Thursday, July 15, 2010
I'll have a cheesesteak with that racial profiling bill, please
Philadelphia's renowned Geno's Steaks was the site of a 4-hour radio fundraiser in support of Arizona's SB1070 law. Organized by Geno's owner, Joey Vento, the event was broadcast by WPHT radio's Dom Giordano.
Citizens, people of faith, comprehensive immigration reform advocates and members of several Catholic religious congregations and organizations gathered across the street from the eatery to protest the Arizona law - which human and civil rights advocates (as well as many Latino citizens) say will institutionalize racial profiling and adversely affect people of Hispanic heritage regardless of documentation status.
A bill modeled after Arizona's has been introduced in Pennsylvania by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. Like its Arizona counterpart HB2479 states that law enforcement shall verify the immigration status of any person the officer has stopped, arrested or detained and "who is or should reasonably be suspected of being unlawfully present in the state." One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Tom Creighton said in an interview in Lancaster's Intelligencer Journal that what amounts to reasonable suspicion would be "a real subjective decision by that officer."
Earlier on the 14th, Tucson's Bishop Gerald Kicanas testified before Congress (the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law) on the ethical imperative for reform of the U.S. immigration system.
Immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue, the bishop said, since it impacts the rights and dignity of millions of persons and their families. "As such it has moral implications." he said. "We cannot accept the toil and taxes of immigrants without providing them the protection of law."
The bishop, whose diocese runs along the whole of the Arizona-Mexico border, said he witnesses every day "the human consequences of our broken immigration system."
Photos of the rally across the street from Geno's Steaks by Sarah Webb for the CS&T.