I think my feelings on illegal immigration have at last reached critical mass. Arizona’s new social travesty masquerading as a Law is akin to punching Lady Liberty in the bread box. I am ashamed to share a nationality with these people.
No illegal immigrants are taking jobs from “us”. There is no “us” and “them”. There are millions of PEOPLE living here, fancy papers and skin color aside, that work, go to school, buy food, see movies, mow the grass, raise children, and even pay taxes. These PEOPLE are US.
If the good citizens of Arizona were really interested in curtailing immigration they would rally federal support for accountability of American enterprises operating in Mexico. They would urge Congress to enforce a minimum wage on those companies and insist they honour environmental laws. But that’s not what its about.
Hiding behind the noble banter of “Rule of Law” and “Illegal” lurks the insidious secret of the right: They hate these brown bastards. Pure and simple.
This law doesn’t just compel Arizona Police to ferret out working class people and treat them as criminals. If that’s all they were after they already had that power available. Rather, it gives not only the power but the obligation to demand proof of citizenship “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States”. Guess what guys, they sure ain’t going to reasonably suspect Little Johnny Irish of being here illegally. That honour goes to the brown people of Arizona; apparently automatically guilty, and required to prove themselves innocent.
I’m sure that this law will not last long, as it violates the Constitution(Article 1, Section 8, supported by numerous Supreme Court cases as giving Congress the power to govern entry into the country). The real issue here is how misled the whole thing is and how disheartening it is to watch what are otherwise good people succumb to hate.
I’ll leave you with the poem on the Statue of Liberty:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
One comment on “Immigration”
From New York Times
Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it â€œmisguidedâ€ and said the Justice Department would take a look.
Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics donâ€™t seem to have done. The arguments weâ€™ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:
It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. â€œNow, suddenly, if you donâ€™t have your papers … youâ€™re going to be harassed,â€ the president said. â€œThatâ€™s not the right way to go.â€ But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.
â€œReasonable suspicionâ€ is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didnâ€™t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the â€œtotality of circumstancesâ€ that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.
The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official â€œmay not solely consider race, color or national originâ€ in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply. In fact, the Arizona law actually reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.
It is unfair to demand that people carry a driverâ€™s license. Arizonaâ€™s law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driverâ€™s license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country.
State governments arenâ€™t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasnâ€™t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesnâ€™t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. Thatâ€™s why Arizonaâ€™s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
In sum, the Arizona law hardly creates a police state. It takes a measured, reasonable step to give Arizona police officers another tool when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law enforcement duties.
And itâ€™s very necessary: Arizona is the ground zero of illegal immigration. Phoenix is the hub of human smuggling and the kidnapping capital of America, with more than 240 incidents reported in 2008. Itâ€™s no surprise that Arizonaâ€™s police associations favored the bill, along with 70 percent of Arizonans.