When Arizona Elected a Mexican Immigrant Governor

Mar 16, 2020 · 102 comments
Kurfco (California)
Ah, yes. Another example of the "progressive" word laundry in action. "Illegal alien" became "illegal immigrant" became "undocumented immigrant" became "immigrant without authorization or documentation" until, wonder of wonders, the exact same "illegal alien" was transformed into an "immigrant". In the process of undergoing this Orwellian word scrubbing, those who wanted to see our immigration laws enforced became bigots and nativists and anti-immigration zealots. To be absolutely precise and clear: the state of Arizona has never enacted any anti immigrant measures whatsoever. They have attempted to enforce US immigration law against lawbreaking illegal "immigrants". The term in the US immigration law continues to be "alien". Perhaps we should go back to using it. That way authors like this would have a hard time distorting the truth because it would be hard for them to talk about Arizona's anti alien laws.
Paul Davis (Galisteo, NM)
@Kurfco every bit of legislation and/or policy comes with costs and benefits. When Arizona passed SB1070 (which as the article noted, was largely declared unconstitutional), the presumed benefits (at least from someone with your perspective) related to "enforcing US immigration law", with presumably follow-on side effects related to reducing whatever problems were attributed to people breaking that law. Fine. The problem is that to those benefits, there are also costs. In this case, regardless of the claimed intentions of the backers of SB1070, those costs came in part from the invigoration of actually racist and sectarian sentiment, which had huge effects for many Arizonans (and others) of hispanic ancestry (regardless of their legal status as citizens or not). The costs of illegal immigration are in dispute; the consequences of something like SB1070 are very much in evidence. We live in a rich country (even if that wealth is extremely unequally distributed). I would rather live in a civil, amicable, tolerant society and pay the (I believe) low costs of some level of immigration law breaking than live in the kind of society that laws like SB1070 create.
KLK-AZ (Phoenix, AZ)
@Paul Davis I believe the benefits which you identify should be the main focus of the discussion. The cost/benefit analysis is positive for immigration in studies from demographic research as well as follow-up from resettlement actiivities for asylum seekers. However, just a point, using the term "illegal" is to by definition legalistic as is "alien" but to uses them only is to agree with both the inhumane policies as well as the nativist past, to demonize the 'other' as sub-human. we need a way of talking to get to better policies.
Aurora Apollo (Arizona)
Thank you - enforcing our laws does not equate to being racist or anti immigrant.
Dale Mccormick (Augusta, Maine)
What a fascinating article! Simon Romero’s engaging style of writing pulls you into the story of Arizona’s descent into officially sanctioned racism and its recovery from it.
Dan (Sandy, Ut)
It is disturbing that our very own president, a descendent of immigrants, well, white immigrants and his henchman Miller, another descendant of minority immigrants, bleat and bray the loudest in their belief that all non-white immigrants, legal and illegal, are “bad hombres”. I grew up in a small town that had a fairly large population of Latinos. And many became my close friends. Likewise with “native” Americans-our first nations people. Brown-skin meant nothing to me as my roots are southern Europe-Italian. The nativism and bigotry toward Latino people, and people of color of any race, has never been erased. The racism has always festered unseen-until Trump. Until race-baiting. Until the drug issue (in which the white people helped grow with the demand for a white powder). So, it became the scree-all brown people are bad. None are citizens. Ship all of them back to Mexico (provided the fruit and vegetables are first picked). I had hopes in my 70 years, years witnessing the Jim Crow days, the race riots and Dr. King’s speech at the Mall, that we would mature to the point that racism was thing of the past. Nope. It has a new life. A life fed by many of our politicians. And I grieve for my country if this is the direction it will take.
Dave (New Jersey)
The Times took the Border Patrol stop out of context, apparently to sensationalize the story. Leave that to Faux News.....I mean, Fox News.....no, right the first time, please. "hen family friend Anne Doan drove former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro up to the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 earlier this month, the agent had an unusual question. She asked if Castro had had a recent medical procedure, Doan said. The question led to a half-hour detention of the former governor that displayed the ability of Border Patrol agents to detect small doses of radiation. For Doan, it also showed the agents' inability to adequately accommodate frail people in the midsummer heat. "I'm not saying they're bad people," Doan said. "They were doing their job, but they weren't using their heads."" "Apparently, the procedure involved radiation, Castro said, because the agent had detected radiation coming from the vehicle Doan was driving. In a brief phone interview, Castro said the procedure followed up an earlier pacemaker procedure he had in March." https://tucson.com/news/local/border/border-patrol-detains-former-arizona-gov-castro-after-radiation-alarm/article_f9517e5f-d600-53bb-9e13-d8de6d0d1e68.html
Shamrock (Westfield)
The story didn’t tell the reader Mr. Castro was stopped because his recent medical test he set off a radiation detector. This incident occurred after 9/11. I want law enforcement to investigate radiation in a car. Since the author had plenty of space to include this crucial bit of information I can only conclude the story was meant to mislead or the reporter had no clue what they were writing about. Either way this would not have been printed in my high school newspaper because of its false content.
Glenn (Sacramento)
@Shamrock Seriously? It was 2013. I can't imagine there was still a lot of post-9/11 angst among the police in Arizona at the time. In any case, "investigating radiation" shouldn't have included forcing a 96-year-old to stand outside in the 100-degree heat without water. Personally, I didn't feel at all mislead by the article, and I think this reporter knew exactly what he was writing about.
Rich Gomez (Kansas City, MO)
@Shamrock : I would like to know the basis of your claim with facts because I find your accusation of radiation to be suspect. I am not an Arizonan but a transplanted Coloradoan, Retired Army and USEPA employee and Hispanic with preconceived notions about Arizona's political history. When you read and hear about all this racism it boggles my mind that it continues today even in my Arizona family (cousins and niece), my own niece who grew up in California shocks my sensibilities, two days ago she asked me about the census and the specific about how to answer the question of race/culture, in the past she has always answered caucasian/white and not Hispanic and all I could tell her is she is honestly caucasian Hispanic. I guess what I am saying is racism is not confined to any one race or culture afterall we are all still Human.
Dan Mitchell (San Jose, CA)
“It’s extremely troubling that we’re now repeating, front and center on the national stage, a painful chapter in Arizona history.” As a Californian, this line caught my attention. It can be extrapolated beyond Arizona and beyond the issue of how we treat immigrants. Arizona conducted an extremist experiment during the Arpaio era, and the Right thought this was going to be a winner for them. They were wrong, and in the end their extremism will likely take power away from them for a long time. California did something similar more than a decade ago. We were on an anti-tax binge for several decades, going back to the notorious Proposition 13. The right jumped on that and ran with it. Due to a quirk of the California constitution, budget passage requires 2/3 approval by the legislature. The increasingly radical Republican minority began to "just say no" to essentially any budgetary legislation, holding the state budget hostage and doing tremendous damage to schools, public services, infrastructure. Eventually, their out-of-touch radicalism set off a statewide response. VOTERS threw them out of _every_ statewide office, reduced their legislative representation to below 1/3, passed a tax initiative to dig us out of this mess , and turned the vast majority of our congressional districts blue. The California Republican Party ended up making itself virtually irrelevant. America? Are you listening to California and Arizona?
Natasha (Southern California)
Sadly that is likely why Republicans started cheating by gerrymandering districts across the country. Even during the last national election Democrats narrowly won the House despite overwhelmingly more votes. Also in several states Republicans gained in their state chambers despite Democrats having a clearly higher number of votes.
kathleen cairns (San Luis Obispo Ca)
Great story. The reporter did a phenomenal job capturing the long and tortured history. of anti-Latino sentiment in Arizona. California also had a militia movement near the border. But much smaller. And the subject of much derision. But what happened to Mr. Castro? Was he let go without further incident? Maybe I missed it.
Michael Skadden (Houston, Texas)
Racism is the original sin of our Republic, and it lives with us today -in Arizona and elsewhere.
William Case (United States)
The Border Patrol agent who detained former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro for 30 minutes at a Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 did not suspect he was an illegal immigrant. Since the 9-11 attacks, agents wear small radiation-detection devices on their belts. Castro triggered the a radiation detector. The radiation was apparently caused by a medical procedure performed on Castro the previous day at Tucson Heart Hospital. The agent directed the car to secondary inspection area, where other agents asked Castro and the driver, Ann Doan, to wait beneath a canopy. They used a machine to scan Castro and then released his. The stop took about 30 minutes. It had nothing to do with Castro’s ethnicity or immigration status. https://tucson.com/news/local/border/border-patrol-detains-former-arizona-gov-castro-after-radiation-alarm/article_f9517e5f-d600-53bb-9e13-d8de6d0d1e68.html
kathleen cairns (San Luis Obispo Ca)
@William Case Thanks. You answered my question.
Sancarloscharlie (San Carlos, Sonora MEX)
@William Case I drive through the CBP's Tubac AZ checkpoint regularly and I can assure you that racial profiling is standard practice there. I happen to be an old, graying gringo and have never once been stopped, just waved through. The officers peer through the driver side window, take one look, and I'm on my way. Driving while brown makes for a very different story at every CBP checkpoint I've passed through along the AZ/Sonora border.
Jus' Me, NYT (Round Rock, TX)
Glad nothing like Arizona's racism ever happened in Texas. (Snark). In fact, the very elite branch of state law enforcement, the Texas Rangers, was formed to kill Mexicans and Indians.
Peter (Valle de Angeles)
It's somewhat hard to understand both the offer as well the acceptance to serve as Ambassador to Argentina, given Mr. Castro's critical presence as Governor of Arizona. But, thankfully there were finally consequences for the State's politics. In this case, economic.
Tom Walsh (Encinitas, CA)
As a former Arizona resident and Arizona real estate broker I was proud to have ardently supported Raul Castro in his election for Governor. He was a most honorable man. I was a resident during the time some of the most respected politicians such as the Udall's, DeConcini's and Goddard were foremost in Arizona's political makeup. I left Arizona to take up residence in California and lamented the destruction of civility that ensued in Arizona politics.
DDC (12)
I read this column and another opinion column on politics in Arizona. Republicans fail all people. Latino voters and citizens are making a real difference. Stay strong and vote Democratic.
William (Massachusetts)
A lesson we need to learn over and over again.
Daniel (Florida)
Let’s see come November when Trump’s stooge McSally has to defend her appointed Senate seat versus Mark Kelly and Trump will have to defend against Biden. With viral driven recession one would think the incumbents would be ousted but you never know.
Grant (Some_Latitude)
That border agents wouldn't let a 96-year old man's friend give him water in 100deg heat tells you everything you need to know about that organization.
SD (London)
I wonder why the media/activists/BGOs mix "illegal immigration" with "immigration". These are completely different things. The Rancher is also an immigrant as his ancestors came to the continent from Europe. But clearly they would have followed the rules that applied at that time (as can be seen in early documents from that period) and not jump across a fence (in which case, back in the day in the wild west, you will be shot dead as an intruder). Most western stories/movies has sentences like "..a stranger walked into town one day..." or a movie scene features a stranger walking into a bar and everyone stops and turns in silence, staring at him..... An unknown person wandering around has always considered suspicious throughout human history. This is basic human nature. It boggles my mind, how, when you see strangers walking across your property, you are supposed to disregard them and have zero response. The "illegal" bit of immigration needs to be addressed. And no that is not Xenophobia, its common sense.
kathleen cairns (San Luis Obispo Ca)
@SD Not all European immigrants came legally. Many came in through Canada, trying to avoid Ellis Island. They came in through midwest border states, then hooked up with railroad, mining companies and ranchers, taking their livestock to market via railroads. Not so monolithic when you examine it closely.
Petra Lopez (Colorado)
@SD as @CatherineCairns says, a vast part of the European immigration came illegally, starting with your British ancestors who came to this continent and killed many natives. If you cannot see the racism in racial-profiling, you should not be opining on articles like this one.
John D (San Diego)
With all due respect to the authors’s agenda, “hardline immigration policies” are hardly at risk in the midst of a global pandemic.
john fiva (switzerland)
Let's face it, the southwest is as much mexican as it is american; historically and morally. Not to mention that indigenous tribes have their stake to claim. We were residents of Sedona for many years and while the setting is spectacularly beautiful, it is by no means typical for Arizona. No wonder John McCain chose Cornville!
Petra Lopez (Colorado)
@john fiva Arizona means 'arid zone' in Spanish... that's how Mexican Arizona is.
Amy Blakeney (The Angeles)
Don't get me wrong; I grew up in Arizona and am very well aware of how such hatred spreads and invades. Spanish has been denigrated. And that state elected **ELECTED** Sheriff Joe Arpaio, again and again. However, I am very confused by the caption, as it states no Latinos have been elected to the AZ state Legislature . . . there are many on the roles, right now. One with the shared name, Cesar Chavez; there are Rodriquez's, Hernandez, Contreras, Gonzalez, Mendez, Navarette, etc in both the state House and Senate. One US House of Representative member: Grijalva.
Dan (Sandy, Ut)
@Amy Blakeney The “state” did not elect Arpaio, the county elected and reelected him-until the legal bills came due.
T Smith (Texas)
As I recall the immigrant elected governor was in this country legally, or am I mistaken? I think that it is great. Immigrants have brought great value to this county and will continue to do so. But the key word is legally. We should expand and accelerate legal residency. But this will not happen in the absence of enforcement of our immigration laws. Legal and illegal. Know the difference.
Susan (Eastern WA)
I remember voting for Mr. Castro as a new teacher, recently graduated from ASU, in Picacho, AZ. I had lovely mixed classes of Yaqui, Mexican-American, and Anglo kindergarten kids. It was a blow to the state, but an honor as well, when he was appointed ambassador.
ash (Arizona)
@Susan I taught at Picacho, from 1979-1983! When were you there? (sorry, off topic but would love to know more!) I just retired from teaching aftrer 30 years, have fond memories of the town, the people, the school and the kids!
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
This a shocking story. I knew it was bad in AZ, but I didn't know it was this bad. We here in CA suffered through race hate against Chinese, but that was more than a hundred years ago.
F. Ahmed (New York)
Like most Americans with an immigrant past, it’s heartbreaking to fathom the intense hatred towards Hispanics that is the lifeblood of White supremacy.
Eugene (Washington D.C.)
@F. Ahmed You probably haven't heard of Hispanic supremacy. There is an organized effort called "La Reconquista" which aims to conquer the territories of the United States. There are groups called "Mecha" and "La Raza," some quite violent, which promote this ideology as well.
F. Ahmed (New York)
@Eugene I’m certain there are people of every race, culture and ethnicity who feel superior to others and hold prejudices towards others. However their numbers dwarf in comparison to the deeply ingrained and widespread loathing of everything Hispanic that defines the white supremacy.
The Arizonan (Arizona)
Right-wing Anglos – you know, those are the Europeans folks that came over here and made themselves at home – should give some thought to a popular tee shirt that’s widely available here in the Southwest. It’s a sepia photo of some very serious looking Native Americans with the descriptor: “Homeland Security”.
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
@The Arizonan @The Arizonan Columbus didn't discover America. He invaded it.
Jus' Me, NYT (Round Rock, TX)
@Bob Stop it already. He discovered it. That many did invade it, came after him. And the reason he discovered it is that our dominant culture is European, hence from a European perspective, this continent was discovered. And if you don't think that somehow the residents of North America found Europe that they wouldn't have done the same, you are pretty naive.
The Arizonan (Arizona)
@Jus' Me, NYT WOW!
Bert (PNW)
Thanks for writing this piece. Viva la Raza!
Plato (CT)
Hate is like a virus. The contagion spreads like wildfire. But just like with a virus, we have to keep fighting it. And then a new one will spring somewhere else. You have to fight that too.
Andrew (Phoenix)
Fear and ignorance are the seeds of hate. Unfortunately too often fear is made a weapon strategically to move the masses.
Bis K (Australia)
Everytime i read an article like this about how american white southerners harbour shocking rascism and mistreat american indians, africans and hispanics i just shake my head in disbelief. America can be such an umpleasant place to live.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Bis K Australians have been so humanitarian toward indigenous peoples and immigrants it is breathtaking. You keep illegal aliens on islands in detention camps. Must be nice to feel entitled to such self righteousness.
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
@Bis K Yep, we're one big happy family.
jbc (falls church va)
but we pretend to be better. look at our national myths about Native Americans. do you think the detention camps operated by ICE are somehow better because they're not on Islands? need I remind you of the internment of Japanese-Americans? and finally, of course there is America's Original Sin--slavery, enshrined in our founding and in the Constitution
Armo (San Francisco)
In my opinion, the drift towards extreme right, nationalism, and discriminatory practices started well before...the reagan administration and nixon before him drove the social wedge between whites and "others" - basically the republicans whom will and should be remembered as the me first, party second, and country a distant third, group of uncaring, racist people, have put us where we are today.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Armo Convenient that you ignore the fact that the rise of unions in the 1930's was to prevent Black men from the south from competing with white men for jobs. If you weren't a member of the union, you couldn't get a job in a closed shop and you couldn't join the union unless sponsored by existing members, who just happened to be white men. The North may contend that they fought the Civil War to end slavery, but that doesn't mean they actually wanted and Black people to migrate north. Southern states remained overwhelmingly governed by Democrats until well into the 1990's. The Jim Crow south was all Democrat. NYC and its suburbs have the most segregated school systems in the country, despite being governed by Democrats. Please explain how Nixon and Reagan, both California Republicans, are responsible for the racism of Democrats?
DShabri (Las Palmas, Gran Canaria)
@ebmem I think you (whether deliberately or the otherwise) missed the fact that southern Democrats switch side to Republican once LBJ signed the Civil Right Act. Jim Crow was Democrat actually equivalent to Joe Arpaio. They (the southern Dems) have switched sides in the late 1960s. I guess putting the timeline on the proper track make it easier to put things in into context.
Armo (San Francisco)
@ebmem Oh, you must have missed reagan's "welfare queens in cadillacs" comment and nixon's "southern strategy". Those that don't study history are doomed to repeat it.
Eugene (NYC)
Arizona certainly has enacted and supported some truly awful policies, But immigrants have had some successes, too. My aunt, Alice Papcun and her husband George, moved there from New York to provide George relief from his emphysema that resulted from working in the coal mines. They were typical New York liberals, so they started a chapter of the ACLU - the Arizona Civil Liberties Union. And even got Barry Goldwater's support. And, understanding that progress comes in small bites, they got some school kids interested in government. One of them, Raúl Grijalva, is now a member of Congress. They even elected a woman as attorney-general, Janet Napolitano. And as the article points out, times may be a changing.
JasonM (Park Slope)
Back when Arizona passed SB 1070, and California passed Prop. 187, many liberals solemnly claimed that "states don't have the right to set their own immigration policy--that's a federal matter." Now, of course, the very same liberals are enthusiastically cheering the many sanctuary cities that openly defy federal immigration policy. The only principle in question is: How can we help the maximum number of people to break the immigration laws of this country?
Kathleen Warnock (New York City)
@JasonM People seeking asylum are not breaking the law.
KLK-AZ (Phoenix, AZ)
@JasonM The only principle in question is: How can we align state and federal law with American values and American values with Human Rights.
Viv (.)
@Kathleen Warnock Seeking economic opportunity is not asylum. Even if it was, how is it *not* discriminatory to grant preferential asylum to those lucky enough to walk across the border? The legal immigration business generates over $1 billion/year in revenue for lawyers and the US government. Why should anybody bother to pay them a dime if legal immigration doesn't mean anything? Immigrants who want to move to the US sacrifice a great deal to be able to afford *legal* immigration.
Eugene (Washington D.C.)
This is just one-sided advocacy. And note how he writes, "screen out undocumented workers, disqualify undocumented immigrants" as if it's a bad thing. There's no mention of the evils of illegal immigration. I want to point out that the people who oppose illegal immigration aren't just white. Many Asians also oppose it because they went through the legal channel, and also, African-Americans voted for Joe Biden, which is a signal to these pro-Hispanic groups that blacks also aren't in love with open borders.
Tejano (South Texas)
No group is affected more by illegal immigrants than Mexican Americans in the Southwest. In spite of that, the same people are reluctant to speak out against illegal immigration because of family ties or just a feeling of affinity for Hispanic people.
KLK-AZ (Phoenix, AZ)
@Eugene It's good to see some history of the state to which i moved from the state in which I grew up, Virginia. It is good to see the diversity of Arizona as well as the continued evolution of Virginia. Hope to continue seeing tolerance and diversity in Texas, the state of my birth.
AR (Virginia)
Well, that was a disturbing overview of Arizona politics which was actually somewhat of a relief to read as a diversion from the news about the current implosion of the United States economy. To give you an idea of how extreme Arizona politics has become, by the time he died in 1998 Barry Goldwater was a political moderate by the state's standards.
GWPDA (Arizona)
@AR - Yes he was. Because as a Goldwater, like the Babbitts, the DeConcinis, the Fannins, the Rhodes and the Flakes - he held the state and the state's citizens, no matter their background nor color, nor ethnicity as the most important thing. Yes, we knew his politics were dreadful. But we also knew that he put Arizona first. Always.
Miss Anne Thrope (Utah)
@GWPDA - Keepin' the pork flowin' is all that counts?
Anne Doan (Nogales)
You DID it Simon Romero, your article gives a clear picture of that horrible moment when the Border Patrol would not give Governor Castro a drink of water, at age 96. Thanks to Governor Castro, the Border Patrol now has a lot of water for anyone who might need it. The Governor was such a diplomat. Thank you for your kind words about him.
Tom (East Tin Cup)
Lou Good (Page, AZ)
Moved here in 2007 and I assure you this is the most racist state I've ever been to or lived in, and I lived in Texas for years. It's slowly changing but the unabashed hatred of brown people is encouraged by many of the most popular politicians in the state. For many, Joe Arpaio is still a god. Ducey isn't much better, just a slicker package. And don't think it's just Hispanic immigrants. It started with natives. The lengths the state goes to inhibit voting on the rez is unbelievable, among many other things. Changing? Slowly, very slowly which is why the legislature is trying as hard as they can to pass these draconian bills before they lose their majority. Just watch, they'll introduce one blaming the Chinese for the coronavirus, insisting they apologize to Donald Trump and I ain't kidding.
Edgar (NM)
@Lou Good You are exactly correct. Old timers in Arizona were different. Life there was a struggle for everyone. After the dust bowl lots of people came in and remade Arizona into something different. I should know...older family from The Blue.
GWPDA (Arizona)
Raul Castro was an exceptionally good governor for Arizona. I very well remember the scandal when the migra targetted him - it was ignorant and shameful. Arizona's history dates far longer than 1964 and its citizens and residents are far more than the midwestern snowbirds who turn up every so often, or the 3-year residents who flee to Oregon or California after enduring their second summer. Most of us who have been here for a long time will admit to wishing there were some way to prevent immigrants from the middle part of the country from wandering through Arizona - but we'll accept you if you'll just stop behaving as though everybody here before you were fools and primitives. Would that day come sooner rather than later.
Susan (Tucson)
At one time I was very proud of my new state. They elected a Hispanic governor and seemed to have a growing respect for people who were different from themselves. Then sometime the hate built back up. And hit with a vengence. How could a man who had been a respected governor of our state be denied a drink of water? How could a child be murdered by a group of thieves?
Layo (TX)
Nothing new under the sun. Humanity is capable of the worst And we are capable of the best. Racists will be racists as sure as we all come into the world with nothing and leave it with nothing.
Johnnytwotimes (Matawan nj)
@Layo true enough but humans have the most elastic minds of all and the chance for epiphany and a change of opinion are there as long as there is life. Lead by example, love to provide an example.
alan haigh (carmel, ny)
This article is equal parts fascinating and appalling. We will never overcome our genetic tendencies towards petty tribalism though any venue besides cultural evolution. Quicker than the genetic kind with humans, but way way too slow with two steps forward and a step and a half back. Trump represents the steps back- a true powerhouse of anti cultural evolution.
alan haigh (carmel, ny)
This article is equal parts fascinating and appalling. We will never overcome our genetic tendencies towards petty tribalism though any venue besides cultural evolution. Quicker than the genetic kind with humans, but way way too slow with two steps forward and a step and a half back. Trump represents the steps back- a true powerhouse of anti cultural evolution.
alan haigh (carmel, ny)
This article is equal parts fascinating and appalling. We will never overcome our genetic tendencies towards petty tribalism though any venue besides cultural evolution. Quicker than the genetic kind with humans, but way way too slow with two steps forward and a step and a half back. Trump represents the steps back- a true powerhouse of anti cultural evolution.
Ove (Norway)
This is a tremendously good article. It tells us how people react and simplify. We think racism is about color, it's not it is about culture. They different, they believe different, they criminals, rapist child molesters, they are everything that is bad. This was how Holocaust started, with creating fear and fear and hate are related, and then we have it going. How do we fight it? If aware in time words and reflection is the way, the alternative is far worse ant that is war!
Mike (Buffalo, NY)
The extremes of the immigration debate have taken over. The vast majority of the country support limited legal immigration with a clear policy, which doesn’t involve a wall nor does it involve inviting every foreign citizen in. A big part of Trumps success is not the small crowd like sheriff Joe, but the many who see the hollowing out of our own domestic manufacturing economy and local poverty and don’t understand how in this situation widespread immigration helps their(our) community.
Blanche White (South Carolina)
@Mike Well said. The view on the ground tends to annihilate the reasoning of those trumpeting the benefits of immigration, legal and illegal. That's what makes people who can see the evidence so angry to constantly be told that immigration is a net positive. Even Macron has reversed his position by saying the people, who are the ones effected by mass immigration, have a right to be upset and that the upper classes might feel the same way if they has suffered the effects that the lower classes have.
As an Arizonan, I am deeply ashamed of our anti-immigration hysteria. Our economy would come to a grinding halt without the contributions of Hispanic workers. In fact, Hispanic workers do the work we Americans are just too delicate for. And, they do it with more gratitude, professionalism, and pride. The former sheriff, that inhumane, racist, creep, Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by our great president, is running for sheriff again at age 87. That is how delusional that guy is. Arpaio may think he is the toughest sheriff in America, but many of us well-remember the terror he wrought on the Hispanic community. Arpaio's "Tent City" was a concentration camp, where prisoners slept in 130 degree heat, were forced to wear pink underwear, and worked in chain gangs. We reasonable Arizonans hope Mark Kelly beats Martha McSally in the Senate race, and that we "turn blue" in the 2020 presidential election.
T Smith (Texas)
@MC Are you discussing legal or illegal immigrants? My experience has been that those who come here legally have little sympathy for who not. I support expended legal immigration and oppose illegal immigration. I know the difference. Do you?
SD (London)
@MC You are reffering to Hispanic workers who jump the border illegally or those who have valid visas? I am from India and in all my contracts I am asked to show my visa status and show that I am eligible to work in the UK. I dont see this as racism. They are simply making sure I qualif and dont end up being a burden to the country. The Mexican immigrant has numerous visas to choose from. Including temporary agricultural work visas to work in the farms. Or he can stand in line to immigrate just like every one else. Where is the problem ?
Miss Anne Thrope (Utah)
@SD - The problem is those who overstay their visas, not those who "jump the border".
Isle (Washington, DC)
The picture of the State Senator shows him surrounded by Latino ranchers as his supporters, and so many conservative Latinos have been very instrumental in creating anti-Latino immigrant sentiments in AZ, under the mistaken belief that these transplants, etc. are their allies.
Mike (San Diego)
All you need to know about Arizona and racism is this: in 1942, Arizona legislators didn’t feel that the state’s miscegenation laws went far enough; as a result, they passed legislation that made it illegal for anyone of mixed race to marry ANYONE at all. That law remained in force until 1962.
James (DC)
Here's another article which fails to make a clear distinction between legitimate and illegal immigration. When this tactic is used it renders a balanced, intelligent discussion of the issues impossible.
GEO2SFO (San Francisco)
What happened in California and is happening in Arizona will sweep the SouthWest including Texas. Lest we forget, the Republican party, pre-Trump, realized this and made it part of their platform to broaden its base. After all, Latinos are not just farm workers and dishwashers but are entrepreneurs and lead the nation is starting their own businesses. The Republican party has lost a generation of people of Hispanic descent and that 30% of Arizona will become 30% of the electorate.
Jus' Me, NYT (Round Rock, TX)
@GEO2SFO Here is TX, urban areas are already strongly blue. It's only the rural areas and counties that vote red. I live in Williamson County, immediately north of Austin. In the 2016 election, the thought of as conservative seat of Georgetown went blue, as did the much larger city I live in. That election saw 16 IIRC seats in the legislature flip to blue. We are turn TX blue, election by election.
Maxine Chanin (Englewood CO)
I knew Governor Castro. He was a frequent customer in my store. What a wonderful gentleman, always willing to share his opinions and explain his philosophy. He was an immigration attorney at that point after his term as Governor, he represented many immigrants pro bono. I wish there were many more people like him.
zizzi (phoenix)
I came to Arizona for my health at the direction of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. and went to college at ASU in 1967. I had never met a Latino before but shortly learned to love them, their culture, their music and their food. I stayed here after graduation and have worked in government for over 50 years. The years described in this article were very hard to live through. The hate was overt and applauded by the powers that be and the treatment of Latino's horrific. US citizens were routinely stopped and asked for their papers. I thought I was in Germany. I thank God every day that people from other parts of the country are coming here and changing the nativism and outright prejudice that still exists, but not as much as when it was run by Arpaio, Pearce, Brewer and their ilk. We have a long way to go and I hope I live to see the day when Latinos are given the respect they deserve, not hassled because they are brown. I'm not sure I can live long enough to see them in the majority, but I will smile from my final resting place at the irony of it all.
ann (Seattle)
"Another Arizonan, Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers co-founder who was born in Yuma in 1927, had mobilized Latinos against a law limiting union organizing in Arizona’s fields." Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration. He knew that farm worker wages could be kept low, if a continuing flow of illegal migrants into the country were willing to work for low wages. Bernie Sanders used to be against illegal immigration for the same reason - the illegal workers would undercut citizens who were asking for higher wages or better working conditions. See the 3/6/20 Washington Post article "For years, Bernie Sanders warned that increased immigration would lower the wages of U.S. workers. Now he barely mentions it".
KLK-AZ (Phoenix, AZ)
@ann Cesar Chavez was against the manipulation of "legal immigration" by the agricultural lobby in the soouthwest, especially the Bracero program which was enshrined into law, and then manipulated. Unionization for farmworkers by Chavez produced higher more stable wages. Sanders has been fighting for a rational immigration program to stop the disruption by special interests of unionization activities as well as for union workers. So, he is still fighting for workers' rights. https://ufw.org/research/history/ufw-history/ In the middle to shift your argument from Arizona to an anti-Bernie statement citing Washington Post, about a Lou Dobbs interview. In it your assumption is challenged and has been repeatedly - economists do not think that immigrants depress wages automatically. https://www.npr.org/2017/08/04/541321716/fact-check-have-low-skilled-immigrants-taken-american-jobs Also, Sanders repeatedly says that he is against large corporations subsidizing inflows of immigrants to serve as their slave labor. Please don't cherry pick or misinterpret the argument about immigration both legal and illegal and how it is currently supported and who benefits. We need a good immigration policy discussion.
Steve (Idaho)
@ann Chavez fought for illegal immigrants to be able to join unions in the US. If every agricultural worker was required to be paid according to union rules it didn't matter if they brought in illegal immigrants. That is the essence of unionization. All workers employed by a company are covered by the union contract. This is another xenophobic fear-mongering tactic to scapegoat desperate people.
HapinOregon (Southwest Corner of Oregon)
Arizona's change is due to the influx of retirees from Rust Belt states who brought their prejudices with them along with their union benefits and social security checks...
wmferree (Middlebury, CT)
@HapinOregon “brought their prejudices with them along with their union benefits and social security checks...” You nailed it. Explains the phenomenon of southern “red states”. Maybe one reason I feel more comfortable back in cold country after twenty years plus living in the south.
Sal (SF Bay Area)
Great article about Arizona politics, Latinos, & immigration. I'm hoping that Arizona eventually reacts like California did to prop 187. When a political party attacks it's own citizens with legislation, it's only common sense that those people are not going to vote/support that party. The Latino demographic is growing in Arizona as it was in California. Prop 187 in California made conservative Latinos realize that Republicans did not want them in Arizona and created a generation of Latinos that will never forget and will not vote republican when they are able to vote. California is now a supermajority Democratic state. This is due to the fact that Latinos know from experience that the Republican party is racist and it will be a long time before that generation is gone.
Mon Ray (KS)
@Sal All nations have requirements for, and limitations on, who may become citizens and how. Most Americans welcome LEGAL immigrants, but do not want ILLEGAL immigrants. They recognize that the US cannot afford (or choose not) to support our own citizens: the poor, the ill, elderly, disabled, veterans, et al., and that they and other US taxpayers cannot possibly support the 20 million illegal immigrants already in the US, much less the hundreds of millions of foreigners who would like to come here. US laws allow foreigners to seek entry and citizenship. Those who do not follow these laws are in this country illegally and should be detained and deported; this is policy in other countries, too. The cruelty lies not in limiting legal immigration, or detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, or forcing those who wish to enter the US to undergo processing and review. What is cruel, unethical and probably illegal is encouraging parents to bring their children on the dangerous trek to US borders and teaching the parents how to game the system to enter the US by falsely claiming asylum, persecution, etc. Indeed, many believe bringing children on such perilous journeys constitutes child abuse. No other nation has open borders, nor should the US.
Maurie Beck (Encino, California)
@Mon Ray You don’t seem to have read the article. Former Governor Castro was an American citizen. Gina Gonzalez and her partner, Raul Flores Jr., 29, and her 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were American citizens gunned down by the white supremacist trash you apparently have fond feelings for. Yes, Robert Krentz Jr. was killed, and he very well might have been killed by drug cartel criminals, but that still doesn’t excuse the vigilantism you seem to rationalize away with your Trumpian anti immigrant scare tactics. You are a bloody racist. One more thing. No one is advocating open borders. I know Trump, the Republican Party, Fox News, and Breitbart have been selling that canard since the Tea Party and the Evangelical Christians took over the Republican Party and elected that fool in the White House. If you don’t believe me, ask any Democrat. The US is a sovereign country. Under all law, international or otherwise, countries can protect their borders and restrict who enters. The more relevant question is not whether countries have a right to limit who can enter our country, but how countries enforce sovereignty; with the rule of law or extrajudicial means? And countries certainly don’t have a right to terrorize their own citizens or a specific group of citizens.
KLK-AZ (Phoenix, AZ)
@Maurie Beck Thanks for pointing out that in the comment from @Mon Ray (also @Kurfco) that the straw man of "open borders" & 'letting in everyone' is used to characterize Democrats or anyone advocating an energizing and humane immigration policy.
ExileFromNJ (Maricopa County AZ)
I came here from NJ because this was once a part of Mexico. I loved and miss the diversity that can be found back in Jersey. After 18 months I have nothing bad to say about the Mexicans, Native Americans or anybody else that I have encountered. Depressed sections of the cities are no different than in any other urban area. Good people are good people.
arp (East Lansing)
There seems to be a connection between those who do not respect historical accuracy and those who do not respect people.
Sufferin' Succotash (Bethesda, MD)
@arp Historical accuracy means finding out the truth about people. Not respecting one automatically means not respecting the other.
See also