Friday, April 30, 2010

Arizona Roundup

Interesting remarks on the Arizona law dealing with their illegal alien problem.

President Obama speaking in Ottumwa, Iowa, April 27, 2010:

One of the things that the law says is local officials are allowed to ask somebody who they have a suspicion might be an illegal immigrant for their papers.  But you can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona -- your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.  That’s something that could potentially happen.

Ralph Peters, "Border Disorder," New York Post, April 29, 2010:

More people now die violently on our southern border than in Somalia, Yemen or even Afghanistan. But Washington doesn't know what to do about Mexico. So Washington does nothing much. Our ruling class simply doesn't feel the pain. So the DC elite demonizes Arizona's desperate effort to shove the narco-revolution's disorder back across the border. Murdered ranchers, overwhelmed emergency rooms and soaring crime rates in our border states mean less to the White House than a terrorist detainee's claims of abuse. Our governing elite pretends that illegal immigration, torrential crime where illegals cluster, overcrowded prisons, Mexico's narco-insurgency, legal cross-border commerce and the drug trade are separate issues, to be addressed discreetly. ... And Arizona's "discriminatory" new state law empowering police to pursue criminal aliens? Should Phoenix let the rule of law collapse because Washington prefers political correctness to public safety? In DC, it's about politics. In Arizona, it's about survival.

George Will, "A law Arizona can live with," Washington Post, April 28, 2010:

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund attacks Gov. Jan Brewer's character and motives, saying she "caved to the radical fringe." This poses a semantic puzzle: Can the large majority of Arizonans who support the law be a "fringe" of their state?...

The fact that the meaning of "reasonable" will not be obvious in many contexts does not make the law obviously too vague to stand. The Bill of Rights -- the Fourth Amendment -- proscribes "unreasonable searches and seizures." What "reasonable" means in practice is still being refined by case law -- as is that amendment's stipulation that no warrants shall be issued "but upon probable cause." There has also been careful case-by-case refinement of the familiar and indispensable concept of "reasonable suspicion." 

New York Times editorial, "Stopping Arizona," April 30, 2010:

A fight is brewing over Arizona’s new law that turns all of the state’s Latinos, even legal immigrants and citizens, into criminal suspects. ... The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant. ... Federal law requires noncitizens to carry documents but does not empower police officers to stop anyone they choose and demand to see papers. Arizona’s attempt to get around that by defining the act of standing on its soil without papers as a criminal act is repellent. ... Is our core belief still the welcome and assimilation of newcomers? Arizona has given one answer. It’s time for Mr. Obama to give the other.

NRO Symposium, "Appraising Arizona," April 28, 2010:

Leo Banks (writes for the Tuscon Weekly) says that, in Arizona, "American citizens are living under siege — burglaries, home invasions, intimidation, and recently a cold-blooded murder — from illegal aliens and drug smugglers." Linda Chavez on the other hand, says, "crime in Arizona has gone down consistently from 1990 to the present — at the very time that illegal immigration was going up dramatically — and the violent crime rate in the state is lower than the national average, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Moreover, the flow of illegals into the U.S. generally and into Arizona specifically has also gone down dramatically over the last two years, partly as result of better enforcement and partly because of the weak economy."

James Gimpel -- "[I]f the vast majority of the Arizonans who support this law were racist, something like it would have been passed 30 or 40 years ago, before illegal immigration became associated with rising crime and fiscal and economic problems. Did Arizonans wake up last month and suddenly notice that some Mexicans have a different skin tone? I don’t think so. The fact is that Arizonans have been incredibly gracious and tolerant for a very long time now. It is only with the rising drug trade along the border, mixed with the state’s present economic strain, that they have begun to question the warm welcome they have customarily extended our southern neighbors." (James G. Gimpel is a professor of government at the University of Maryland, College Park.)

Kris Kobach -- "The Arizona immigration bill is a big step in the right direction. As someone who helped Senator Pearce draft it, I am admittedly biased. But I can say with certainty that it was drafted to withstand legal challenge. ... Contrary to misstatements by the critics of Arizona’s law, it is a measured and reasonable law that simply makes a state violation out of what has been a federal crime for 70 years — the failure of an alien to carry required registration documents. It does not conflict with federal law in any way. For that reason, it will withstand a preemption challenge."

"Polls show that 70 percent of Arizonans support the new law. The overwhelming majority of Americans in the other 49 states share Arizonans’ basic point of view: enforce immigration laws more vigorously, protect American workers against illegal competition in the workplace, and don’t even think about amnesty." (Kris Kobach is a professor of law at the University of Missouri (Kansas City) School of Law and former counsel to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.)

Professor Kobach also has an op-ed in the New York Times defending major objections to the law entitled, "Why Arizona Drew the Line," (April 29, 2010) .

Mark Krikorian -- "The explosion of illegal immigration in Arizona — where fully one-third of the uninsured are illegals and the state spends nearly $2 billion a year educating the children of families headed by illegals — demanded a response." (Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies)

Heather Macdonald (City Journal) -- "For years, any hint of immigration enforcement has triggered loud complaints from illegal-alien advocates about the stress that the mere possibility of detection places on illegal aliens’ peace of mind. For the illegal-alien lobby, there is a right not just to be in the country illegally, but also to be free from any nervousness that might be caused by one’s illegal status. ... SB 1070 demonstrates that Americans in states with high rates of illegal entry continue to reel under the health-care, education, and law-enforcement costs imposed by unrestricted entry from Mexico."

Scott Rasmussen -- "[W]hile seven voters out of ten say border enforcement is a higher priority than legalizing undocumented workers, most also favor a welcoming immigration policy. Nearly six out of ten say we should allow anyone in except criminals, national-security threats, and those who want to take advantage of the welfare system. By the way, Republicans are a bit more supportive than Democrats of a welcoming immigration system."

Jonah Goldberg, "Arizona's Ugly but Necessary Immigration Law," NRO, April 28, 2010:

I agree that there’s something ugly about the police, even local police, asking citizens for their “papers” (there’s nothing particularly ugly about asking illegal immigrants for their papers, though). There’s also something ugly about American citizens’ being physically searched at airports. There’s something ugly about IRS agents’ prying into nearly all of your personal financial transactions or, thanks to the passage of Obamacare, serving as health-insurance enforcers. In other words, there are many government functions that are unappealing to one extent or another. That is not in itself an argument against them. The Patriot Act was ugly — and necessary.

Rich Lowry, "Hysterics Against Arizona," NRO, April 27, 2010 (Lots of good stuff; read it all):

The police already have the power to stop illegal aliens, a power the Arizona courts have upheld; they already can ask about someone’s legal status...; and they already can detain illegal aliens. The Arizona law strengthens these existing authorities. Will they be abused? Upon signing the law, Arizona governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order for a training program on how to implement it without racial profiling. No matter what her intentions, of course, it’s unavoidable that Latino citizens will be questioned disproportionally under the law; nationwide, 80 percent of illegal aliens are Latino, and the proportion in Arizona must be higher.

"Mexico's Population: When the Ninos Run Out," The Economist, April 22, 2010:

Mexico’s birth rate, once among the world’s highest, is in free-fall. In the 1960s Mexican mothers had nearly seven children each (whereas women in India then had fewer than six). The average now is just over two—almost the same as in the United States. The UN reckons that from 2040 the birth rate in Mexico will be the lower of the two. ... Mexicans are rapidly aging. This trend, which took a century in Europe, has happened in three decades, Mr Welti points out. In 1980 the average Mexican was 17 years old; he is now 28. At the moment, one in ten Mexicans is aged 60 or over; within three decades, the figure will be almost one in four. (On this subject, also consider the links you find here.)

Where I live, it may not be obvious who all the undocumented aliens are, but it is perfectly obvious who some of them are. Early in the morning, they congregate at the corner waiting for work to come along. As Grover Norquist says in the NRO forum on this subject, "I wish more Americans had that get up and go." They ride bikes. Sometimes they are men in their late twenties on children's bikes. But I respect them for their sacrifice and hard work. They don't bring crime to our town, not that I'm aware. They seem like nice people. I make eye contact and greet them with "good morning" when we cross paths. All the same, if they have come here illegally, and if it's this obvious who they are, regardless of how polite and productive and otherwise law abiding they are, we must consider their apprehension and extradition the right thing to do. Having said that, however, it is equally obvious that their presence here and the demand for their labor indicates that the channels for legal immigration to this country need to be much wider and more easily accessible.

I am an immigrant, now a citizen, though I was always what they called "in status," i.e., legal. But while I was a permanent resident, I was required by federal law to carry my green card with me at all times. I didn't have a problem with that. If massive Canadian illegal immigration, painfully expensive resulting burdens on state government services, and widespread Canadian gang activity meant that law enforcement officers on occasion would pull me over (for whatever reasonable cause I was generating at the time), I would be fine with that too. I would thank them for their work and feel shame on account of the trouble my countrymen were causing my host country.

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