Jul 11, 2010
By now, most of the world has learned that the
Republican-dominated legislature in Arizona and its unelected governor are
capable of creating laws more associated with repressive regimes - or bygone
eras - than with modern states. And it also knows it has become a magnet for
supremacists of every stripe and color.
That's not a good thing, but for those thousands who are
bankrolling Gov. Jan Brewer's defense of the state's racial profiling law SB
1070 - scheduled to go into effect July 29 - many actually believe she is
putting up a valiant defense against invading and violent [brown] hordes.
Seemingly unbeknownst to her supporters, contrary to her recent claims, the
vast majority of migrants are not involved in the drug trade. Despite Border
Patrol officials telling her otherwise, she continues with her uninformed
falsehoods and fear-mongering, with the effect of continuing to associate
migrants with [drug] criminality.
Also unbeknownst to these legislators, is that ironically,
one of their wacko laws can actually provide the solution to ending the drug
cartel violence raging across
Mexico: the state's anti-human smuggling law. In this state, migrants
can be charged and convicted of conspiring [with their coyote] to smuggle
themselves into Arizona. The law was not designed that way, but leave it to
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to interpret the law in such a manner.
After having been stripped of his 287g federal immigration
powers - stemming from his penchant for media choreographed mass dragnet raids aimed
at red-brown communities - he now relies on the state's anti-human smuggling
law to stage his dehumanizing productions.
As bizarre and abused as this law is - if emulated to fight
the drug war in the United States - the drug cartel wars in Mexico would come
to a virtual halt overnight. If the same Arpaio logic were applied to the
nation's drug trafficking laws, then every American who uses imported illegal
drugs would be complicit and guilty of conspiring to smuggle those drugs into
this country. And we would need a lot more prisons.
Either that or perhaps the drug demand by Americans would
drop quite precipitously... pronto. No one can seriously doubt that it is the
American demand for drugs that is fueling the drug cartel wars in Mexico. The
American market is extremely lucrative. Cocaine, for example, is not grown or
produced in Mexico. Yet, it is funneled through Mexico to quench the voracious
American appetite. As part of this demand, American noses and arms are
satisfied while many thousands of Mexicans die in the crossfire.
The state legislature or Congress could charge drug users
with conspiracy to smuggle the drugs they use. There is but one reason this will
never happen: We are Americans!
Americans have rules for everyone else and rules for
themselves (Invading nations without a just cause is one example). Actually, "Americans"
in this case is more specific; when it comes to drugs, there are rules for White,
middle and upper middle class Americans, and then there are rules for people of
Cocaine is the perfect example. Since 1986, there has been a
100 to 1 possession disparity between its consumption as crack (wrongly
associated with poor blacks) or in its powder form (middle class whites).
Historically, under federal law, 5 grams of crack is the same as 500 grams of
powdered cocaine. Each trigger a 5-year prison sentence. Over the past
generation, this sentencing and incarceration disparity, not coincidentally,
has long been indisputably racial in nature, resulting in the filling up of
this nation's prisons with black and brown drug offenders.
But back to how Arizona's bizarre anti-smuggling law could
be used to stem the drug cartel violence. American drug users - most of whom
are white - could be charged, not with simple possession, but with felony
conspiracy to bring in their own drugs. If applied judiciously and uniformly,
the fear of long-term prison incarceration - 10 years, for example - would invariably
dry up the fuel for the drug cartel violence.
It would also deflate the conflation between drug smuggling
As most of the world already knows, that conflation has
always been false.
Yet that's par for Arizona where bizarre is normal and truth
is difficult to find. Perhaps the Justice Department - which has now sued
Arizona over SB 1070 on the grounds that immigration policy is the purview of
the federal government, not the states - will bring a little bit of truth to
the desert. Meanwhile, 153 bodies have thus far been recovered this year in
that same merciless desert (https://www.derechoshumanosaz.net/).
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.