Jill Dean:  Analysis

When I began this project, I knew little about our topic of immigration.  We decided to focus on the Arizona and Alabama immigration laws that have recently been passed.  I had heard about these laws, but I didn’t have an opinion.  As I began to research, I noticed that there is very little support for these laws.  I began to see that the laws are dehumanizing, and discriminatory.  I feel that allowing law enforcement to arrest people who are suspected to be undocumented, is encouraging racial profiling.  Alabama’s law includes this, as well as requiring schools to keep a record of students who are undocumented.  There is an urgent need for immigration reform.

As I perused the internet for editorial cartoons on immigration, I found that every single cartoon framed the immigration laws negatively.  Some of them were very disturbing, and eerie.  The cartoon on Alabama immigration law, frames the law to be like the Holocaust. The message is powerful.  The Nazis used to transport the Jews by train and take them to concentration camps where they were used as slave labor.  Millions of innocent men, women, and children were killed.  In the cartoon, the man who is in charge of getting people into the boxcar is framed as a Nazi. The cartoon is framed as though the family is being forced into the train by the Nazi character.  I have been thinking about that, and every article I read I think of how much it reminds me of  the Nazis attempt to eradicate the Jews.  I find it very scary that our government can have that kind of power.  Another cartoon that I found disturbing is the one with the child crying while his parents are being taken away by ICE. The cartoonist framed this cartoon to show how the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), deports undocumented workers.  The child is framed as being upset and crying, as he watches his parents being taken away in the ICE truck.  The driver is framed as insensitive or even happy that he’s taking them away, as he is whistling in the cartoon.  Both of these cartoons are powerful, as they make you feel something.  We can all relate to the importance of families.

The message that the cartoonists are conveying is that these immigration laws are not ethical.  Children are being left in this country, and their parents are being deported.  America needs undocumented workers.  They contribute to our economy.  They are willing to do the work that Americans don’t want to do. We should be treating them with respect, and not making them afraid to go out.

Most of the articles I read still call undocumented workers “illegal immigrants”.  I feel like they are trying to be respectful for the most part.  I didn’t read any articles that framed the immigration law positively.  The media are cultivating negativity towards the immigration laws.  We are encouraged to see this as destructive to our agriculture, as the farmers have no one to work in their field.  We are also encouraged to be outraged by the families being destroyed and children left with other people to care for them.

Another cartoon frames the Arizona government as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.  The cowboy is framed as having two personalities:  one being someone wanting to hire “docile, reliable, cheap labor”, and the other being a sheriff who wants “anyone who looks Latino” dead or alive.  The cartoonist framed the Arizona law negatively.  The cartoon has a feeling of hypocrisy.  The cartoon “Mi casa es su casa”, frames the Alabama law negatively.  The Alabama law, and the Arizona law, for that matter, states that anyone who is stopped for a traffic violation and is not carrying documents, will be arrested.  Undocumented means that the individual does not have the proper documentation to be in the country.

Overall, every cartoon depicts the immigration laws recently passed in Alabama and Arizona in a negative light.  These laws seem to be insensitive and dehumanizing.  Also, these laws encourage racial profiling and discrimination.  There must be a better, more humane way to enforce immigration laws.

In this clip, Stephen Colbert interviews Jason Chaffetz.  When Representative Chaffetz discusses immigration, he says that we need to put undocumented workers in “detention facilities to take care of these people and make sure they’re actually deported as required by law.”  Colbert then asks, “When did rounding up people in your country that you don’t like and putting them in camps, get a bad name?” This is a reference to the Holocaust. Click Here

Allison Suckow: Analysis

I honestly didn’t know hardly anything about immigration before this project. I knew that I worked with several undocumented workers during high school at various different times, but other than that, I had no idea about this matter.

Almost everything I’ve learned about this subject either depresses me and pisses me off. I think it is terribly sad that our country is okay with visual profiling people. To me, that is so ridiculous. Perhaps Arizona is sick of getting undocumented workers as their employees and perhaps from their point of view, their immigration laws make sense. But from everyone else’s point of view who holds any value to the Constitution of the United State, they look racist, harsh, intolerable, and even maybe inhumane. I think this whole visual profiling thing is going to be a huge waste of time for law enforcement, as I’m sure they have bigger issues to worry about. They are going to be picking up tons of American citizens who are going to be accused to being illegally in the United States because they merely look a certain way. Because of this, I think it will upset a lot of people and there will be lawsuits filed and this law will be overturned.

To be honest, I see a lot more similarities in this situation to the ways that the Jews were treated in the 1930’s through the end of World War II. Granted, we don’t do things like burn down churches or throw bricks threw their shops or place them in torturous camps. However, we are being discriminative  nonetheless. It seems as though America always needs someone to be picking on. If not the Irish, then the Blacks. If not the Blacks, the Gays. If not them, Hispanics. Who’s going to be next? It just makes me wonder how much longer we will tolerate this ridiculous discrimination. Does the country not realize we have way bigger problems than undocumented workers?

Kyndall Peterson: Analysis

When we first started this project I didn’t know much about immigration, or the laws that were in effect regulating it. I was excited and interested to see what I would find. My opinion before I started my research was that undocumented workers (what I then called, “illegal’s”) were all bad people, who had no respect for our country and were here to steal the freedom our soldiers fought for, and to take jobs away from worthy Americans. After my research, my opinion and views have taken a complete 180.

At first, I thought everyone had the same opinion as I did, however going through and analyzing the cartoons, I have learned that cartoonist take a very harsh view on our immigration laws, and its not in our country’s favor. The majority of the cartoonists’ frame their cartoons in a way that makes a mockery of the state laws, and make them look extremely inhumane.  I didn’t see one cartoon supporting the Arizona or Alabama immigration laws; to me this says that the laws are not highly supported. The law is often depicted as a comparison to the holocaust. For example the Arizona policemen are usually drawn as Nazis’ who are racially profiling everyone who is not white. The Arizona law says that if policemen have a reasonable suspicion that someone is an undocumented worker, they can request to see their papers. If the citizen doesn’t have their papers with them, they are allowed to arrest them. This law has its pros and cons. On one hand, it is a fast, efficient way to get people who are here illegally, out of the country; on the other hand, it is an extreme example of racial profiling. Alabama is just the same. Cartoonists, to my surprise, are favoring the undocumented workers in their cartoons. Many cartoonists frame these laws so negatively and exaggerate the processes and repercussions of the laws so they can capture the attention of the general population and make a point about what is going on. The fact that almost all the cartoons are in the immigrants favor is cultivation. There are so many examples of how terrible the laws are it is going to have a lasting effect on people. The cartoonists may use a lot of “truthiness” but I think that’s what it takes to really get people thinking. For example, schools aren’t really segregating Latinos and whites, but the cartoonist is making a point that the laws encourage racial profiling and discrimination.

I also learned that not all undocumented workers are bad people. Most of them would be willing to become legal, and try harder to assimilate, but our country has made it next to impossible. After researching the extensive processes an immigrant has to go through to become a legal U.S. Citizen, I realized why people come here illegally. I think they should make it easier for people who are willing to become active participants in our economy and our culture. I see immigration like gun control. If the government makes the possession of guns illegal, only criminals and people who have no respect for the law will have them. Likewise with immigration, if you make it almost impossible, only people who don’t respect the law will come here. They often turn to violence to protect themselves which makes them look bad, and creates a stereotype. Also, in Alabama, they will be afraid to go to school, and in turn not contribute to our economy. We are missing out on a huge demographic that could be beneficial to our country’s economy. Obama spoke about this very issue in his speech in El Paso, Texas. He made the point that the founders of Google, Intel, and Yahoo were all immigrants and look what they did for our competitive edge from the global perspective.

Lastly, I have found a greater appreciation for editorial cartoons. I believe they play a very important role in our society. Editorial cartoons are used to depict an extreme opinion of a certain topic. Cartoonists do this to intrigue people, by getting their attention. Some cartoons offend people, and some validate others opinions; either way, the cartoons instills thought and interest in the matter.

Ryan Neely: Analysis

I have always found editorial cartoons to be entertaining and somewhat informative, as I would take a quick glance at them reading the newspaper early in the morning. But never before did I realize how informative they could be. There is always a deeper meaning to many of the cartoons, which can leave a powerful image and statement in your mind. Before you are able to fully get an understanding of the cartoon itself, you must know or be familiar with the issue. After doing the research on many political cartoons dealing with the topic of immigration in America my mind has been opened to many different ideas and opinions that have helped me gain a greater understanding about the issue.

When going into this project I thought I knew a little bit about the topic, but I quickly learned that I didn’t know anything at all. I believe this was to my benefit because it was easier for me to learn why cartoonists framed the topic in specific ways.  Almost all of the cartoons I have analyzed frame the laws in Alabama and Arizona in a negative way.  In more than one cartoon the police officers in these states and their laws were portrayed as almost being discriminatory against immigrants, helping us see how they are able to confront immigrants seeking proof of citizenship with no evidence other than reasonable suspicion.

Since these laws have been passed many undocumented workers have left their labor in fear of being prosecuted. Employers are now empty handed looking for people to hire only to find that most are unwilling to do the intense labor these undocumented workers have been performing. Cartoonist have done a great job as they have expressed their opinion and brought the issue into view in ways that help the viewers to understand the issue with just one powerful image.


Danielle Cox: Analysis

While analyzing all the cartoons, the most interesting information I found is that very few editorial cartoonists agreed with the laws passed by Arizona and Alabama; they mostly criticize the laws. The overall message of all the cartoons I analyzed are framed negatively. Most editorial cartoons on immigration show the Hispanic race as the ones “out in the field working” while the Caucasian people are usually portrayed as pompous and elite. There are many derogatory terms that our culture uses to describe Hispanic people. Many of these words are from the code words of hate such as: swarming, invaded, illegal aliens. These terms are dehumanizing and refer more to an object than a person.  While researching undocumented workers and the Arizona and Alabama laws, I came across a theme of negative framing. That is, editorial cartoonists, framing these laws in a negative light and exposing the inhumane way the immigration issue is being dealt with. Over and over again, I saw editorial cartoons taking a position against the new state laws. It was a challenge to find any editorial cartoons that were for the new laws, most of them ridiculed them. Because of the consistent negative framing of the immigration laws, it is piped into the media and begins being cultivated into the media, as does anything with enough repetition. As far as looking at “truth v. truthiness” most editorial cartoonists use truth when conveying their message, they attack, in a sense, these laws that create such a hardship for Immigrants.


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