Thursday, July 1, 2010

Arizona in the Hot Seat

The Arizona Immigration Law SB1070, will go into effect on the 29th of this month unless one of the five (so far) lawsuits that have been filed against it are successful in stopping it. The City of Tucson has signed on to one of those lawsuits and our Sheriff has said that he won't enforce it until it is clearer what the broad statement of 'reasonable suspicion' means. (The State will be conducting training programs for the police on how to avoid racial profiling. Good luck with that.). Sheriff Dupnik says he is between a rock and a hard place because if he stops people without cause he is in violation of the Fourth Amendment governing 'unwarranted search and seizure'.

If you can tell me which Spanish speaking person is legal or not just by looking at them I would like to know how. Legal Mexicans might look scruffy when they are doing construction work and illegal 'nannies' look well groomed and clean. Does anyone really think that you can ask someone for their papers on the suspicion that they are undocumented workers without racial profiling? Give me a break.

This is not the first time that Arizona has tried to round up illegal immigrants. Arizona is getting a very bad reputation due to a few ideological racists in the Legislature. While I was in California I read an article published in a Bay area newspaper about this divisive law and about the fact that Chandler, AZ had to settle a lawsuit to the tune of $400,000 after a July sweep rounded up, and deported, 432 undocumented workers. The event is know as the Chandler Sweep where anyone looking like he, or she, was Mexican were stopped by police and detained. Just speaking Spanish was enough to get you stopped. The result was that many citizens, some whose parents were born here as were they, were detained; not once but several times. 29 of them sued and won. Chandler had to pledge to not let it happen again in addition to paying $400,000.

The "tough guy" Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has his deputies regularly rounding up suspected undocumented workers. I keep wondering how he can legally do that.
A national spotlight has already shone on the macho sheriff and, in time, he may have to follow the law that immigration is in the Federal jurisdiction. One unfortunate byproduct of this law is that it will take the law officers time away from solving bigger crimes as it has been doing with the Maricopa Sheriff's deputies.

Gov. Brewer has also joined in the challenge against Congress and the Obama administration over the new Health Care Law. Our State will be paying for these lawsuits and we are already in dire financial straights. She is running for governor so you can see where this is headed. She was not elected, but was appointed when Obama took our good governor, Janet Napolitano, away from us to head up Homeland Security. (Thanks a lot, Mr. President.) The Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard, refused to sue saying he found nothing illegal in the Federal Law. He pointed out that if you take the money, you have to abide by the rules. I fear for his job. I guess the rule of law means nothing to our right wing legislators to the North of us. They want the Federal money without restrictions.

Being a good Republican, Jan Brewer is now exaggerating the problem of illegal immigrants. See what she said and see the criticism below.

Jan Brewer

PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer said Friday that most illegal immigrants entering Arizona are being used to transport drugs across the border, an assertion that critics painted as exaggerated and racist.

Brewer said the motivation of "a lot" of the illegal immigrants is to enter the United States to look for work, but that drug rings press them into duty as drug "mules."

"I believe today, under the circumstances that we're facing, that the majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming into the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels and they are bringing drugs in," Brewer said.

"There's strong information to us that they come as illegal people wanting to come to work. Then they are accosted and they become subjects of the drug cartel," she said.

Brewer's office said it was preparing a statement in response to a request by The Associated Press for any statistics or other information supporting her assertion.

"Unless Gov. Brewer can provide hard data to substantiate her claim that most undocumented people crossing into Arizona are 'drug mules,' she must retract such an outrageous statement," said Oscar Martinez, a University of Arizona history professor whose teaching and research focuses on border issues. "If she has no data and is just mouthing off for political reasons, as I believe she is doing, then she must apologize to the people of Arizona for lying to them so blatantly."

Sen. Jesus Ramon Valdes, a member of the Mexican Senate's northern border affairs commission, called Brewer's comments racist and irresponsible.

"Traditionally, migrants have always been needy, humble people who in good faith go looking for a way to better the lives of their families," Ramon Valdes said.

A Border Patrol spokesman said illegal immigrants do sometimes carry drugs across the border, but he said he couldn't provide numbers because the smugglers are turned over to prosecutors.

"I wouldn't say that every person that is apprehended is being used as a mule," spokesman Mario Escalante said from Tucson. "The smuggling organizations, in their attempts to be lucrative and to make more money, they'll try pretty much whatever they need."

T.J. Bonner, president of the union that represents border agents, said some illegal border-crossers carry drugs but most don't. People with drugs face much stiffer penalties for entering the U.S. illegally, and very few immigrants looking for work want to risk the consequences, Bonner said.


I will repeat what I said before. Yes, we have a serious crime problem in Arizona and the violence across the border is in danger of spilling over into our state. We have many murders here and almost every one is drug related. However, this law does absolutely nothing to solve that problem. We already have laws to take care of that, if a law alone is the answer. If you think that demanding papers will catch the drug lords I have a piece of the Grand Canyon I can sell you. It's all a 'feel good; I'm doing something' piece of legislation. Politics as usual.

Jan B. is upping the rhetoric. At a recent speech she itemized the things that we Arizonans need to be frightened about. Calamity Jan included beheadings. The only problem is, there has never been a beheading in Arizona. It's true that the drug wars over the border have escalated to that horrifying level, but it is strictly drug war related and the desperate people crossing the border just want a job.

I hope this divisive immigration law is stopped dead in it's tracks. If not, be warned that the fallout will be hard to watch.

As an aside, the one good thing that some had hoped that would come out of this law was forcing Congress to take up action on real immigration. It looks like they are afraid to touch this until after the Fall elections. So much for high hopes.

News Flash: Just in. The DOJ has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against SB1070. Jan Brewer is furious. Why didn't she see this coming before signing this hateful legislation?

To fully understand this legislation please follow the link. Fact Check has laid it all out.
For your information the government has put up a web site that makes it easy to compare insurance options in your state. If you are thinking of changing companies it's worth a visit.,


Rain said...

The sheriff apparently hasn't been looking at the law as it does not permit stopping someone just because they look illegal. It permits asking for the ID only after a legal stop for legitimate reasons. Does he have a motivation in encouraging more fear than already is being stirred up by the media?

It will be decided whether it's Constitutional for a state to enforce a federal law hopefully by the fall as the government has sued and the Supreme Court should get it as rapidly as possible which could be next fall for a decision. I hope it doesn't drag out as many other states are considering similar laws. This needs to be settled. The issue though is since it is a federal law already, will they change that law?

For newspapers, just keep in mind that the Bay Area is a sanctuary area which means it has been profiting and encouraging illegals to come up and work for cheaper labor and more numbers in their programs. Sanctuary cities will see any enforcement, and that would include federal, to be a challenge to what they have been doing.

I think a lot who worry about the criminal aspect are most concerned about what they see happening just across a very porous border. The same ones bringing up laborers are bringing up drugs and the violence just south of our border is horrendous. Our ignoring our own laws is helping others to be killed and have to live in fear which should matter to us even when it's not within our country if we are the cause. I know that's not exaggerated by my own experiences in Nogales and down in border country just north of the border. The situation as it is is not tolerable but if Arizona's law is thrown out, which it might well be, what will the federal government then do?

Incidentally, the federal government is also trying to block Arizona's law to force employers to check ID before hiring someone. What is this really all about?

Betty said...

I have been reading about the Arizona law, but it is much more interesting to hear from an Arizona resident. Calamity Jane is a good name for her. I know immigration is a big problem for many states, but unfortunately Arizona is an example of what can happen when a right winger uses it as a political football. Immigration has been on Obama's "to do" list, but so many unexpected problems have cropped up that it has put off action on it. He'll address it soon, I hope.

Darlene said...

*Betty - I know we disagree on this issue, but please forgive me because I must correct you on the wording oof the bill. The Sheriff has read the bill and these are the exact words from Section B of the Sb1070 pertaining to the issue you raised.

B: For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of the state, or a county, city town or other political subdivision of this state where REASONABLE SUSPICION exists that a person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States a reasonable attempt shall be made, where practicable, to determine the immigration status of that person.

Section E also states that the officer may arrest that person WITHOUT A WARRANT if the officer has PROBABLE CAUSE.

Actually I read that article in the Bay area newspaper, but it was a reprint of the original from a Phoenix paper. And I think all states profit from the cheap labor, not just a sanctuary city. For example,the meat packing industries in the South.

Where did you find the news that the Federal Gov't. is trying to block AZ law re checking the ID? That's news to me.

*Betty - I read that immigration is now considered the 'third rail' of politics and no one wants to touch it before the election. I do think Obama would like to get a bill passed, but Congress is resistant. Harry Reid got in trouble for bringing it up and lost Lindsey Graham's vote on finance reform. Such a bunch of self serving wimps.

Rain said...

It is what I have read that the law was tweaked after it was first brought up and I will have to look for the article but it specifically says during a stop for a legitimate reason.

And same thing with the federal government suing Arizona over its working regulations.

Just remember that it is a federal law that we are talking about here. If that federal law no longer suits, perhaps it should be changed but ignoring it is wrong.

I'll see if I can find links on both. It's very ironic as I find myself arguing here from one side politically and in another blog from the other. That is the problem with being a moderate. You never really agree with others.

Many have profited from the labor of migrants that is under the table. My daughter when she lived in Georgia said they routinely would round them up when the onion harvest was just about done to avoid paying them; then one year they did it before it was done and the farmers were furious. It has been a nasty secret in this country and nothing I have seen proposed yet will change it.

Rain said...

oh wait, I just reread what you said and yes, for any lawful contact which means stopped for a legitimate purpose. A lawful contact is not just stopping everybody on the street. Police do not have that right for any of us. It means in the instance of a traffic stop or some other such possible violation of the law, they can ask for ID which any person here legally should have with them by law... federal law that is.

Obviously we will not agree about this. Time will tell how the courts see it. What I hope is that if Arizona's law is thrown out that the federal government will do something about what is going on as it's not fair to the migrant or the citizens here. It is also not fair to the people of the border to the north of it or south of it.

Rain said...

I looked to find where I read that about HB 2779 but with the newest lawsuit sucking the air out of the atmosphere, I have no idea. If I see it again, I'll let you know. It's likely that if the courts decide that Arizona has no right to enforce the immigration law requiring people from other countries to carry documentation, they will also find the state has no right to enforce the similar federal statute regarding working.

Barry said...

Two thumbs up, Darlene.

Hattie said...

What a mess. D'you think all this will help with the Gulf oil spill? When did Americans become such cowards, anyway? Oh,,,,violence and those dark people swarming over the border. What rot. I can't be nice about this at all.
I think too many white people are racist and panicky and they ought to take their you know whats out of their you know whats and join the human race.

Rain said...

Before people condemn Arizona, they should read a little about what is going on within a few miles of the border-- stories like this one 21 killed in gun battle by rival gangs. They should note the police officers shot down for no more reason than enforcing the law. The people beheaded. If that was within a few miles of their homes, they might be more concerned.

I am wasting my breath here saying it but Arizona is proudly multi-cultural. If someone lives in say Tucson and does not know it, I think they must stay in their suburbs and never venture out into the whole city for the celebrations.

Hispanics, who are not Native Americans, are Caucasians. 30% of Arizona is Hispanic and only run into trouble with the law when they do something against it like anybody else.

This problem with the border is about smuggling drugs and people. It is about those who do it as much as those who are being smuggled north. It is extremely violent and anybody who doesn't know it, doesn't live near it or get out into it.

The laws Arizona wants to enforce are US laws. The goal is at least partly to take the profit out of this illegal trade and it would help if Americans also legalized marijuana as they are obviously using it and might as well do it honestly.

The issue in the courts will be whether the state has a right to enforce those laws if the federal government will not or cannot. It is not about stopping everybody who looks illegal. It is about doing something about it once it is found that they are. That is where the anger is. Many people want nothing done about it and a good percentage of those are paying someone to clean their house or do their gardening or pick their produce and don't want prices to go up.

I won't post on this again as it's obviously not help as people, as with so many issues in the US right now, have made up their minds what they think. The Supreme Court will be the one to decide if it's legal for a state to enforce a federal law and that will happen hopefully sooner than later to get this behind us.

IF the US does grant blanket amnesty to 10 million people, they will be replaced by 10 million more here illegally for so Americans can hire at cheaper wages; so it won't do any good for the illegal problem at all. I do believe in a path to citizenship for anybody who works in this country long enough and wants it (not all want to be citizens. some are here just for the jobs, send the money back home and hope to return there).

If we don't stop the border problem, we are being unfair to Mexico and those who are impacted by the traffic there. We could do it. It just costs money. That reason is why we don't do a lot of things.

Darlene said...

*Rain - If SB 1070 restricts the law officers from stopping anyone and can only ask for their papers if they are stopped for a legitimate reason like a traffic violation, then what in the hell is the reason for the anti-immigration law? The law officers do that every day now and catch many undocumented workers and turn them over to immigration.

The Federal law is not ignored, but not enforced often enough. That's where the focus should be. Arresting employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers would be a good start.

Somehow I think the point I have been trying to make is being obscured with side issues. Of course Arizona not only can, but does, enforce the Federal law. Nothing can, or will, change that.

The statistics show that they are catching more UW's every day and that crime in Tucson and the surrounding area is actually lower now than a year ago. I am not talking about the violence across the border. We all know how horrific it is. It is between the drug and human trafficking cartels. And it is, as you stated, just a few miles away from those living on the border. Yes, it's scary and Mexico needs to step up it's war with them. But that has nothing to do with SB1070. SB1070 does not address that problem and will do nothing to solve it.

I do think you are missing the point on amnesty. If it is enacted properly, there will no longer be cheap labor and there will be no incentive for people to take the risk of coming here. If it is done right, all employers will have to adhere to strict laws in hiring. So the ones here will not be replaced by another 11 million. It is the only workable solution. And if we would use our heads and legalize drugs there would no longer be a profit for the drug cartels. It's just common sense.

Rain, I do take some of your points and know you are a thinking person. We can disagree on this and still be friends, I hope. You are always entitled to your position on my blog.

*Barry - Thank you.

*Hattie - I know where they should put their heads. ;-)

Rain said...

Yes, we can be friends as I think we both want the best for Arizona and the country.

The difference in the law would be they could be arrested and turned over for deportation. Some have been doing that already but it's not been on top the table as the law. In a state like Oregon, they cannot even ask for identification. A driver's license from some states is like getting candy, doesn't require any documentation. Arizona has a driver's (and non-driver's) license that you must be a citizen to acquire and if a citizen was stopped on a driving offense, they'd have to have it anyway and it's sufficient to prove they are here legally.

I think what the law wanted to do was make it uniform across the state because some Arizona cities have also been sanctuaries which means cannot ask. Maybe it also hoped to force the federal government to enforce its own laws. Have you heard Holder's argument that the Arizona law would interfere with federal enforcement? Yeah right...

There is no reason to think amnesty would solve anything given that was exactly what Reagan said would happen after his amnesty where they would then check ID for working and protect the border. Didn't happen and won't now if we don't show we can do it first. Rather than starting with citizenship, I think we should start with legal work permits and prove we can make those work. If we would enforce that, in the workplace, as you said, that would be a start to proving we could stop the flow.

Recently I read that the smugglers have permanent stations to watch for border patrol and protect their turf-- on our side of the border, in the mountains. I can well believe that given my own experiences down in that country. We should cede no part of our country to them just because it's easier. We can stop this if we want. It is the only fair thing for the people along both sides of the border.

When down in that country, I have seen the men who are bringing people and drugs across. You don't want to run into them in a vulnerable situation. This situation has brought up to that region the worst of the worst. We have to show we mean it on our border. Amnesty won't show that at all. It will just make more think if they can get up here, it'll happen again.

Yes, I favor amnesty eventually but I want to see that we can really stop what is happening first. I want real work permits and enforcement of them. It's just words until it happens. And I have heard the words in the '80s. They were meaningless.

Darlene said...

*Rain - You make some good points. I will quibble a little with your point that "the difference in the law is that they could be arrested and turned over for deportation." They are legally doing that now. That's a Federal law. They turn them over to Immigration for deportation when they catch an illegal every day now.

I guess we will just have to let this play out and see what happens.

Hattie said...

If this pushes my buttons, it's because my grandmother was a so-called "Hispanic." The amount of nonsense about Mexicans that people believe would fill a library.
So if people really would like to inform themselves they could read *Murder City,* by Charles Bowden. He actually knows something. Who is the market for the drugs? Why your wonderful fellow Americans, that's who!
By the way: Want to do all your own scutwork? Why, then, by all means send the Mexicans back to Mexico!

Darlene said...

*Hattie - We all know that racism played a big part in the drafting of this law by radical Republicans in our 'leggie'. Mexicans are just like any other ethnic group. There are good ones and bad ones. I will try to find the book you mentioned.

We agree that if there wasn't a demand for drugs there would be no drug wars. Again, I state that legalizing them like alcohol would make a large part of that problem go away. Remember Prohibition gave rise to the Mafia and guys like Al Capone who got rich on the U.S. trying to legalize morality.

It seems like we are going at solving this problem (and it is a big problem) bass-ackwards.

Rain said...

I have never paid anybody to clean my home, do my gardening or cook the family dinners, nor have I hired a nanny, rarely even used babysitters... nor have I ever bought or consumed an illegal drug. Although through buying groceries, probably I am touched by the illegal labor. I would not though hire contractor who I knew was using illegal labor and mostly you do know when they are.

I have read what it's like in migrant camps in various states and there is no way I want to be party to that. I see where they live out here in the country and it's not good either. Although I recognize many of those men don't want to stay up here, they are here for the jobs which are better than from where they have come. They send the money home. In the case of those here illegally, they are sometimes victimized but can't go to the law for fear of being deported. It's a wrong system and needs to be changed but it will not be by somebody simply getting amnesty. It will do nothing to stop the smugglers nor the working situation.

As for the name Hispanic, what most people try to do is call people what they prefer and hence Hispanic (from Mexico) and Latino (from Central America) but many might be using them interchangeably. It used to be Mexican American and we were told it should be Chicano but Chicano became an insult. I try to call someone what they prefer.

My ancestors are all from Europe but they were all hard working people. As an older man, my father cleaned a school and my mother cleaned houses. I do not see hard labor as anything to be anything but proud of in a person's family. What I want to see is our country do what is right and what is happening right now is not right. Just granting amnesty won't solve it. I do not trust those who would say they'll do what nobody has done until they prove it. I also feel that many countries, ours certainly, have profited from exploiting workers. It's time to stop it. And if it costs us money, it's what it should do.

Now I don't say that the ones promoting this law are not bigots (racists doesn't fit since Hispanic and Latinos are generally Caucasians but you can still be a bigot). But the current situation is wrong and they are right that it needs to change! And I will speak out on it even though some call me a racist for doing it. I know what I am and names don't hurt me-- although they are never fun!

I said I'd not comment on this again and here I have but this time I definitely will not. People do see it differently and that's the American way.

Darlene said...

*Rain - I absolutely agree with you on the shame of employers exploiting the workers and that the system must be changed.

Thank you for clarifying the difference between Hispanic and Latino. I thought Hispanic covered all from Latin America and Cuba, etc. Sorry for my boo-boo.

I don't think anyone believes that you are a racist, Rain. You just have a different opinion on how to solve the problem.

FOR EVERYONE'S INFORMATION: Since we have gone into this discussion at great length I just added a link on my post to FACT CHECK so people can fully understand this law, what it does and what it says. Then make up your own mind.

Vagabonde said...

This is an interesting issue and I can see how people are getting upset on both sides. My first cousin’s son, who lives in Cairo, Egypt has been trying to get an immigrant visa to the US for 5 years now – and he is a physician, not a laborer – maybe that’s why.

When I came to this country – to travel – I knew I would have to work to have money to travel to all the states, so I applied for an immigration visa. I thought it would take a couple of years, enough for me to save some money. My visa was approved in 45 days! I was flabbergasted and not prepared. They told me that not too many French people immigrated to the US (they come on students visa, tourist visa, exchange visa, but they don’t stay) so that’s why it was so fast. I told them to hold my visa for a year, and they did.

In the fall my husband and I wanted to go somewhere for a week. We thought Arizona would be nice, but then I was scared off. I have a strong French accent, and I am the one driving. Here in Georgia they stop cars just to check their insurance cards (that is a legal way for the police to check you.) I have a driver’s license, but really to prove my citizenship I would have to bring my citizenship paperwork. It is too precious to take on a trip, So, instead we are going back to New York City. I know some other European-American friends who are not going to Arizona for the same reason – why go where it could be a hassle? We think that for the Police not to appear to only check Hispanics, or Latinos, they will check other people with accents too, like my French accent or my friend’s Irish one. I have not been back to Arizona since the 60s - but I’ll wait.

I tell you one thing I am tired off – is that people here think that all immigrants came here because they wanted a better life and were poor. My friends, including me, came with degrees and money. Two of my Italian friends opened restaurants and another one is a Polish scientist in a university. Not all immigrants are illiterate (English is my third fluent language and I converse in two more.)

Vagabonde said...
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Vagabonde said...

This is very strange – I tried to post my comment and it kept saying that Blogger was not able to post it. So I posted it again and again, and finally the same post published several times. I deleted the duplicate comments.

K. said...

Congressional Democrats have for some time been prepared to support bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes improved border security. Republicans have refused to participate in this compromise unless border security comes first. Democrats don't trust them, and why should they? So if you're unhappy with border security, aim your displeasure at Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. They've been holding it up.

Anyway, why is this suddenly a big deal? 11,000,000 people didn't get here overnight. When right-wing whites push through partisan legislation aimed at minorities, it's cause for alarm regardless of the circumstances. When the governor justifies the law with such amorphous terms as "a lot," "strong information," and "some," it's not unreasonable to suspect a wedge issue.

Finally, individual states have no business enforcing federal statutes under any circumstances. It interferes with national policy; that is a really bad idea that puts us on a slippery slope leading to individual states determining the constitutional rights of its residents. There's a term for that known as Jim Crow.

The Arizona right has chosen a deliberately provocative approach to immigration, one it knew would be discriminatory and polarizing. That Arizona even has the capacity to enforce this legislation is highly suspect. For shame.

Darlene said...

*K - Thank you for your insight. I, of course, agree 100%.

tnlib said...

Re comment problems. Blogger has been messed up for a few days. You just have to keep trying.

I read today that some AZ representative (a woman) supports the law.

Darlene said...

*Vagabonde - I am so sorry that you were scared off and didn't come to Arizona. The law doesn't go into effect until July 29, if ever. I don't think the police will be looking for French immigrants; this is directly aimed at the ones coming across the border from Mexico.

I don't think anyone believes that all immigrants came here because they were tired and poor, but the Republican idiots in our legislature have so distorted the facts that no one really knows what to believe. Just another reason why this law was so stupid.

Darlene said...

*tnlib - Yes, I saw that, too. I think she was one of the co-sponsors of SB1070 (All Republicans) but I just scanned the headlines and didn't go into the entire article. The polls show that 75% support this. I find that incredibly hard to believe. I don't think they have a clue about what's in the bill.

Rain said...

I came across links to what I was talking about above that the Obama administration is suing Arizona over its 2007 working permit law also on the same grounds that it's up to the federal government to enforce immigration. The links were in this paragraph in the NY Times editorial for today which would be easy to find if one wishes them. They are using the same grounds which is that it's up to the federal government to enforce immigration laws and even if it does not, the states have no such right to take it over:

"The court has already taken a related Arizona case for its next term. It challenges a 2007 law penalizing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The administration has urged the court to strike down that law for many of the same reasons it cited on Tuesday, and we hope the court uses that case to undermine the notion that states can set their own immigration policy."

Since the courts previously stopped California from having such a law (not under Obama), I hope we stop pretending and let people just walk across as the existing system is totally unfair to those on both sides of the border. It would at least cut down on some of the smuggler's profits and maybe reduce their numbers. We could hope... Legalizing marijuana could take another bite since Americans seem unwilling to give up their pot smoking. Reducing the numbers of the smugglers might help some if there is to be no other remedy.

Darlene said...

*Rain - I appreciate the reference. It's really quite simple. There are rights granted to the Federal Government and rights granted to the States.