What Is Arizona Thinking?

Last Friday Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a Republican backed bill into law that will require law enforcement officers to perform documentation checks on people in Arizona. This is the result of Arizona’s frustration with the lack of help from the federal government with the states ever more violent illegal immigrant problem. Arizona has valid points and concerns – recently a rancher was murdered on his property in the border lands and the violence in the Mexican drug cartels has increased. Ciudad Juarez – just across the border from El Paso, TX has become a war zone and businesses have packed up shop and left town. These facts aside, the methods that Arizona has just passed into law are troublesome.

Immigration policy is under federal jurisdiction – this is not something like gambling or motor vehicle laws that are in bailiwick of state government. The United States cannot have 50 states creating their own immigration policies or requiring all sorts of documentation that would allow a person to be legal in one region but not in another. Although Arizona’s new law has safeguards in place to prevent racial profiling it is not difficult to see where this is heading. Officers will be able to stop Latinos at will to “check their papers.” People who have forgot their papers will be subject to arrest and deportation – although it is unclear to this writer how a state can get the power or right to deport. This is the type of harassment that our nation has gone to war over – defeating fascism in World War II and while fighting communism in the Cold War. Of course, we happily look the other way when it is in our “interest” to have a blind eye (Saudi Arabia comes to mind.)

The new law in Arizona is likely to be struck down by the United States Supreme Court if for no other reason than that it is giving the states power in an area reserved for the federal government. Arizona has fired the opening salvo on behalf of the Border States as a wake up call to the federal government – enforce our borders, come up with a new, workable immigration plan or expect the states to try and take the situation into their own hands. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has put this topic high on his list of things to get done in the coming weeks. We can only hope that he is serious and plans to work in a bi-partisan way to get this done. There is much doubt that anything will be done – Reid is pandering to the Latino population of his home state and there are so many ideas from the ultra liberal to the ultra strict on how the country should tackle this ever present problem that a compromise with our current set of leaders seems to be a long shot at best. The problem needs to be solved but not at the expense of common sense and individual rights that this country has fought for and defended for over 200 years.

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8 Responses to “What Is Arizona Thinking?”

  1. Erin Cizina Says:

    I am very impressed with this view of the law in Arizona. I live in Tucson and have heard nothing but hotheaded ranting about how stupid and inane this action was. Of course, I am one of those hotheaded folks.

    I have no admiration for Brewer whatsoever and I don’t think the real intention of this legislation was to give the federal government a wake up call, although that would be a wise move if it had been.

    I am now pretty certain that this law will never see the light of day but the simple fact that Gov Brewer signed it makes Arizona look like the laughing stock of the entire country. That makes me sad at a time when we are knee deep in debt and need all the tourism we can possibly muster. How many people are going to change their vacation plans now?

    Thank you for your levelheaded commentary and for helping us look at this legislation from all sides.

  2. Larry Davis Says:

    Thanks, Mike, for your reasoned approach. I will defer to Erin, who is a resident of Arizona.

    From the outside, it looks like a desperation move, but perhaps it will give law enforcement the opportunity to “deal” with immigration by unconstitutional means. I think (and hope) this law will be struck down by the Supreme Court. However, you have the states-rights justices (Roberts, Scalia, Alito) who might be trouble.

  3. sapblatt Says:

    Larry –
    Thanks for the feedback – my hope is that by the states tramping over an area reserved for federal enforcement the federal courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court will squash this as not being a states right.

  4. Larry Davis Says:

    I hope you’re right. Keep your fingers crossed!

  5. Ben Deily Says:

    :-} Wow…does this guy (Kris W. Kobach) ever NOT make the law seem any more palatable with this defense:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/opinion/29kobach.html?bl

  6. sapblatt Says:

    Ben – thanks for reading and posting that article – I think Kobach, who worked directly for Ashcroft makes some “wonderful” theoretical points – but this if this law hits the streets theory is out the window and “practice” begins. I cannot see anyway this law gets enforced on a daily basis without a strong bias and racial profiling coming into play.

  7. The Three I’s – Immigration, Illegals and Irony « Symptom of the Universe Says:

    […] in a southwestern border state. The issue is growing and Arizona’s recent immigration law[1] ( read blog post ) which will allow law enforcement to demand papers of anyone that they pull over with reasonable […]

  8. Arizona Immigration Reform 60 Days Later « Symptom of the Universe Says:

    […] https://sapblatt.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/what-is-arizona-thinking/ [1] http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf […]

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