Debate participants come from various backgrounds

Zach Smith

Contributing writer

The panelists for the Oct. 27 debate on immigration at the Puyallup campus included the chair of a Latino association, the president of a law enforcement association, a professor and two organizers of activist groups.

Jesse Hernandez, chairman of the Arizona Latino Republican Association and Mark Spencer, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, argued in favor of the bill.

David Ayala-Zamora, organizer of the activist group One America with Justice for All and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, a social activist argued against the bill.

Luis Fraga, a political science professor from the University of Washington, provided background information about the bill.

According to Hernandez, the ALRA is the first Latino group in the nation to speak out in favor of Senate Bill 1070; and he hopes other Latino groups will follow his example.

Hernandez’s parents immigrated to America legally with little more than a third grade education, the clothes on their back and the values that they instilled in their son. Hernandez said that his parents taught him to respect the customs of the new country they moved to and assimilate.

“This doesn’t mean giving up your culture (though),” he said.

Ayala-Zamora fled his native country of El Salvador to America to escape the civil war. He crossed the border illegally, though he later gained citizenship.

He challenged Bill 1070 on its constitutionality claiming that federal law takes precedence over state law, and thus Arizona officials do not have the right to create a bill such as 1070. He also was concerned that the bill could lead to racial profiling of Latino-Americans.

Spencer gave insight into the bill from a law enforcement position. He disputed Ayala-Zamora’s position about the bill being illegitimate due to federal precedence on the grounds that Amendment 10 of the U.S. Constitution gives the powers not prohibited by the Constitution or given to the federal government by the Constitution to the states and the people respectively.

He also said the bill doesn’t allow racial profiling; he says people will only be questioned on citizenship if they have aroused reasonable suspicion of being in the country illegally, not because they simply look Latino.

He also explained that an alarmingly large amount of crimes in Arizona are perpetrated by illegal aliens and felt that SB 1070 is an attempt to stop the violence happening in Mexico from spilling into the United States.

Rose-Avila, a former director of the Caesar Chavez Foundation, said the perpetrators of the violence in Mexico were getting their guns from American sources.

Hernandez, however, pointed out that America is supplying the Mexican government with the arms, and it’s the Mexican government that’s responsible for allowing the weapons to fall into the hands of the drug cartels.

Rose-Avila also made the claim that because Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas used to be part of Mexico, illegal immigrants had the right to immigrate there.

Although the panelists disagreed on the constitutionality of Arizona Bill 1070, one item that they could agree on is that America’s immigration system is broken and is in need of reform.

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Debate participants come from various backgrounds

by Contributing Writer time to read: 2 min