Proposition 200 may not be the answer

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By Gabriel Cruz

In 1935 when Hitler came to power, the Yellow Jewish Badge was instituted. It was at this time the oppression and labeling of Jews came about in Germany. Almost 70 years later, in Arizona voters will face something similar on the voting ballot in a citizen’s initiative called Proposition 200, Taxpayer and Citizen’s Protection Act. This initiative will attempt to have public employees (such as teachers and librarians) become agents for Homeland Security and report illegal immigrants. Also, every citizen will be required to present his or her original birth certificate or passport to receive not only public services but to register to vote. It requires public employees to report to federal immigration authorities anyone who cannot present these documents. It imposes up to four months of jail time on any public employees (including doctors, teachers, firemen librarians, social workers and others) who make errors in enforcing immigration laws. The immigration dilemma is costing the nation money; however, this haphazardly written initiative will not solve our predicament. Proposition 200 will make all citizens it claims to protect pay more money and time into proving they are citizens every time they need public services. Proposition 200 doesn’t define what public services are so the law will interpret public services as fire protection, police and ambulatory services, water/ sewage services, and trash collection. Proposition 200 is not the answer. Immigration is a troubling dilemma; there is no doubt that our community must confront it quickly. Acting quickly doesn’t mean acting imprecisely, as Proposition 200 does. The Taxpayer and Citizen’s Protection Act is poorly written and will not save the state money by evaluating the entire population’s residential status, but will rather incur huge expenses just to implement services that are vital to our way of life. According to the Arizona Republic, on Aug. 20, ‘The anti-illegal-immigration measure Protect Arizona Now could cost the state at least $27 million, according to estimates prepared by state government officials.” Does that mean our taxes go up just to implement this initiative? This initiative is counter-productive in its quest to save public money, and citizens should not let others dictate to them what papers they need to carry on and at what time. The poorly written Proposition 200 is a band aid to the gunshot wound of a dilemma, which is illegal immigration. Now that Proposition 200 is being placed before voters, and President Bush has called for national immigration reform, we should be mindful of our actions. We must leave emotion out of our resolve and convene as a community to truly develop an effective immigration reform policy. Vote no on Proposition 200, but continue to talk about this multifaceted dilemma. On Election Day, Nov. 2, the decision to stand up against such a measure wi