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Them Meddling Mexicans

Sunday, 04July2010

Living in Arizona means living with a new immigration law pushed by an unelected (dis-elected? – No that was George W. Bush) governor.  On its face, it simply allows local law enforcement to ascertain a person’s legal status to be in the US and detain them if need be – something everyone should support, right?  But there maybe a couple of consequences to consider deeply and thoughtfully:

  • In Arizona, a Driver’s Licence is not proof of citizenship
  • Infringement of freedoms of true American Citizens.  The Governor insists that racial profiling will not take place, any nationality must prove citizenship if asked.  I am of Scandinavian descent.  Could I be targeted?  Must I carry my papers at all times?  Sounds like Gestapo or KGB tactics to me.  This point was made by Michael Gerson in this Washington Post opinion piece where he writes “It is still not clear how the “reasonable suspicion” of a police officer is appropriately aroused, now that race officially can play no role. In fact, another change in the law allows police to initiate a citizenship search when county or municipal ordinances are violated. An email from one of the activists who helped draft and modify the law explained: “This will allow police to use violations of property codes (i.e., cars on blocks in the yard) or rental codes (too many occupants of a rental accommodation) to initiate queries as well.”
  • Legally, is a state allowed to police immigration and border control?  I am not a constitutional attorney.  Are you?  If not, this is the first question to consider as to the validity of the law.  The AZ State Legislature does not have a great track record when it comes to crafting laws.

The major flaw is with the direction the law aims, not necessarily with the law itself.  To believe that we can stem the flow of illegal immigrants by arresting each of the individual offenders is crazy.  There are an estimated 850,000 illegal immigrants each year.  We cannot stop the drive of our species to do whatever it takes to find a better life.  The solution lies in stopping enticement.  With 11,681,441 Skilled Jobs Provided to Illegal Aliens and counting in the US, perhaps Arizona is better served by allowing local law enforcement to arrest employers of illegal immigrants.  But the Republican majority would never stop business owners from making a buck – no matter the ethics of the means.  It’s easier to satisfy its constituency but singling poor, brown people.  But with estimates that Hispanics in Arizona will soon enjoy a comfortable majority over whites, it behooves the rich whites to keep the others down.  We’ve seen this before in American history – SB 1070 is simply the ugly politics of scapegoating.

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