Last week I wrote that after the cameras left Tucson, the Arizona hate that is focused on Mexicans/migrants – on brown peoples, which is about 95% of all the hate in Arizona – will be back to normal. I was wrong. The massacre helped to obfuscate that hate; the cameras have not yet left Arizona and already we are being treated to a feel-good national narrative, predicated on denial, this while this war against brown peoples continues unabated.
The latest salvo is an attempt by the legislature to nullify international laws in the outlaw state of Arizona. Yes. You read this correctly.
This past week, the national narrative has been crafted as a story about heroism and healing. And it is a true and uplifting story. Yet, Arizona’s actual hate has generally been off the radar. And again, this hate isn’t necessarily about right-left, Republican vs. Democrats, conservatives (Tea Partiers) vs. Liberals. Instead, most of the hate – as manifested in the state legislature and in the public discourse – is about Mexicans/migrants and the border. And it is ugly.
Perhaps an argument can be made that this massacre is not the appropriate time to address this hate. So the question then is: when is the right time? Since 2000, thousands of migrants have died along the border. And since 2,000, the anti-Mexican legislation has steamrolled through the state legislature. And since 2000 (actually, 2001), the hate rhetoric against them has ratcheted up to unprecedented levels — equating Mexican/Central American migrants with terrorism, and now, with drug cartels. Most of the world knows about the 2010 racial profiling sb 1070. Less known is the 2010 anti-Ethnic Studies hb 2281 – an attempt to impose upon Arizona schools – a Eurocentric Master Narrative of History. On Jan. 3, Mexican American Studies-TUSD was declared illegal by the outgoing state schools superintendent. The only remedy is its elimination. This year, at least two more outrageous measures are being added to this list; one would nullify the 14th Amendment and the other will require children to turn in their parents [immigration status] to school authorities.
Worse, last week, members of Arizona’s state legislature wasted no time or did not let the tragedy get in their way of addressing Arizona’s actual hate… in their own peculiar way. Just a mere 4 days after the Jan. 8 massacre – and on the same day that the president was attempting to heal the nation – a 2012 proposal (SCR 1010) to nullify and exempt Arizona from International Law was introduced. It is not certain whether the legislators are engineering Arizona’s secession from the United States, from the community of nations or from humanity.
It was introduced by: Senators Gray, Allen, Antenori, Gould, Griffin, Nelson, Pearce R, Pierce S, Reagan, Smith; Representatives Burges, Weiers J: Senators Barto, Biggs, Bundgaard, Crandall, Klein, Melvin, Murphy, Shooter, Yarbrough. Here is the full text of SCR 1010:
Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona, the House of
Article VI, section 1, Constitution of Arizona, is proposed to be
amended as follows if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the
1. Judicial power; courts
Section 1. A. The judicial power shall be vested in an
integrated judicial department consisting of a supreme court,
such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by law, a
superior court, such courts inferior to the superior court as
may be provided by law, and justice courts.
B. IN MAKING JUDICIAL DECISIONS, THE COURTS PROVIDED FOR
IN SUBSECTION A, WHEN EXERCISING THEIR JUDICIAL AUTHORITY, SHALL
UPHOLD AND ADHERE TO THE LAW AS PROVIDED IN THE UNITED STATES
CONSTITUTION, THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE, THE UNITED STATES
CODE, FEDERAL REGULATIONS ADOPTED PURSUANT TO THE UNITED STATES
CODE, ESTABLISHED COMMON LAW, THE LAWS OF THIS STATE AND RULES
ADOPTED PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THIS STATE AND, IF NECESSARY,
THE LAWS OF ANOTHER STATE OF THE UNITED STATES PROVIDED THE LAW
OF THE OTHER STATE DOES NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL LAW. THE
COURTS SHALL NOT LOOK TO THE LEGAL PRECEPTS OF OTHER NATIONS OR
CULTURES. THE COURTS SHALL NOT CONSIDER INTERNATIONAL LAW.
2. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters
at the next general election as provided by article XXI, Constitution of
One feature of extreme conservative philosophy is its innate disdain not simply of the federal government, but their demonization of the United Nations and international laws. A question to ask; why would a state propose that the state courts “not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures.” Because they are conscious of, and have examined, their own rogue legislation? It very much appears to be the same tactic of the W. Bush administration, in the prelude to the Iraqi invasion, which attempted to exempt itself from the International Criminal Court.
Again, why this preemptive move, and why the attempt to wash its hands and pass the blame on to the citizens of this state? Perhaps because the legislators have little doubts about the mood and passion of the electorate?
A cursory examination of international laws, treaties and conventions that focus on human rights should convince the average person that Arizona’s laws this past decade, directed against Mexicans/migrants, are absolutely outside not simply of international law, but also outside of the U.S. Constitution (see: https://drcintli.blogspot.com/2011/01/updated-hornes-law-or-hornes-great.html). Virtually all international human rights laws are designed to prevent bigger nations, peoples and cultures from eliminating, dis-empowering or swallowing up smaller nations, peoples and cultures. Perhaps Arizona’s legislators are preemptively reading their own tealeaves? The recent Arizona pieces of legislation clearly appear to be aimed at forcibly removing [brown] populations [ethnic cleansing] and at forced assimilation.
In May, five UN rapporteurs issued a report warning that Arizona’s laws would lead to discrimination. Human Rights Watch has also stated that sb1070 violates the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the United States ratified in 1994. Amnesty International has similarly weighed in.
For the international and national media that is still here in Arizona, please take heed: In this state, a reinstatement of slavery would probably stand a good chance of passing; maybe not if directed at African Americans, but at brown peoples, probably.
Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at: [email protected]