State Senator Troy Hebert is calling for Louisiana to support Arizona’s controversial immigration law and to adopt similar legislation. State Senator Troy Hebert is calling for Louisiana to support Arizona’s controversial immigration law and to adopt similar legislation. Hebert, from Jeanerette, who represents St. Martin and Iberia parishes, sent a letter to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell asking him to “file a friend of the court brief in support of the Arizona legislation or at least join other states such as Michigan that are planning to file briefs in connection with Arizona’s effort to implement the anti-illegal immigration measure.” He has also directed senate staff to begin drafting an  immigration bill for the 2011 legislative session.

“The impact of illegal immigrants on our citizens and our businesses is far-reaching,” Hebert stated in a press release. “The fact is that people entering the United States without the proper authorization are breaking the law. We currently have a system that provides for immigrants with proper paperwork and work visas to lawfully work in the United States. The influx of illegal aliens simply bypasses our system of checks and balances. Requiring these individual to obey the law is not too much to ask given that we as American citizens must do the same.”

Arizona’s law, which was promulgated in April, was denounced by the Obama administration, and partially blocked by a federal judge in July. The Arizona law makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Hundreds demonstrated against the law, and Hispanics, at whom the law is aimed, called it a license for racial and ethnic profiling.

I’m wondering if the nose on my face, a honker of a combination of French, for sniffing wine, and Jewish, for kibitzing, would draw the inquisitive gaze of a cop. Or maybe I should be stopped and my identity card inspected because I’m a lot shorter than your standard beefy American. I’ve travelled all over the world and been asked in Italy if I were Spanish, in France if I were Greek, in Senegal if I were French and in Vietnam if I were somehow Vietnamese (I’m the same height and share the French language with a generation of the Viet people.) I’ve been racially profiled as everything but American.

Senator Hebert’s ancestor, Etienne Hebert, was an immigrant to Louisiana. A poor refugee from the British genocide of the Acadians in Nova Scotia, who came to the swamps of southwest Louisiana with nothing more than a desire to work hard, live in peace, speak his own language and celebrate his culture. How quickly we forget. T’as pas honte, Troy.

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