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Arizona is the ground zero for our immigration debate this year. From the seven lawsuits against its anti-immigration law to the civil disobedience by students chaining themselves to the Capitol in Phoenix to the soundstrike, the state has sparked a lot of resistance from immigrant communities. Here are some of the more light-hearted and humorous responses:
10. Nothing gives a warm welcome to citizens, legal residents and tourists to Arizona better than a billboard at Cuentame and Brave New Foundation. This billboard reads: “Have your papers ready – Racial profiling just ahead.” It would have been funnier if put up at a roundabout so that people could do a U-turn. Actually, you can see a billboard in protest of SB 1070 in San Francisco as well as at the Galeria de la Raza put up by Presente. The “show me your papers” state of Arizona honestly needs a brand and image makeover.
8. White people masks: The Deprofiler was devised as a tool by the Reform Immigration for American campaign to remove reasonable suspicion, the standard that law enforcement officials are told to follow in order to ascertain whether someone is undocumented. It lets people of color download masks of lighter-skinned people in order to pass as Caucasian.
7. Hey Arizona, do my shoes look illegal? This video was a response to GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray claiming on national television that undocumented immigrants could be identified by their shoes after he was asked to give a non-ethnic way to profile. I’m not sure what brand name undocumented immigrants usually wear, but maybe Bilbray was referring to the designer shoes that let migrants walk into the United States through the harsh desert.
6. Crayola crayons: I’ve never seen a set of crayons used more effectively. The brown ones need proof of citizenship whereas the single white one gets away with a “welcome to Arizona” pat on the back.
5. Don’t screw with the wrong Mexicans: Robert Rodriguez’ special message to Arizona through a fake movie trailer for his upcoming B-grade action thriller is a must-watch.
5. iPhone Application: Illegal Eagle: The application allows users to snap a picture of a suspected undocumented alien and answer several questions about the suspect to decide whether they are in the country legally or not. Users get a database of pictures of Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Middle-Easterners to draw comparisons along with several tips (beyond shoes) on how to determine illegality. Apparently, if one looks brown and a little nervous about random strangers targeting them, then that person is most likely undocumented. Actually, this is just a dream application but there is a real one on the iphone market that lets people carry their “illegal alien” identification cards.* (*Not for use at airports and with law enforcement officials.)
4. Deporting Dora the Illegal Explorer: Earlier this year, popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer got arrested in Arizona. She was subsequently put in deportation proceedings. Nothing shows the hatred and vitriol of the immigration debate better than the hatred of Dora, which is really a hatred for children of undocumented immigrants. It also brings up a fundamental question about who really is an alien to humanity: someone targeting children due to the color of their skin, or a child who happens to have no legal status in this country? Speaking of arresting cartoon characters, it is time someone goes after Glenn Beck.
3. “I’m Mexican, Pull Me Over“: Almost immediately after SB 1070 went into effect, someone in Arizona shared this picture of a graffiti message on his car that went viral. Later, people would come up with different visuals to mark their opposition, including scaling the heights of Phoenix to put up a banner that reads “Stop Hate.” But that’s not really funny.
2. Since Google is slowly taking over our lives, it is now giving us an option to avoid Arizona. If you are traveling cross-country and afraid that your beautiful brown complexion might land you in trouble with cops in a desert state, you can try the new Google Maps Avoid Arizona option. Unfortunately, the option is a joke so we can’t really avoid driving through Arizona.
1. Besides Jon Stewart’s take on Arizona as the “meth lab of democracy,” nothing beats asking white people for their papers at mock ICE checkpoints:
Most people found it funny, but many were affronted and downright offended. I guess it is not so funny when the tables are turned, even if it is temporarily and without any real implications.