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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

AZ legislators manipulate Constitution

After Gov. Jan Brewer released her budget proposal on Jan. 14 to cut $170 million from higher education, Sen. Russell Pearce took it upon himself to inflict his personal vendettas on the state, taking attention away from the budget crises.

Ignoring the national debate and tension that arose from S.B. 1070 in Arizona last year, Pearce deems it even more necessary than ever to enforce more debate and tension around laws that affect human rights.

The next focus is on the 14th Amendment: giving American citizenship to individuals born in the U.S.

Pearce appeared on “”Anderson Cooper 360″” on Jan. 5 to debate his stance on why he wants to invalidate this amendment for Mexican immigrants specifically.

When asked why, he claimed, “”It belonged to one group only: the African-Americans.””

Host Anderson Cooper attempted to intervene politely with research he had to deny that claim (despite Pearce’s child-like interruptions). The research he presented examined the history of the 14th Amendment and its connection to Chinese immigrants. If we look back to the beginning of border policy in America, we see the accuracy in Cooper’s statement. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first significant push to restrict the immigration of Chinese immigrants into America from Mexico. It also prompted the creation of Border Patrol.  

Since Arizona is too financially and ideologically invested in the racial profiling of brown people, legislators like Pearce will do anything to disregard the historical evidence of another population excluded from the border debate.

After Pearce’s “”unconstitutional declaration of citizenship”” assertion, he was finally coerced, one minute later, to acknowledge the presence of Chinese immigrants in America’s complicated past. Applause for Cooper’s wit and charm.  

The interview continues for what seems like hours of Pearce’s lack of self-control to just sit tight and take an intellectual hit from CNN’s Political Contributor, Paul Begala; who, by the way, pointed out that, “”You can’t say the constitution is unconstitutional.””

Because isn’t it the beauty of the constitution to be contextually flexible?

If it can only be applied to a certain period of time, who will speak up for this violation of human rights now? Arizona’s governor wants to strip our campuses of millions of dollars but a senator wants to deny priority to our education to fight a battle that won’t solve anything financially?

Once again, education will forever be affected by the decisions Arizona politicians decide to make. That includes an upcoming bill, S.B. 1097, that would force school districts to “”keep track”” of their undocumented students or else they’ll lose state funding.

Even behind the scenes of education discussions, the top priority of the legislature is to prove to the nation how much undocumented immigrants affect our lives. We can continue to call human beings “”illegal”” or we can begin to vote smarter to make real immigration reform possible. Brewer and Pearce are elected officials. They were elected to hypocritical positions that risk the equity of our education. It’s about time we spread the power of an election to ensure ridiculous, xenophobic-centered legislations don’t reach our own campus and that we take action. The way we vote will save our education, as well as keep the communities surrounding us safe from fear of more legislative attacks on human rights.

— Elisa Meza is a junior majoring in English. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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