Sunday, May 19, 2019

Arizona Can Handle A Real Democrat-- Meet Eva Putzova


Arizona is starting to slip out of the grasp of the GOP. The state party elected a neo-fascist chair and fundraising evaporated. 2020 could be a good year for Arizona Democrats. One Republican state Senator saw what was coming and abandoned ship, first to become an independent and finally joining the almost-as-conservative Blue Dogs, Tom O'Halleran. There's nothing about him that says "Democrat: except the "D"" next to his name-- which is better than the ProgressivePunch "F" next to his crucial vote score.

Look at the 5 most important bills pending before Congress, Medicare-For-All H.R.1384, The Raise the Wage Act (H.R.582), the Green New Deal Resolution (H.Res109), the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R.860) and the bill to lower the price of prescription drugs (H.R.1046). O'Halleran opposes them all! There are a dozen Democrats who regularly vote against virtually all progressive initiatives. O'Halleran is one of the 12.

Tom O'Halleran has also been an obedient lapdog for the special interests and corporate PACs that finance his career and his campaigns. The DCCC and Cheri Bustos are doing all they can to prevent O'Halleran from being primaried.

Goal ThermometerThe actual Democrat primarying O'Halleran this cycle is Flagstaff former city councilwoman and progressive activist, Eva Putzova Eva is literally as good as O'Halleran is bad. Just look at the issues page on her official campaign website. Short version: she supports Medicare-For-All; she supports tuition-free public colleges; she's fighting for the rights of Arizona's indigenous people; she's campaigning for a complete immigration overhaul; she supports the Green New Deal; she is 100% pro-Choice; she opposes invasions and occupations of other countries and will be a strong voice for peace; she is strongly behind raising the minimum wage to a livable wage; and she backs LGBTQ equality. What a breath of fresh air compared to O'Halleran. Below she wrote a guest post explaining the foundations of the immigration plank she's running on. If you think she would make a better representative, please consider contributing to her campaign by clicking on the thermometer on the right.

On A Slippery Path To A Police State
By Eva Putzova

We have all seen the photos and videos of families being separated at the border. We have seen the crying children, sobbing parents, border patrol and ICE agents with guns, barbed wire detention centers. Our immigration system is cruel, chaotic, irrational and unjust.

Although many are deeply impacted by these images, we forget what caused them in the first place. Most people don’t leave their homes voluntarily to travel hundreds or thousands of miles in harsh and dangerous conditions to another country unless they are desperate and have no choice. Most of the immigrants coming to the U.S. nowadays are fleeing extreme poverty, violence, domestic abuse, and political tyranny in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras or elsewhere. Their living conditions are so marginal and desperate that they are willing to take the enormous risks of making the dangerous journey north to get across the border to the U.S. any way they can.

We need to remember that it was American military interventions in these nations in the 1970s, '80s and '90s that helped generate this flow of refugees. We helped fuel civil wars in these nations by aiding brutal, authoritarian regimes and armed groups that committed atrocities against civilians and flooded the region with weapons. Is it any wonder that this resulted in domestic instability and insecurity that, in the ensuing years, led to hundreds of thousands of people wanting to leave?

Then came the 9/11 attacks and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and a brand-new immigration enforcement agency called the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. Its mission is to "enforce the immigration laws of the United States and to investigate criminal and terrorist activity of transnational organizations and aliens within the United States." Regardless of its original intent, ICE has become an instrument of government terror in communities across our land. Undocumented, even long-time members of our communities, regardless of age, are the targets of ICE raids. These people are not engaged in "criminal and terrorist activity of transnational organizations…" They are our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family members. And for those who assume that because they are citizens or legal residents of the U.S and have nothing to worry about-- guess again. ICE agents bully, intimidate, and even detain citizens and legal residents when they are looking for someone who is undocumented.

I have seen this firsthand in Arizona. Several years ago, Frankie Madrid, a young undocumented community activist who had been brought to the U.S. as a baby by his mother who was fleeing domestic abuse in Mexico, was arrested, charged with drug possession, served time, and then deported by ICE. Our system had forced him to live in the shadows where he suffered from depression and drug addiction. Frankie could have had protected DACA status but was the victim of an unscrupulous attorney who never filed the papers. After being deported to Mexico, a country he had never even visited, he committed suicide in despair. Just like any other American citizen or legal resident, Frankie should have been released to his family after serving his time and paying his debt to society. Instead, ICE sent him into a never-to-return-exile to a foreign land where he took his own life.

Another ICE victim in Flagstaff is an undocumented man named Jose. Jose came to the U.S. when he was nine years old. He is a father himself now. He was picked up by the local sheriff on a warrant for an unpaid fine on a previous DUI. While in custody, Jose filed a lawsuit against the sheriff for his policy of honoring ICE’s 48-hour administrative detainers, which keeps people in jail after completing their sentence or posting bail. To prevent Jose from moving forward with the lawsuit and avoiding an unfavorable court ruling, ICE lifted their detainer, effectively removing Jose’s standing in the lawsuit. Jose was able to post bail and, for a while, avoid ICE with community support.

But ICE was not going to allow Jose to escape and the community to keep protecting him. They spent months keeping him, his friends and family under surveillance. In April, ICE conducted raids in Sedona and Flagstaff with heavily armed agents and detained him-- without a warrant signed by a judge. In the process they threatened his family members with taking away their children if they didn’t cooperate. They also detained a documented resident for a period of time during this raid. While driving Jose to the ICE detention center the ICE agents celebrated their success in capturing him and told him it was his fault because he had filed the lawsuit against the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department for their unjust 48-hour detainer policy. They acted in a cruel and sadistic manner towards him.

I grew up in Slovakia, which in 1989 overthrew its totalitarian regime as did other countries in Eastern Europe. We all knew about and were familiar with state police agencies like my home country’s ŠTB, East Germany’s STASI and the Soviet Union’s KGB. They intimidated, manipulated, and blackmailed people, spied on their own citizens, and turned neighbor against neighbor. The reports about how ICE operates are too familiar to me. We are on a path to slowly turning the U.S. into a police state.

In addition to the documented stories of abusive ICE raids, the ACLU has reported that more than 80 local law enforcement agencies are now sharing license plate information collected by a private company with ICE. In emails obtained by the ACLU, ICE was told that law enforcement could expect access to billions of license plate scans, with hundreds of millions more added each month. More than 9,200 ICE employees have access now to this information with few privacy safeguards in place.

Let’s be clear. We are all now under surveillance-- citizens, legal residents, and undocumented persons alike.

There is no "immigration crisis" or "national security threat" that justifies law enforcement agencies collecting everyone’s license plate and personal location data and turning them over to ICE who will use them to bully, intimidate, and threaten families. There is no threat that justifies the brutal display of force terrorizing our communities.

When I am elected to Congress, I will work with my progressive colleagues to overhaul the immigration system. Just like ŠTB in my home country, ICE has lost its moral authority and must be abolished. We need a humane, lawful, immigration policy that provides legal status and protection to the vast majority of people who enter the U.S. seeking protection and a better life. Immigration oversight should be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice as it was prior 2003, and not under the Department of Homeland Security. Both Frankie and Jose should have been citizens a long time ago. Frankie would have lived.

One reason that our Congress has failed to enact the reform we need is that less than three percent of its members are immigrants themselves. If the Congress reflected the population, we would now have 56 immigrants in the House and Senate. I will be the first immigrant elected to Congress from Arizona.

The militarized response by agencies like ICE to people from Latin American nations seeking asylum and protection here is the result of our past militarized interventions in those same nations. We must recognize that many of our trade agreements, drug policies, and inaction on climate change are also contributing factors to migration. We now must acknowledge our past mistakes, address the current problems humanely and create a new and different future where peace, justice, and diplomacy are paramount.

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At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of Arizona still sees itself as cowboy vigilantes who must take the law (at least as they pretend to understand it) into their own hands because no one else will enforce it. I therefore don't see attempting to gain their support by warning them of a coming police state to be an effective strategy since they already see themselves as the police defending their state.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see another one is hoping to warm a random seat so that Pelosi can ratfuck 325 million people for the benefit of her big donors.


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