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What’s Really Happening with Arizona’s Immigration Law?

jan brewer Gov. AZArizona Governor, Jan Brewer signed her State’s new tough immigration bill (full unedited text of SB1070) into law this week.  There is heavy support from Arizona residents, but firm opposition from liberal-leaning organizations.

Arizona has been pleading for assistance from the Federal government for years, so this is not a new problem, nor did Obama cause it.  Immigration was a problem Obama had promised to solve in the first year of his presidency and his failure to follow-through has given Governor Brewer no choice but to act at the State level.

The opposition comes from mainly religious, civil liberty and Latino organizations.  The bill is even being compared to the Japanese internment camps of WWII and South African apartheid.  Some complications with those comparisons are that those were injustices against people who had not committed a crime.  Being Japanese and a rightful citizen of the United States is not a crime.  Any race or ethnicity that chooses not to apply through the existing processes and laws, but reside in the U.S. anyway, is breaking current Federal law.  The opposition tries to downplay the criminal aspect of illegal immigration by calling the law-breakers “undocumented workers”.  Whether they work or not, they aren’t documented because they are only here by breaking the law.

Brewer is right to point out that this is a public safety matter.  Crime will go down if there are fewer illegals.  There are studies that have been done over the past ten years that say that illegal immigrants commit crimes at the same rate as citizens, and other studies that say the criminal rate is higher among them – especially for sexual predation.  Assuming that the crime rate among illegal aliens is identical to citizens, those are still crimes.  If the illegal aliens weren’t there, should it be assumed that some other person would go commit that same crime in their stead?  The large number of illegal aliens in the justice system also increases costs for state and local governments.

Day laborersThe law does not give state law enforcement any new powers for search and seizure.  The law still requires reasonable suspicion, the same tests applied for other crimes committed by both citizens or aliens.  The law actually mandates that they must enforce the existing federal law to its full extent.  Some might find it puzzling that they weren’t already doing that.  A few new state provisions make the federal crimes into state crimes, such as failing to apply for or carry alien documentation.  Perhaps the only contentious provision is that which makes it illegal to impede traffic while picking up day laborers as not all day laborers have violated immigration law.  The point of contention is that perhaps they could have put this into a traffic safety bill instead, there is certainly nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it.

Many are also ignoring the economic drain these workers represent.  They are undocumented and therefor do not pay federal income tax or state income tax, but they do need the roads, hospitals, services, and infrastructure provided with such taxes.  Additionally, a significant sum of money is sent to Mexico directly from the migrants that do work.  That money is pulled out of the U.S. economy – probably the largest reason for the objections of the Mexican government.

Should we stop immigration – surely not.  We must stop illegal immigration.  Immigrants should apply, be screened, documented and subject to our laws, including taxation.  The screening process can help us identify undesirable criminal applicants (or weed them out naturally as they might not apply at all).  They are welcome to share our country and what it has to offer, but they surely should also share the burdens that come with working and living in the United States.  If health reform continues to mandate insurance, they should also be forced to buy a plan.

The process for legal immigration should also be simplified.  Many argue that illegal aliens do many of the jobs that a citizen would not.  Well, then open the floodgates for those skills – by allowing more in through the legal process, but don’t just tear down the gate.

President Obama has called Governor Brewer’s actions, “irresponsible”.  The Governor is the chief of the executive branch for her State and so charged to enforce the laws applicable within that State.  She has now had to sign a law explicitly saying that Arizona will enforce Federal laws, because the Federal government won’t.  She’s performing her responsibility, by taking action when the Obama administration failed to perform theirs.

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Comments (4)

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  1. When Shakira stated “that I am pretty much undocumented” is absolutely ridiculous. She came to our country with documents. When entering into the United States legitimately you must show your passport, which Shakira certainly did. By challenging Arpaio to come and get her because she left her passport at her 5 star hotel clearly indicates Shakira does not understand the Arizona Senate Bill 1070. By Shakria not carrying her passport or identification does not mean she will be arrested. One must engage in illegal activity to be arrested and asked for identification, which most likely Shakira will not be engaging in illegal activity. For someone to rally other individuals without fully understanding the SB 1070 is irresponsible. People (including Shakira) need to take the time to fully understand the law before grand standing to an audience who expects her to be informed. Shakira should respect the United State’s freedom of speech and should be fully educated on the law before leading an emotional charged crowd. This law is not new, it is enforcing what is already in place by the Federal Government. It is a Federal crime to be an illegal alien thus the term “illegal alien.” Crime has become an increasing problem in Arizona. The law is designed to punish criminals for being criminals not for being illegal immigrants. Which all members of our community should embrace. If the Federal Government would take illegal immigration seriously there could be alternatives for this law. But the Federal Government ignored Arizona’s immigration problem and decided they could not rely on the Federal Government for help. Arizona’s actions are directed against the members of the immigrant community that are criminals. Anyone, citizen or non-citizen, should agree that the increased violence around our boarders needs to be addressed. Immigrants and citizens need to work together to reduce crime. Shame on you Shakria for further inflaming a passionate subject that should be addressed rationally. Shame on you everyone else for not educating yourself on the SB 1070. For those of you that want to be educated you can read the full law here

    • R. Mitchell says:

      Arizona Citizen,
      You couldn’t be more right. While the President is using a commencement speech to talk about toning down rhetoric and that we have to be careful about inflaming those that might resort to violence, it’s apparently perfectly OK to call people racists and nazis when they enforce federal law.

      We are certainly living in interesting times. Shakira is as clueless as the rest of those that thing this has anything to do with profiling. AZ just added another bill to specifically say that you can’t use race as justification. Then again, SB1070 also said that.

      Lest we forget that the same people that are reacting to a fictional conspiracy are also boycotting Arizona Iced Tea… even though it’s made in New York. Details.. they are so annoying when you are just trying to be upset about something

  2. Montana says:

    Arizona can pass race base laws, pass Birthers laws and the state can continue to boycott Martin Luther King Day, well the rest of the Country can boycott the state of Arizona and spank them where it hurts them the most their pocket book. Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat War profiteering contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

    • R. Mitchell says:

      Montana,
      While an entertaining wall of text, I am not even sure how to respond considering the vast number of issues you purported to address in that post. The law is not race-based and if you had bothered to read SB1070, you would have seen that it specifically prohibits the use of race in determining reasonable suspicion. The only way anyone gets caught-up in this law is if they do something else that’s illegal. All the crying about “show me your papers” is as disingenuous and intellectually dishonest as Obama’s request to lower the anti-government rhetoric.

      Even the President acknowledged that “we are a nation of laws”. Arizona is simply deciding to enforce existing federal law.

      From your comments, I get the sense that you didn’t bother to read the article you are sounding-off against, the law you are criminalizing, or much of anything else of substance. The TV doesn’t tell you everything. For you, it might very well tell you everything you require.