Commentary by H.G. Listiak
Freedom Riders or Protect Arizona Now
Welcome to my world, where earlier this week we had some very vocal visitors in the valley. They came by bus from Los Angeles, after stopping in Palm Springs. They call it Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, which will see 18 buses carry 900 people, most of them Hispanic, to more than 100 cities across the country. These noisy folks say the ride is aimed at igniting a national movement to gain better pay, benefits, and protections for immigrant workers, regardless of their legal status, meaning undocumented, illegal aliens who are breaking U.S. law. These people have the audacity to compare themselves to the freedom riders of the 60s, when both blacks and whites rode buses across the South to fight segregation. Not even close amigo. The 60s freedom riders were legal residents with an uncontestable valid beef, all of them American citizens. You people aren't. Their cause has a lot of support from politicians, especially here in Arizona, but when you dig into the grass roots, it could be a different story. There is a proposed initiative called Protect Arizona Now. It's designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from getting public assistance except in emergencies, and require Arizonans to prove citizenship before they register to vote. Bruce Merill of A.S.U. polled voters to see how Arizonans felt about the Protect Arizona Now initiative. 70% were for it, 20% were against it, and 10% of the polled people had no opinion, which included several legal Americans who were Hispanic. This goes against the grain of our politicians, who may or may not be listening. If they are getting the message, it might be the end of the free ride for even the freedom riders in Arizona, as I see it ... I'm H.G. Listiak.