Illegal Immigration, Fairness and Apartheid
Last Friday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed State Bill 1070 into law. The reformed immigration law states, “The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” Its intent couldn’t be any clearer. Basing the decision on the Federal Government’s clear dereliction of duty to protect what George Will calls “the essential attribute of national sovereignty,” Arizonans decided to expand law enforcement’s reach in cracking down on illegal aliens. In the few days since its passage we have seen mass protests and arrests, groups already suing, political jockeying and emotional rabble-rousing to the third degree.
But before we all take sides on this highly volatile issue we should first attempt to understand the facts underlying the situation, as well as the arguments both sides are using to placate the others.
- As of 2007, the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates there are over 460,000 illegal immigrants currently calling Arizona home. The entire population of Arizona is estimated at around 6.5 million. The financial drain nearly half a million illegal immigrants have on social welfare programs, schools, hospitals, prisons and the overall economy is obvious and immense. AZ residents are being forced to underwrite the costs of over 7% of their population who consume far more social services than the taxes they put in to the state.
- A Rasmussen poll found that 70% of Arizona residents support the legislation, and another poll found that over 60% of all Americans favor similar legislation. The law as written will allow local officers to question citizenship status of persons with whom they believe “Reasonable Suspicion Exists.” Though they are merely enforcing at the local level and making a state crime one that is already federal, the difference is that the old statute would only allow for citizenship questioning if they were being held or questioned for other offenses.
- One-third of Arizona residents are Hispanic. And racial profiling is still prohibited under this law. Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce one of the bill’s co-sponsors said this, “In fact, we put profiling as an illegal issue in the bill. We codified it. We made sure people can’t racially profile.”
- Federal law states that those here illegally are committing a federal crime. There have been countless murders and other violent offenses by illegal immigrants in Arizona, culminating with the murder of Rancher Robert Krentz in March. Governor Brewer stated at the signing of the bill, “Border related violence and crime due to illegal immigration are critically important issues for the people of our state.” She also issued an executive order which will require additional training for officers in regards to the bills implementation and avoidance of racial profiling.
- Down in Mexico, the crime of being an illegal immigrant is a felony, one that can get your 2 years in prison under a system that doesn’t value due process as much as the United States
- Both political sides have dragged their feet in tackling the issue of illegal immigration. Ronald Reagan famously gave a path to citizenship for some 2.7 million illegals under the guise of securing the border going forward. That never happened. Now we have easily over 12 million illegals. In 2007 Americans overwhelmingly rejected a “path –to-citizenship” plan pushed by John McCain. Democratic groups have longed pushed for greater legal immigration and opening of our borders for future voting blocks. Republican groups have long shied away from cracking down due to the desire for cheap labor and self preservation from a hot button issue.
Now let’s take a look at who the opponents of this bill are as well as the arguments being used against it.
- Certain civil rights groups and Hispanic Lobby groups, Immigrant Advocacy groups, The National Day-Laborer Organizing Network, La Raza, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, The ACLU, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama, etc.
Comments and Arguments against the bill:
- Jesse Jackson – “It is a punitive, negative, un-constitutional law, which presumes guilt and selectively punishes Latinos.” “Really it’s a form of terrorism for the innocent.”
- Mayor of Phoenix Phil Gordon – When asked by Laura Ingraham whether or not the bill was very popular with Arizona residents, he replied “Yes but so was discrimination in the south and in Nazi Germany they had 100%.
- New York Times columnist Paul Krugman – When asked whether or not failure to secure the border was a federal failure forcing states to act he replied, “We have never put in enough money is what it comes down to enforce the border. It’s not a deep issue of principle it’s a question of resources. Demanding that we set up a system which will turn us into one of those apocryphal foreign authoritarian regimes.”
- Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker – “it harkens back to apartheid. A rancher was killed apparently by drug smugglers, but this has absolutely no bearing on that problem. All it does is open the door for harassment of citizens.”
- National Day Laborer Organizing Network Counsel Chris Newman – “This is the most racist bill that we’ve seen in a generation.”
- Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva – “By signing the law, the governor basically codified into state law racial profiling, violation of civil rights, due process and constitutional violations.”
- Former Arizona State Senator Alfredo Gutierrez – “This bill has absolutely nothing to do with the border…it’s about racial profiling.” “This bill is about intimidation and harassment… What is the public purpose of stopping someone and asking everyone in their car for their papers when they’re on their way to synagogue or to church.”
Let the debate rage on. I’m curious to hear where popular sentiment resides. Seems that the left has finally decided to draw a line in the sand in regards to where government authority should cease.