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Starting the New Year with a Dose of Fear

Bill Radke

Angela Kim

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Alfredo Gutierrez
(Alfredo Gutierrez)

Bill Radke: So this new law that makes it illegal to hire undocumented workers, you've seen this law coming. Your governor signed it back in July. How have you been preparing your listeners?

Alfredo Gutierrez: One part of the conversation has been about whether if people should leave or not -- whether people should return to their home country or go to another state. And our advice has been, if you have a stake in Mexico, if you have a stake in Guatemala, if you've got somewhere to go back to, then that's probably a viable alternative. But it's our perception that the overwhelming major of our folks have neither of those options. They are here because they didn't and couldn't survive in Mexico and Guatemala and they don't have options to go to another state. And so that's been the first piece of advice. If you don't have an option, then you have to begin to--we've been talking about it for months--save enough money to survive perhaps three or four months after the eventuality of this law. Because the eventuality, we believe, is going to mean certainly higher, if not massive, rates of unemployment within the Hispanic community.

Have you noticed any effects, even just in these few days, that you trace to this new law having taken effect?

No, I think it's too soon. I think the impact was in preparation for this law, and at this point everyone is waiting for the shoe to drop.

What do you mean the shoe dropping?

I mean that we expect raids are going to occur. There are hundreds of thousands of employers in Maricopa County, in Phoenix, and the surrounding areas. It's impossible for the sheriff and the county attorney to enforce this law in any uniform fashion. So they are going to take six, seven, eight employers to make examples of them. And everyone waits to see who they are and how they are going to be treated, what the tactics are that they are going to use. We believe once they employ them, that will set the pattern for their behavior and for adjustments in the behavior -- both for the employers and of employees in the Hispanic community.

Alfredo, what do your listeners tell you on the air that they don't tell the police and they don't say in other public places?

Oh, we talk a lot about the crimes that haven't been reported. We have heard of sexual assaults. We've heard of robberies. We've heard of suspected drop houses, on the air, where the individual involved will not simply call the authorities because they're not certain who's going to show up.

We spent a lot of time talking about what do you do when the police stop you and you don't have a driver's license or you have a matricula consular, the identity card given to you by the Mexican consulate. Do you present it or not present it?

What responsibility do you feel, if any, to advice your listeners to follow the law and not to evade it?

Look, my responsibility to the community is to give them the best possible advice to reflect on all of the realities around us. I can't go on the air and advise people to break the law. On the other hand, I recognize -- as should any reasonable person -- that there are millions of people, hundreds of thousands of people in this community, who are operating with false social security cards. And I can't deny that as part of the reality of life. So we tell people, "Look, if you've got this card, these are the actions that the government will take against you." Some might construe that to mean advice on how to evade the law. I construe that to mean advice on how to survive in this country until we can arrive at a set of legislation -- a just immigration reform in this country.

  • Music Bridge:
    Artist: Skallander
    CD: Skallander (Type)


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