You have to hand it to right wing Republicans. They certainly know how to adopt an issue and get behind a law based on that issue that they know a) will probably be overturned by a court because it's unconstitutional and b) if it's not overturned won't actually fix the problem, in any case. Because see, if you fix a problem, then you can't run on it. I mean, how long do you lame right wing idiots have to be strung along before you figure out they have absolutely no intention of outlawing abortion, stopping drugs or reducing illegal immigration, because to do so would make it almost impossible for them to bitch about stuff that gets them elected.
Case in point; S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration law that is unconstitutional and guaranteed not to work. Yeah! Republicans got a two-fer on that one.
Look; I know Arizona very well. Most of the people there are generally nice, face to face. They’re sweet and
kind and they seem to always smile.
Of course, I’m white; they have nothing against me.
I spent about 10 years of my life living in Arizona,
mostly in the Tucson area, with a pretty decent knowledge of other areas, as
well. And one thing I have always found strange is that the white people in the
state seem to think they “own” the state, and it is by their grace that Hispanics
are allowed to live there. Kind of
strange for a region that we once purchased from Mexico, don’t you think?
Now, I'm not suggesting that Arizona is full of
racists and bigots. That’s not the case at all. But Arizona has a good-sized pocket of racists and bigots with a lot of money and big mouths, who
moved there from other states (primarily California – the word “Californication”
did not originate from the TV series; we were using it to describe the influx
of moneyed Californians when David Duchovny was a bit player in “Working Girl”), in part because those states were just "too liberal."
In other words, pockets of right wingers have taken over
the suburbs east of Phoenix, and apparently intend to “cleanse” the state of
brown people. They’re not a majority, but they’re loud and they have a talent
for making unreasonable things seem reasonable. Immigration is one of those issues that does need a solution, but their "solutions" never actually address the problem. The biggest problem with illegal immigration, honestly, is that it's too easy for the bad guys to slip in amongst the good people who are just here to provide a better life for their family. Unfortunately, Arizona Republicans seem to think the best way to deal with this is to pretend it's possible to round up every undocumented immigrant and send them all back. Nationally, the estimates range from 6-12 million folks. Even if you could fit 100 on a bus, that's 60,000-100,000 bus loads. IF you could find them all.
That's the real immigration problem; identifying them all.
On the political side of things, the moderates sticking it out in the Republican Party are being bullied
by a relatively small number of people, and forcing them to accept things they
might not normally accept. Look at John McCain for a clue. Now, I have never
voted for McCain and would never vote for McCain, but John McCain’s election victories never made me apoplectic. He was too far right for my taste, but he was never a far right ideologue.
Until now. Now, he’s being pressed way to the right by a Republican machine
that backs former sportscaster and absolute moron and nutjob JD Hayworth, in
order to try to keep his seat. I mean, he's starting to sound like Jon Kyl, and Arizona doesn't need two morons in the Senate.
The Arizona immigration nonsense law passed because a relatively small group of wingnut Republicans who represent areas like Mesa, Scottsdale
and the redneck boonie areas in the north and west bullied other Republicans
into voting for this piece of shit, probably thinking that new Wingnut governor
Jan Brewer wouldn’t be stupid enough to sign it.
So, Arizona’s stuck with a bill that is clearly,
absolutely unconstitutional, and is essentially being branded unfairly as a
state full of anti-Hispanic bigots.
Strangely, a majority of Americans seem to like the idea
behind this bill, which actually just goes to show just how much our schools are
failing us when it comes to teaching people basic civics. Let me explain to you
people in a calm, rational way why this law is a really bad idea. There are two
separate and distinct reasons why it won’t work.
This isn't rocket science, folks. Eric Holder didn't file suit against the state because President Obama is a socialist and wants total power over the states. The suit was filed because all 50 states ratified the Constitution and all of them agreed that federal laws would supersede state law. The Constitution gives the federal government jurisdiction over
the border. In fact, the border between Arizona and Mexico isn’t even a state
border; it’s a federal border. Period.
But that’s not the only Constitutional issue at play
here. In fact, if the federal government was being negligent in its coverage of
the border with Mexico (they’re not), I would
not have a problem with Governor Brewer sending deputies to help out the Border
Patrol, in a demonstration to show how negligent they’ve been. But that’s not
what they’re doing with S.B. 1070. This law is unconstitutional in many
ways; and it sets a precedent that we really don’t want as a nation. Trust me;
you don’t want it.
If police can stop you for no reason and demand to see your passport or something, why can't the IRS stop folks on the street and demand proof that they filed an income tax return? Is that the sort of thing you right wingers want to happen? Would you like it if tax officials could just start a blockade on a city street and demand to see everyone's completed tax form, and arrested anyone who didn't carry their tax form as proof?
It's called "due process," folks, and everyone is entitled to it. The way the system works is, the government has to prove you're guilty; you don't have to prove you're not.
Under the Constitution, everyone has the right to freely run,
walk and drive the streets without expectation that anyone will impair you in
any significant way. In fact the government, in the form of law enforcement
officers is absolutely forbidden from impeding your progress in either a car or
on foot, unless they have probable cause that a crime has been committed and that
you committed it.
We’re talking about illegal immigration here, folks, not
armed robbery. The crime is difficult to detect. In fact, it’s not possible to
detect without an examination of official paperwork. Therefore, even though these right wing idiots amended the law somewhat to require "reasonable suspicion," it’s absolutely
impossible to determine “reasonable suspicion” that someone is in the states illegally
without checking their papers. Do we now equip police with "x-ray specs" so they can see into people's wallets? Oh wait; there's no legal requirement that you even have a wallet. In fact, if you're not driving, there is no legal requirement that you carry papers that confirm your identity.
What does that mean? Well, this idiotic law puts the onus
on police to find those who are in Arizona illegally, and even allows lawsuits
from average citizens who decide the police aren’t doing enough to stop illegal
immigration. And the only way to do this is to randomly ask people for their
Now, here’s the rub, people; only about HALF of all
undocumented immigrants in this country actually have brown skin. A large
number of “illegal aliens” come from Canada and Europe; they don’t all come
from Mexico and points south. Therefore, in order to be as efficient as
possible, police will have to randomly stop everyone and demand proof of
citizenship. If they only stop brown people, that's discrimination, which is illegal. Therefore, you white people who love this stupid law; if you don't have a goddamn passport, you'd better get one and carry it around all the time, because you're gonna need it.
What is it about right wingers that their only solutions
to problems seem to be designed to make the United States more like the old
won’t solve the problem.
I have always questioned why illegal immigration from
Mexico was such a big problem, anyway. I mean, I understand that some bad people
come over here to cause trouble, and immigration officials need to track people better. But here's the rub; I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest
that the Mexicans and others coming over here as part of drug cartels probably
have papers. After all, it doesn’t make sense to come over here and call
attention to yourself. It's not all that difficult to go to the border crossing, get a visa for a few days, then commit a crime and return to Mexico.
Yes, that’s right, folks. It is very likely that the
nastiest people coming over the border — the ones we should be most concerned about
— have their papers in order. So who does this law actually target?
I told you earlier; it targets no one. This law will have ZERO effect on illegal immigration.
Does that shock you? It shouldn’t. Right wingers don’t care
about solutions to problems. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that they
are more prone to perpetuate problems than solve them. And this law is one of
those designed to look like it solves a problem that actually does more to
perpetuate the problem than anything.
There are an estimated 400,000 or so illegal immigrants
in Arizona, even according to the most ridiculous counts. There are a little more than 6,500 non-federal
police in Arizona, and most of them are in the Phoenix metro area and points
north. The population of the state is roughly 6 million, with 4.2 million of
those in the Phoenix Metro area. The legal
Hispanic population of the state is roughly 1.3 million. Now, the southernmost portion of the Phoenix Metro area is more than 160 miles from the Mexican border, and there is little farm work. So, it's safe to assume that no more than half of all undocumented immigrants in Arizona are in Phoenix. Therefore, the area with the highest proportion of police probably has the smallest proportion of illegals.
I know. Math is hard for right wingers. But think about this a minute. Even if the rough estimates are correct and
400,000 immigrants are in Arizona illegally, that means, even if all of them
are Hispanic and look it, for every five people police stop for paperwork, only
one on average will actually be illegal.
But that's too simplistic. Like I said, a good portion of illegals will likely
be white, and a large number of them aren’t going to travel 160-200 miles from the
Mexican border to the Phoenix metro area to find work. So you have 6,500 police officers statewide
checking papers of 6 million people, in order to find 400,000 who are
deliberately trying to hide so that they can stay. If every police officer in
the state locates five illegals next year, Arizona won’t even have sent 10% of
the undocumented population back. And each one of those police officers will probably have to ask for the papers of hundreds of people just to find those five.
I know people in Arizona are frustrated, but your frustration is not based on reality. Your frustration is based on the fact that your right wing media and politicians lie to you so much. Did you know,
for example, that crime among undocumented immigrants is actually DOWN in
Arizona? The murder rate in Arizona has dropped in recent years, as well. Drug
use has leveled off quite a bit. In fact, the only crime that hasn’t abated,
apparently is the continued exploitation of foreign workers by business who
care more about saving money than the law, and right wing politicians who
enable them. The biggest problems with illegal immigration happen along the actual border, and this law doesn't address any of that. Do you think police in Douglas, Bisbee and Nogales don't already stop suspicious people and turn them over to ICE officials when they can't produce paperwork? Police already have the power to arrest people they SEE traversing the border illegally and detain them for federal officials. That's because they SEE the crime and they have "probable cause" to hold them.
For shit’s sake, Arizona, you already have a very strong
law on the books that heavily fines businesses that hire those who are here
illegally; why isn’t your right wing governor enforcing THAT law? Why isn't she sending investigators
into personnel offices and checking to make sure everyone’s legal? That's not unconstitutional; when the state charters a corporation to operate in the state, they can put as a condition that everyone employed complies with federal immigration law. That would
make a hell of a lot more sense than this stupid law. You want to get rid of
undocumented immigrants; go after their jobs. Take away the jobs and you remove
Of course, I hope you all like much higher prices on a
lot of things.
Here’s the bottom line on all of this, folks, and why it
should piss off everyone in this country who actually believes in freedom and
The beauty of this country has always been at least partly
based on the premise that the people have the ultimate power, and that it is
the people we place in charge who have the burden of proof in any situation.
The Arizona law turns that concept on its head, because it instructs police to stop anyone they want to and demand proof that
they have not broken the law.
Yes, I know the law has been modified a bit, to require “reasonable
suspicion” for a stop. But “reasonable suspicion” that someone is here
illegally is almost impossible, because it’s based on paperwork. Therefore,
police have two choices; they can just stop people at random and demand
paperwork, which goes against the principles this country stands for; or they
can ignore the law, and be sued by some private citizen or bored crank who ‘s
afraid because there are Mexicans in his neighborhood and they’re not the
Given that this country was built and continues to be
built largely on immigrant labor, this law is shameful on many levels. But more
than that, once again Republicans have come up with a law that infringes on
Constitutional rights without actually fixing a problem. By design. As usual. Get a clue, people.
Copyright 2010 The PCTC Blog