Thursday, February 2, 2012

Judge Banned a Candidate in Arizona

Take the case of Alejandrina Cabrera, a US citizen by birth, but live much of her life across the border in Mexico until returning to the USA in her High School years and learned "broken" English. Most of her communication in her daily life is done in Spanish with spattering of English when needed. Much of her family still lives across the border, yet, she lives in San Luis, Arizona and has decided to run for a seat on its city council.

Her application to run for office was denied based upon her lack of English proficient skills to conduct business in English only government, which is Arizona law. When she appealed through her attorney, the Court ruled:

"It was clear to the court that she was stymied by many questions, did not understand many questions, failed to comprehend what was being asked, and guessed at answers".

Of course, her attorney, states otherwise and that she can hold a basic conversation in English and this is apparent when viewing videos online or on TV, however, it is also apparent her English is just that, basic and choppy. She is not remotely fluent as many other Mexican-Americans on the city council.

San Luis, AZ, has about 25,000, while San Luis, Mexico, on the other side of the border, has 175,000. Her supporters cite that the "anglos" are prejudice for making English the only language of government because both languages are used in city council meetings, while Arizona state law mandates that all governmental business is only in English.

So, she is taking the issue to Arizona's next higher court to resolve the question of, how proficient in English does a candidate have to be to run for public office?

According to Mrs. Cabrera's attorneys the government of San Luis ordered about $30,000 taxpayers money to fund the litigation, considered a "wasteful" and "dangerous" move. 

One aspect is the voter suppression - a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote - like the Voter ID laws passed in several states. The other side of the election system is that one can be as American as the natives people before the conquest and still your opponents can show a law dated as early as 1912 and find a judge that will go for it and you are banned to run for office. 

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