand that human rights are not handed to anybody and that there are perils involved in these struggles. Please go to their website and donate whatever you can (I will send $70… so we now need 99 other people (colleagues and allies) to step forward with this same amount. Go to: