Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arizona's Shame II

By now all the arguments, for and against, have been heard regarding the law mistakenly titled "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods", as it continues to head the news. I will repeat my arguments against this misguided law.
  • A suspect is guilty until proven innocent under this anti-immigration law.

  • The unintended consequences are already apparent. Tourists and conventions will avoid this state because it appears to be racist.
  • Mexican nationals, who normally add to Arizona's economy, will be reluctant to shop here.

  • It will cost Arizona much needed funds to fight the coming lawsuits.

  • Arizona's image has been tarnished world wide. The residents of this state are perceived to be backward and lacking in compassion.

  • The law does nothing to address the real problem of human and drug trafficking and the accompanying violence. Those criminals are already expert at evading the law officers. Nothing will change after this law is enforced.

  • It is very divisive, pitting Anglos against Hispanics.

  • There is no way to enforce it without racial profiling as Tucson's sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. has made clear. (He is refusing to enforce the law.)

  • It will separate families of those undocumented immigrants who are caught without their papers. Constitutional law makes children born in the U. S. automatic citizens, whether the extremists like it or not. If parents are deported, what shall we do with the children?

  • It will make life more unpleasant for legal citizens who happen to have dark skin and brown eyes.
  • It will overwhelm our Department of Immigration with more undocumented immigrants to lock up and the cost will be astronomical in money and human lives.
In defense of this law I found only one valid argument; it shines a light on a very pressing problem that needs to be resolved. It may, or may not, force the lawmakers in Washington to deal with the issue. However, it was the very same ones who applaud this Arizona law who defeated George Bush's sensible attempt at Immigration Reform by screaming "Amnesty" and demanding that all 11 million undocumented immigrants be deported. How illogical is that?

Political opportunists like Arizona Senators, John McCain and John Kyle have an ad running in Arizona with their own unworkable solution to securing our borders. They will put 30,000 National Guardmen and Federal troops on the border and build more fence. I think most of the National Guard is in Afghanistan and I would applaud that part of their proposal if it would bring those guys home to safeguard our borders. As to the fence; fences can be breached so easily that it is almost pathetic that some people think this is a solution. We are not a medieval walled city. Even though the fence will keep some out, it is so expensive that it isn't worth the cost.

George Will calls the opposition to this law, liberal hysteria. He bases part of his argument on the fact that it has been a federal law since 1952 that every alien have proof in his possession of a receipt or certificate of alien registration. While this is true, it is quite another matter to require a proof that you are here legally
(Like having proof that the car you are driving is registered) as opposed to giving the police the authority to stop and demand to see the papers of any person who looks like he/she might be an undocumented immigrant. That is where the comparison to Nazi Germany is relevant.

George Will goes on to say that Cardinal Mahony's statement comparing asking for papers to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia is a liberal tradition. He basis this vile argument on FDR's talk of returning tho the 1920's as the "spirit of Fascism".

This morning Frank Rich, NYT, tied this law into what is happening with the Tea Party movement. Here are a few paragraph's from his commentary.


The more you examine the law’s (AZ law) provisions and proponents, the more you realize that it’s the latest and (so far) most vicious battle in a far broader movement that is not just about illegal immigrants — and that is steadily increasing its annexation of one of America’s two major political parties.

Arizonans, like all Americans, have every right to be furious about Washington’s protracted and bipartisan failure to address the immigration stalemate----- is hardly tantamount to being a bigot. But the Arizona law expressing that anger is bigoted, and in a very particular way. The law dovetails seamlessly with the national “Take Back America” crusade that has attended the rise of Barack Obama and the accelerating demographic shift our first African-American president represents.

The crowd that wants Latinos to show their papers if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” of illegality is often the same crowd still demanding that the president produce a document proving his own citizenship. Lest there be any doubt of that confluence, Rush Limbaugh hammered the point home after Obama criticized Arizona’s action. “I can understand Obama being touchy on the subject of producing your papers,” he said. “Maybe he’s afraid somebody’s going to ask him for his.” Or, as Glenn Beck chimed in about the president last week: “What has he said that sounds like American?”

To the “Take Back America” right, the illegitimate Obama is Illegal Alien No. 1. It’s no surprise that of the 35 members of the Arizona House who voted for the immigration law (the entire Republican caucus), 31 voted soon after for another new law that would require all presidential candidates to produce birth certificates to qualify for inclusion on the state’s 2012 ballot. With the whole country now watching Arizona, that “birther” bill was abruptly yanked Thursday.

The legislators who voted for both it and the immigration law were exclusively Republicans, but what happened in the Arizona G.O.P. is not staying in Arizona. Officials in at least 10 other states are now teeing up their own new immigration legislation. They are doing so even in un-Arizonan places like Ohio, Missouri, Maryland and Nebraska, none of them on the Department of Homeland Security’s 2009 list of the 10 states that contain three-quarters of America’s illegal immigrant population.

The one group of Republicans that has been forthright in criticizing the Arizona law is the Bush circle: Jeb Bush, the former speechwriter Michael Gerson, the Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, the adviser Mark McKinnon and, with somewhat more equivocal language, Karl Rove. McKinnon and Rove know well that Latino-bashing will ultimately prove political suicide in a century when Hispanic Americans are well on their way to becoming the largest minority in the country and are already the swing voters in many critical states.

The Bushies, however, have no power and no juice in the new conservative order. The former president is nearly as reviled in some Tea Party circles as Obama is.

When Graham had the gall to work with Chuck Schumer of New York on an immigration reform bill, the hard-line Americans for Legal Immigration punished him by spreading rumors about his private life as loudly as possible. Graham has been backing away from supporting the immigration bill ever since.

It’s harder and harder to cling to the conventional wisdom that the Tea Party is merely an element in the G.O.P., not the party’s controlling force — the tail that’s wagging the snarling dog. It’s also hard to maintain that the Tea Party’s nuttier elements are merely a fringe of a fringe.

The Times/CBS poll of the Tea Party movement found that only 41 percent of its supporters believe that the president was born in the United States.

The angry right and its apologists also keep insisting that race has nothing to do with their political passions. Thus Sarah Palin explained that it’s Obama and the “lamestream media” that are responsible for “perpetuating this myth that racial profiling is a part” of Arizona’s law. So how does that profiling work without race or ethnicity, exactly? Brian Bilbray, a Republican Congressman from California and another supporter of the law, rode to the rescue by suggesting “they will look at the kind of dress you wear.” Wise Latinas better start shopping at Talbots!

In this Alice in Wonderland inversion of reality, it’s politically incorrect to entertain a reasonable suspicion that race may be at least a factor in what drives an action like the Arizona immigration law. Any racism in America, it turns out, is directed at whites. Beck called Obama a “racist.” Newt Gingrich called Sonia Sotomayor a “Latina woman racist.” When Obama put up a routine YouTube video calling for the Democratic base to mobilize last week — which he defined as “young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women” — the Republican National Committee attacked him for playing the race card.

The rage of 2010 is far more incendiary than anything that went down in 1988, and it will soon leap from illegal immigration to other issues in other states. Boycott the Diamondbacks and Phoenix’s convention hotels if you want to punish Arizona, but don’t for a second believe that it will stop the fire next time.


Montana said...

I saw Jay Leno at Correspondent Dinner his best line was; “That was my favorite story (this year) Republicans and a Lesbian bondage club. It’s ironic, Republicans don’t want lesbian getting married but they do like watching them “tie the knot”. So I thought that was interesting.”

You can say the same about Tea Party, they say they respect the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence but they do not mind passing laws, through weak Governors who only care about getting reelected on the backs of undocumented workers, that will not pass Constitution muster, just like Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago, keep passing them Arizona and the rest of us will continue to challenged them and you will fail in a court of law (and yes we will boycott you even with you amendments). Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

Nancy said...

“I can understand Obama being touchy on the subject of producing your papers,” he said. “Maybe he’s afraid somebody’s going to ask him for his.”

I loved President Obama's remarks at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

He said that he knew his poll rating were down but he wasn't worried about that because his ratings are still up in the Country of his birth.

The audience roared with laughter.
Do you think the Tea Bag birthers

K. said...

Separating parents from their children and sending the parents south. Where have I heard that before?

Creating a situation that would in effect exile American citizens for no reason other than their parents seeking a better opportunity...well, I never thought I'd see the day.

I wonder whether McCain and Kyl have to guts to propose a tax increase to patrol the border and build a fence? To ask the question is to answer it...

Darlene said...

*Montana - Wow! Thank you for your visit and your excellent comment. Please do come back.

Orly Taiz sounds like Joe McCarthy reincarnated. Frightening !!!!

*Nancy - I loved to see Obama smile. His sense of humor is delightful

*K - History repeating itself is scary.

Of course, you are 'right on' about McCain and Kyle. Arizona really produces some strange politicians, to my sorrow.

jerry said...

Right on as always, Darlene. But perhaps this odious law will have the effect of getting a sensible one passed by the Congress. I hope so.

20th Century Woman said...

The comment from "Jerry" was mine. I don't know how his name got on my computer. He has been using it sometimes here in Alaska. XXXX

Darlene said...

*20th Century Woman - That's weird. I hope you can figure out how Jerry got on your blog.

We can only hope.

la peregrina said...

Great post, Darlene, you nailed it. "Keep the immigrants out" groups have been with us for over a century now.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

This law is a perfect example of that philosophy.

tnlib said...

I don't think we can expect anything on an immigration bill. McConnell has already said they had too much to do do in Congress. Yuk, yuk, yuk. it takes a lot of time to say No.

Montana, I don't think anyone in the TP has read the Consitution since 6th grade civics. Not even Boehner knows the difference between the C and the DofI.

Great indepth piece, Darlene, and terrific comments all the way around.

BTW, your NY Times link doesn't work.

Darlene said...

*la peregrina - Thank you for that wonderful Martin Luther King quote. I need to save it.

*tnlib - Sorry the link doesn't work. You will have to copy and paste in into your browser.

Yeah, the lawmakers are already back-peddling on doing anything about reform.

Anonymous said...

1 - Do state law enforcement agents have the power to enforce federal laws? If they do, I agree that the federal law that is on the books about immigrants carrying papers should be enough; but, I'm not sure that they do.
2 - "The law does nothing to address the real problem of human and drug trafficking and the accompanying violence. Those criminals are already expert at evading the law officers. Nothing will change after this law is enforced." I would be interested in hearing your ideas on what would change the status quo.

Darlene said...

*anonymous - 1. A Federal law that makes it mandatory for undocumented immigrants to carry an ID card is, of course, legal for the local law enforcement officers to ask for it, but only if the person has broken a law (like speeding). That's different than being able to ask anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant (at the discretion of the officer, of course)for papers. Totalitarian countries did so(and still do, I suppose), but never before has it been possible in our country. The right to be free of unwarranted search and seizure is part of our Constitution.

2. I think I have covered some of the ways to change the status quo. More Border Patrol agents is a good start. A sane way for undocumented immigrants to become citizens must be part of eliminating the status quo.

If immigrants have lived and worked in the U. S. without committing a crime for a specified number of years, speak English, know our Constitution, pay a specified fee, etc. they would have a path to citizenship. My next blog (Email surprises) has a link to this subject.

Legalizing Marijuana is another way to take the profit out of drug trafficking; thus cutting down on the cost of searching for it, enforcing it, and the need for doing so. It should be legal like alcohol (which is a more dangerous drug.) Without the enormous profits that the drug trade make they would no longer dig tunnels, find ways to hide it in concealed compartments in vehicles, etc. and the violence between gangs would dry up, or become much less.

Putting the other drugs under the jurisdiction of the FDA so that they could be better monitored and could be gotten with a prescription for medicinal purposes. I do find that last suggestion problematical and don't know if it would work, but the present way is clearly failing, just like Prohibition.

The status quo is not working and must be changed. My state is suffering, but the law the 'leggies' passed is abominable.

Benito said...

I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

Darlene said...

*Benito - Thank you for joining the conversation. I really appreciate your visit and your excellent comment. I agree 100%, but the unfortunate truth is that too many extremists do not share our viewpoint. Until all men accept that we are all brothers on this planet we will have discord.

I cannot accept results of the poll that says the majority approves of this bad anti-immigration law. I don't think they have thought it through, if they do.

I do hope you will visit again.

loveable_homebody said...

I've been trying to figure out why exactly I find the Arizona bill so wrong... I think your insightful arguments summed it up for me! Good for you for bringing humanity to this issue.

Also, I think another major issue is that the U.S. seems to abuse illegal Mexican immigrants, basically condemning them to menial, low-paying jobs. I don't know much about why these immigrants don't seek legal status coming in, or why they aren't granted it, but I think these are issues that need to be addressed.

Darlene said...

*loveable homebody - Thank you for your visit. I do hope you will return.

The reason the immigrants don't seek legal status is because it takes years sometimes to be admitted and they have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get a green card. I'm an not well versed on what is required, but it is time consuming.