Friday, July 30, 2010

Arizona, Immigration, and the Law

We heard just the other day that a Federal Court judge had put a stay on implementation of  much of the Arizona iimmigration law.  This stay is based upon the judge's belief that these aspects of the law overstepped constitutional boundaries, and intruded in federal jurisdictions.  It is a decision that is seemingly unpopular with many, one the Arizona governor Jan Brewer has appealed, and one the local sheriff apparently plans to flout.  But it is one applauded by many religious leaders, especially within the Roman Catholic Church.   

I recognize that the Arizona law is in part a reflection of frustration with the inability of the Federal Government to come to grips with immigration.  There have been attempts to rectify the situation, but there hasn't been the political will to accomplish reform, in part because there is no consensus on what  to do, as well as conflicting agendas.  There are business leaders who are largely Republican that want to broaden access for migrant workers, because they need these workers.  These are also the folks who are hiring undocumented workers.  On the other hand there are Democrats who are concerned about civil rights, and thus concerned about the civil rights issues involved, and yet they have constituents concerned about loss of jobs.  Then mix into this a growing nativism, and you have the foundations of a stalemate.

As for the law itself, it simply goes way to far.  Not only does it step on the toes of  the federal government, but it creates untold numbers of problems, including potential for abuse of civil rights.  Proponents of the law say they don't understand why there is all the fuss about producing documents.  But, most of these proponents are white and unlikely to ever be asked to produce such documents such as a birth certificate.  How many of us carry proof of citizenship?   Few if any.  But, if you're Latino, well that's different.  Why?  Because you fit the profile of someone who society believes might be here illegally.    Therefore, one could be a Brit living here illegally, probably having overstayed one's visa, or maybe even a Canadian, but no one would ask for documents, but one could be Latino, having lived here legally one's life, but be required to produce documents -- because they fit the profile.  Suspicions are based on profiles.  You can train the cops and mean well, but the pressure is on in Arizona to show results.  And so rights will be abused.     

Now, what would be best would be for Congress to get behind a reform measure that is realistic and that provides needed security.  I realize in today's political climate that's not likely, but this would be helpful.  It is also time for a broader discussion about immigration.  Why people have come here to the US, and why they continue to come.  Its time w reflect on the benefits that immigration provides to the nation.  After all we are a nation of immigrants.  Even Native Americans migrated here from Asia thousands of years ago.  We also need to recognize that migrants aren't the cause of drug related crimes.  Yes some are involved, but they're not the cause.  The cause is the insatiable appetite on the part of Americans for cocaine and other drugs, signs that the American "war on drugs" has been a failure.

My hope is that the Supreme Court will throw this law out so that we can get on with resolving the real problems.

5 comments:

Gary said...

Most of the liberals feel like the very idea of borders is an infringment on human rights and are unwilling to do ANYTHING to prevent people from coming into the US. george bush refused to do anything about people coming illegally into the country, and now obama has followed bush's example. The differences between bush and obama are in degree, not in kind.

I expect things to get much worse. The feds won't enforce the law, and they won't permit the states to do anything either. Eventually, white people will take matters into their own hands. Illegals will start having their houses burned, and some will be killed. Which is what happens when the government refuses to obey the law.

Anonymous said...

Since liberals are unwilling to do ANYTHING to prevent people from coming into the US, I assume it will be white conservatives like Gary that will be burning down houses and killing people in Gary's prophetic vision.

David Mc said...

I agree that governments should follow all the laws, especially the ones they hold their citizens to. And to find and prosecute all murderers and arsonists.

John said...

Gary,

"Eventually, white people will take matters into their own hands. Illegals will start having their houses burned, and some will be killed. Which is what happens when the government refuses to obey the law."

Have you no shame?

John

David Mc said...

Gary, does Jesus cheer those white guys on? I mean, if he took sides I think whites are the ones in trouble.