Arizona's New Immigration Law

The last time I wrote about immigration here at TAC – hard to imagine it was only a year ago, maybe longer – I had what I was fairly certain was an informed Catholic view of immigration.

I really haven’t deviated much at all from my original view, which was hardly radical – that nations have a right to regulate immigration and police their boarders, and that Christians have an obligation to treat all people in their midst, regardless of their legal status, with dignity and respect, with charity and love.

But there are a number of issues that knee-jerk opponents of immigration law enforcement simply don’t talk about, for a myriad of reasons. For some on the left, opposition to illegal immigration is reducible to racism. This is undoubtedly true in some cases. To apply it to ALL opponents of illegal immigration is a hateful, vicious smear – especially when one of the most active Hispanic advocacy groups in the United States has a name that translates to “The Race” (La Raza). Racism is not unknown on the other side of this issue.

I think the passage of this new law in AZ is troubling in a number of ways. It could lead to racial profiling, it could lead to harassment of innocent families and communities. It carries with it several dangers and risks.

But its opponents, in their vitriol – some of which may be justified – never explain what it is to be done about the real and serious problems posed by de facto open boarders. Mexico is in a state of virtual anarchy; its military has been unable to defeat the major drug cartels, which are in de facto control of many parts of Mexico, including regions along the boarder. Drug cartel violence has been spilling over into the United States, and now citizens are at risk.

The destabilization of Mexico poses a serious security risk to Southwestern states. Juarez is one of the most violent places in the Western hemisphere; to read the stories of young women raped, tortured and murdered and dumped in the streets on a regular basis is heartbreaking. This is the sort of thing one used to read about taking place in distant places such as Rwanda or Congo; now it is right across the boarder. Americans are entirely reasonable and rational to want to prevent these inhuman horrors from spilling over across the boarder. And for the record, I would be fine with granting refugee status for people fleeing from towns run by the drug cartels.

There have been direct violations of Arizona’s sovereignty by the Mexican military. Phoenix, my home city, has become the kidnapping capital of the United States. Gang violence has been on the rise.

To ignore these problems, these real and present dangers to the citizens of Arizona (and other Southwestern states), would be at least as immoral, if not more so, than racial profiling. That’s my position. To ignore these problems, to pretend as if they don’t exist, or to perhaps acknowledge them but act as if they aren’t really that big of a deal, is indifference in the face of evil.

That said, I’m not claiming to support this bill as the answer, as the solution, to these problems. But if this bill isn’t it, I have to ask, what is?

Any comments that even remotely suggest that opponents of illegal immigration are necessarily racist will be deleted.

115 Responses to Arizona's New Immigration Law

  • Donna V. says:

    Immigration opponents who compare today’s illegal immigrants to the earlier Ellis Island immigrants are missing (or ignoring) several vital differences.

    One is geographic. The Ellis Island immigrants had to cross a huge ocean by boat and once they were here, they were here. Some went back (or were shipped back by immigration authorities) but most stayed and never saw the “Old Country” again. Not at a time when only the wealthy could afford European vacations.

    In contrast, Mexicans can easily travel back and forth across the border, particularly if they stay in the Southwest. That’s not their fault, just a geographic accident, but if one can keep one foot in the “Old Country” the pressure to Americanize lessens.

    And the natural inclination to keep on speaking Spanish rather than English, to remain in the barrio, is of course reinforced by today’s tendency to emphasize “multiculturalism” rather than Americanization. From all accounts my grandparents spoke fractured English, and I have no doubt that if left to their own devices they would have preferred to speak their own tongue (or rather tongues, since like many residents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, they spoke German as well as Czech). But they couldn’t – everything in the culture drove them to adopt the language and to Americanize themselves as best they could. And they wanted to, they wanted their children to be American and participate in the dominant culture (without losing their ancestral faith and some of the traditions, such as food).

    I think many Mexican immigrants arrive here with the same desire to be good Americans that my grandparents had. The problem is that now so much in the culture pushes them in the opposite direction – back toward Mexico and toward thinking of themselves as Hispanic before anything else.

  • Eric Brown says:

    The problem with the law — like many bad laws — is that it adopts very broad, vague language to make its “point.” Police officers, it says, are authorized to ask anyone who looks “reasonably suspicious” (whatever that means) — seeing as they are presumably an illegal alien, this means they do not look like a legal citizen, an American. But what does an American look like? The law also states that race and ethnicity are not to be the “sole factor” in making this judgment. The implicit statement is that race and ethnicity can be a factor, as long as it is reasonably so. But what is not clear is to what extent can race and ethnicity be a factor (given the overly broad claim) and nor does it make clear what other objective standards a police officer might use to identify someone who, in effect, does not look like an American. I cannot see how one can avoid any instances of racial profiling.

    The Governor of Arizona was right about one thing — and she was not right about many things in my view — and that’s that this law is a response of the failure of the U.S. government to reform our immigration laws.

    It seems to me that it is not feasible to deport every single illegal alien that is in the country. Who is paying for it? And are we doing it in this recession? It seems to me an incredibly costly endeavor particularly if it is in fact true that deporting illegal aliens is a more belligerent fiscal policies than finding some alternative more fiscally responsible solution.

    I think factcheck.org does a good job here addressing a number of common “myths” about the cost of illegal immigrants: http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants/

    I really recommend that it be reviewed.

    I know Senators Graham and Schumer are working on immigration reform legislation with a path to citizenship that includes penalties for illegals already here, increased border security, requiring “biometric” Social Security cards to ensure illegals cannot get jobs, and create a process for temporary workers.

    I think a key component missing is diplomacy and promoting the right development that would encourage people to remain in their own native countries. Indeed, I don’t think people migrate for the sake of migration.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Here’s the problem.

    The overwhelming majority of illegal aliens come from Mexico. They don’t come from Scandinavia, they don’t come from India, they don’t come from Nigeria.

    How is it possible to do this job without some degree of profiling?

    Is the state of Arizona morally obliged to not take measures to deal with the problem of illegal immigration that could involve racial profiling?

    Is it more important not to racially profile than it is to stop vast and violent criminal networks and foreign armies from operating with impunity inside of the state?

    I don’t ask these questions rhetorically. I ask them seriously. And anyone who dares to murmur “racism” at me can consider this: because I’m half-Lebanese and sorta Hispanic looking, I’VE been racially profiled in AZ more than once. So I’ve been through it.

    “It seems to me that it is not feasible to deport every single illegal alien that is in the country.”

    What does that have to do with this law?

    I don’t think it is feasible to do that either. But something has to be done.

    “Indeed, I don’t think people migrate for the sake of migration.”

    We’re beyond the point where that matters. It mattered when they were ramming NAFTA and GATT through, which bankrupted thousands of Mexican family farms.

    We have to realize too that there is racism in Mexico, between indigenous people and those with more European ancestry, and that the Mexican government is fine with its undesirable elements crossing the boarder to come here. It is one of the most corrupt regimes in the world, and inept too, as its battle with the drug cartels shows.

  • Tito Edwards says:

    I’m with Joe.

    Having lived in Arizona for 10 years and being Mexican myself, illegal immigration is a serious problem.

    Combine that with racist organizations like “La Raza” and “MecHA” that are militantly* anti-American, I say that from personal experience, the law is naturally a reaction to the failure of our federal government.

    *and when I say ‘militant’ they actually want a military uprising against the government to ‘liberate’ the Mexicans.

  • George Juarez says:

    To those that approve this new immigration law.One day you are going to be at a situation not exactly the same but somehow similar , then you are going to remember and regret your behavior towards us all HUMAN BEINGS CREATED BY JEHOVAH GOD….
    AN EXAMPLE: EARTH QUAKE What are you going to tell our creator…I’m sorry !! But I hated the Mexicans and all the Foreigners. May god Bless you and I hope he gives you wisdom to understand that what’s going on does not have anything to do with IMMIGRATION…..SATAN IS DIVIDING YOU GUYS,, AND YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THAT , than to blame someone.

    PS. Remember that when you point at someone ONE FINGER POINTS AT THAT SOMEONE,
    BUT 3 ARE POINTING AT YOU !!!

    With all due Respect: GEORGE JUAREZ …….

  • Would you feel more comfortable if “La Raza” were renamed “Mexicans”? Neither term implies any racial superiority or desire to segregate. Nothing racist about it.

    Re the requirement to determine status upon reasonable suspicion. The law specifically prohibits racial profiling so officers can’t stop any random Hispanic. But as we know from other laws requiring mere “reasonable suspicion,” race becomes an implicit factor, often the primary one, and other additional factors are used as pretexts.

    Just because racial profiling works, doesn’t mean it’s just. It treats a racial minority as assumed criminals. That’s racist and it creates hostility that has a negative social impact that possibly worse than the crime you’re trying to prevent. Also, the primary purpose and effect of racial profiling is to protect some people (primarily white people) by burdening a minority (and it’s always a minority). Why should legal Hispanics bear the cost of white people feeling threatened?

    The part of the law that I most object to is the prohibition against harboring, transporting, or hiring illegal immigrants. The prohibition against harboring is in direct conflict with Christian charity. A priest can be arrested for providing the shelter that he is required by God to provide.

    I’d also argue that prohibiting the transporting and hiring of immigrants is in conflict with Christian charity. I am required to provide food to the hungry but can’t offer food in exchange for work or even to drive the poor somewhere where they can find food?

    All this leads to me another point. If they’re landscaping or picking strawberries, they’re probably not drug smugglers. And if they’re drug smugglers, you don’t care if they’re illegal or not. This law does absolutely nothing to solve the drug problem. People are merely using the drug problem (a real and serious problem) to promote a law designed to hurt peaceful illegal immigrants, those who wish to help peaceful illegal immigrants, and peaceful legal Hispanics who will suffer under racial profiling.

    To ignore these problems, these real and present dangers to the citizens of Arizona (and other Southwestern states), would be at least as immoral, if not more so, than racial profiling. That’s my position.

    One may not use evil means to do good.

  • Donna,

    In contrast, Mexicans can easily travel back and forth across the border, particularly if they stay in the Southwest. That’s not their fault, just a geographic accident, but if one can keep one foot in the “Old Country” the pressure to Americanize lessens.

    Wealthy immigrants from overseas are much more likely to go back and forth than Mexicans. Illegal immigrants are even less likely to go back and forth. Most illegal immigrants never go back unless they’re force to. So illegal immigrants are the best candidates for assimilation and wealthy legal immigrants are the worst.

    And the natural inclination to keep on speaking Spanish rather than English, to remain in the barrio, is of course reinforced by today’s tendency to emphasize “multiculturalism” rather than Americanization.

    To be American means to speak English? But even if it did, all second generation immigrants in the US today speak English so it’s not a problem. That wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century we had French, Dutch, and German enclaves that didn’t speak English even generations after they’ve settled. I find nothing wrong with providing native language assistance for immigrants. The benefits of retaining native languages are huge. This week’s Economist has a piece on America as an international hub. Immigrants and their children create economic and diplomatic links around the world. When an American company wants to expand to China, they seek a Chinese-American to facilitate the contact. Or increasingly often, the American company is owned by a Chinese-American who has the cultural know-how and the connections to expand into China.

    The problem is that now so much in the culture pushes them in the opposite direction – back toward Mexico and toward thinking of themselves as Hispanic before anything else.

    That is the problem with things like racial profiling which reinforce that view that they’re not fully American.

  • That said, I’m not claiming to support this bill as the answer, as the solution, to these problems. But if this bill isn’t it, I have to ask, what is?

    This bill isn’t it. It targets peaceful people. If you want to stop the drug trade, target the drug trade. Cut demand for illegal drugs and restrict its supply. Maybe legalization is the least costliest solution. Aiding Mexico (both in law enforcement and improving economic conditions) may be part of the answer.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Would you feel more comfortable if “La Raza” were renamed “Mexicans”? Neither term implies any racial superiority or desire to segregate. Nothing racist about it.”

    Depends restrainedradical. The term is certainly racist as used in this MEChA slogan:

    “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.”

    MEChA wants to take back the land which they believe is occupied. (The really humorous aspect of this, is that outside of New Mexico, the land taken by the US from Mexico in the Mexican War had very few Mexicans in it.)

    “Recognizing that the majority of our Raza are members of the working class, we avow an anti-imperialist analysis that includes Chicana/Chicano self-determination. Chicano self-determination must begin with the recognition of what is implied in using the term MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán). Essentially, we are a Chicana and Chicano student movement directly linked to Aztlán. As Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlán, we are a nationalist movement of Indigenous Gente that lay claim to the land that is ours by birthright. As a nationalist movement we seek to free our people from the exploitation of an oppressive society that occupies our land. Thus, the principle of nationalism serves to preserve the cultural traditions of La Familia de La Raza and promotes our identity as a Chicana/Chicano Gente.”

    http://www.nationalmecha.org/philosophy.html#national pride

    Now do I think that most legal and illegal aliens here from Mexico subscribe to this bilge? No. However, I do think that many activist race hustlers among Hispanics make political hay by playing upon this type of racism and historical ignorance.

  • The term is certainly racist as used in this MEChA slogan

    It isn’t the term that makes it racist. Besides, that isn’t their slogan but a phrased used pre-MEChA which has mistakenly been attributed to MEChA. MEChA is a radical group, though no more radical than Pat Buchanan.

  • jh says:

    “How is it possible to do this job without some degree of profiling?

    Is the state of Arizona morally obliged to not take measures to deal with the problem of illegal immigration that could involve racial profiling?”

    All this is going to do is make a lot of LEGAL LATINO CITIZENS ANGRY because they will be stopped a good bit. That will not help long term efforts at immigration reform

    THe backlash to the the GOP (we GOPERS will be blamed for the acts of the always interesting State Legilsature of AZ will be dramatic)

  • jh says:

    “law is naturally a reaction to the failure of our federal government.”

    Titio I think to be more precise the failure is on gorup of citizens that shout “no one is illegal” and on the other side that will not compromise one little bit on Pathway to Citizenship. I think there is a middle ground here that is sane

  • The Arizona law sounds like it’s too extreme, and sets some dangerous precedents.

    I think this underlines how destructive the dynamic in regards to immigration reform have proved up to this point. Those in favor of loosening immigration restrictions have in far too many cases decided to take the approach of simply not enforcing existing laws. This is, in part, because there’s strong enough anti-immigration feeling from the blue collar sections of both parties (who remain convinced that immigrants will take “their” jobs) that it’s very hard to get the votes together to ease immigration restrictions at all.

    However, the idea of having immigration restrictions but then studiously refusing to enforce them riles up those voters like nothing else. One of the things which touched off the wave of anti-immigration ballot measures in the California in the mid 90s was when it was reported that the DMV had been instructed not to check for legal residence when issuing drivers licenses, and the police had been instructed not to check whether people arrested for other crimes were in the country legally. That kind of blatant disregard for enforcing existing laws, even when it results in wider social problems, tends to encourage people to start pushing for blatantly unreasonable laws out of sheer frustration.

    That doesn’t make the new Arizona law a good idea, but it underlines one of the key real problems: the disregard for the law which many pro-immigration advocates have displayed has made it much, much harder for us to actually achieve much needed improvements in our immigration laws.

  • jh says:

    “And the natural inclination to keep on speaking Spanish rather than English, to remain in the barrio, is of course reinforced by today’s tendency to emphasize “multiculturalism” rather than Americanization. From all accounts my grandparents spoke fractured English, and I have no doubt that if left to their own devices they would have preferred to speak their own tongue (or rather tongues, since like many residents of the”

    Studies show that Mexicans and Latinos as well other illegals (we have a huge Asian illegal population byt he way) are on track as to other groups into learning English.

    That being said no one is going to get Americanzied (including the children of these folks that are often American citizens) if they are kept in the shawdows, kept underground, etc etc

  • jh says:

    “the disregard for the law which many pro-immigration advocates have displayed has made it much, much harder for us to actually achieve much needed improvements in our immigration laws.”

    It hsoud be noted that deportations under Obama are at pretty hight

    But I do agree one cannot just say DON”T DEPORT either

  • And the natural inclination to keep on speaking Spanish rather than English, to remain in the barrio, is of course reinforced by today’s tendency to emphasize “multiculturalism” rather than Americanization.

    I think a good deal of this perception may relate to the fact that we’ve had a constant-to-increasing level of immigration from Mexico for a long time.

    I’ve met no second generation Hispanic immigrants who can’t speak English quite comfortably, and 3rd and 4th generation descendants of immigrants (like me) often don’t even know Spanish.

    But since there are always more people coming in, it seems like: “Sheesh, these folks just won’t learn English.”

    By contrast, most of the 19th century waves of immigration only lasted 10-20 years.

  • Karen says:

    I live in Texas, so I understand the motivation for laws like this, and I also understand the problems with it. The law is absurdly vague, especially the “transporting and harboring” provisions. The law actually makes knowingly transporting an illegal alien a violation, with no exceptions for police or ambulance drivers. Technically, a cop would be required to arrest someone she reasonably believes to be an illegal alien but would be liable for a felony prosecution if she drove him to jail in the police car. No, that’s certainly not going to be how the law is enforced, but that is how its written, and it could be enforced that way against private ambulance drivers.

  • Karen says:

    Oh, shoot, I hit “post” too soon.

    There are two actions that would stop the pathologies associated with migration from Mexico and Central America: 1. make hiring an illegal alien a 20-to-life felony with a $100,000 fine for each person employed; or 2. decriminalize marijuana and cocaine.

    The first option will eliminate, quickly, the reasons for migrants to cross the border since no one with any sense will hire them. The downside is that lettuce, and other produce, would be prohibitively expensive. (There really aren’t people who have a choice lining up to pick lettuce at $0.20 head for 10 hours per day in the Arizona sun.) Mechanization would probably take up the slack eventually, but that will take time.

    The second option would break the drug cartels, with the corrolary of drastically reducing violent crime. Legal corporations selling intoxicants have much more efficient and bloodless ways of enforcing their rights that don’t involve guns. Also, legal drugs will have their contents regulated to eliminate impurities and nasty additives, and the dosages will be standardized. The cost, of course, is a huge increase in addiction. We can treat addiction, but again, it will take time, and in the meantime, thousands of lives will be blighted.

  • The strength of the drug gangs in Mexico is directly correlated with the demand for drugs in the United States. And while people cross the border from Mexico to the US, guns flow in the opposite direction, into the hands of the gangs. Again, this flows from a Unites States flaw – its irresponsible gun culture.

    I would say therefore that all peoples have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters throughout the world, no matter what administrative units they happen to live in (and let’s face it, the US-Mexico border is an arbitrary line on a map, merely to separate different administrative units). And I would say further that the United States owes a further duty to Mexico given its role in causing so many of its problems.

    The problem of course with the anti-immigrant zealots is that they are arch-nationalists. They sanctify the nation state. And the Church has always had a problem with nationalism, and today calls for a world political authority.

  • Donna V. says:

    First of all, 90% of all traceable firearms seized in Mexico may come from the US, but many of the firearms seized are not traceable. Obama uses the 90% figure and people like MM unquestioningly swallow it, but that stat is a myth pushed by those with an anti-gun agenda. On the other hand, there are problems with the number claimed by Fox News, which is 17%. That’s probably too low an estimate.

    It’s becoming a moot point though, as drug dealers in Mexico are moving way past guns and rifles. From the LA Times:

    Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have dominated their arsenals.

    Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto- matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

    The Mexican government said it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years, in contrast to 59 seized over the previous two years.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,229992.story

  • And while people cross the border from Mexico to the US, guns flow in the opposite direction, into the hands of the gangs. Again, this flows from a Unites States flaw – its irresponsible gun culture.

    Give me a break… With the amount of money flowing through the international drug trade, the US civilian gun market has zero to do with the ability of drug cartels to get guns.

    You may be assured that Mexican gangs are not going into legal gun stores in Texas, Arizona, and California, paying US prices, filling out the required background check forms, and waiting through the mandatory federal waiting period. The fact that you dislike gun owners does not mean that US gun laws are responsible for Mexico’s crime problems. At most, US affluence and willingness to buy drugs is partly responsible. Though Mexico is certainly not without its own disfunctions which date back well before the drug trade.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    No MM,

    We will not surrender our second amendment rights or our national sovereignty for your narrow and erroneous interpretation of a “world authority.”

    Pope Benedict never called for a liquidation of nation-states and in fact proclaimed there is still a large role for them. That said, America herself is not even a nation-state but a federal republic. It is the state of Arizona that passed this law. And nowhere has the Church proclaimed this an immoral form of government that Christians are obliged to usurp, undermine and destroy. Nor has she abrogated the principle of subsidiarity.

    I know how much certain people hate the very concept of states, of local authority, of self-government. The idea of people deciding how they want to organize their affairs without the guidance of a centralized, bureaucratized, technocratic global elite.

    The “world authority” envisioned by the Vatican pre-supposes supra-national organizations that aren’t fanatically devoted to population control, “family planning”, abortion, contraception, and other threats to human life and families. In fact I believe the international effort against the Vatican is motivated at least in part by its opposition to the UN’s population agenda. It is the worlds largest and possibly final obstacle.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    As for these thoughts, from RR:

    “One may not use evil means to do good.”

    I’m not convinced this is evil.

    As I said, I’ve been racially profiled, more than once. I will add that because of this law, when I go to visit my family in AZ, I may well be again.

    Did I like it? No. Will I like it? No. But I’m still alive. And I’m not sure I ought to be unwilling to go through it because it makes me feel bad as an individual, if it leads to a greater good.

    How do you do this job without profiling? Either you stop everyone, or you stop no one.

    Yes, the reality is, most illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Most Hispanics have physical characteristics that distinguish them from white Europeans, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, etc. As a half-Phoenician, I share some of those characteristics (I’ve been told I look like a Spaniard).

    Is there some way to pretend that isn’t true and do the job? Everyone complains about racial profiling and no one has any ideas on how to avoid it.

    “Just because racial profiling works, doesn’t mean it’s just.”

    It is absolutely unjust and evil to allow violent crime to occur out of a fear of offending someone’s sensibilities. That’s unjust. That’s a “good intention” leading directly to evil. How is that morally acceptable?

    “Why should legal Hispanics bear the cost of white people feeling threatened?”

    Why should whites, blacks, Hispanic themselves, and other ethnicities actually suffer preventable violence? You act as if its all in their heads.

    Yes, I know – in the new America, if you’re white you should shut up and enjoy your “privilege” and if someone shoots you for it, its historical justice right?

    Or is that too extreme?

    ” This week’s Economist has a piece on America as an international hub. Immigrants and their children create economic and diplomatic links around the world. When an American company wants to expand to China, they seek a Chinese-American to facilitate the contact.”

    That’s wonderful.

    I don’t think America needs 20 million diplomatic contacts for its neighbor to the south.

  • Blackadder says:

    blatant disregard for enforcing existing laws, even when it results in wider social problems, tends to encourage people to start pushing for blatantly unreasonable laws out of sheer frustration.

    I suspect that a fair number of the folks who are upset over lax immigration enforcement also believe that states should “nullify” ObamaCare and refuse to enforce the health insurance mandate included in the bill. I also suspect that if you gave them a choice between the status quo and legalization (which would solve the enforcement problem) most would choose the status quo. So I don’t think that it is the fact laws aren’t being enforced that is the real problem.

  • Tito Edwards says:

    RR said:

    Would you feel more comfortable if “La Raza” were renamed “Mexicans”? Neither term implies any racial superiority or desire to segregate. Nothing racist about it.

    As for me who has spent many hours engaged in debate with MEChA and La Raza students and officers and playing basketball, attending class, and many other innocent college activities with them, I know FIRST HAND their intentions of wanting to overthrow the government (said both drunk and sober) as well as their racial superiority/inferiority complex that they have explicitly stated time and time again.

    So NO RR, I completely disagree with you.

    They are RACISTS and quite immature and militantly about it.

    So don’t tell me one more time about “La Raza” isn’t racist.

    Tito

  • Blackadder says:

    Joe,

    If the problem is drug gangs, kidnappings, etc., then why not focus on that? How does going around harassing people who look Hispanic (who at best are guilty of violations of the immigration code, and in many cases will be citizens) help solve the problem?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    BA,

    I’m not in law enforcement. I can’t say for certain what they need to do their job.

    The drug gangs, the kidnappings, and all of these related violent activities, though, are carried out by criminal elements from Mexico. The vast majority of illegal immigrants, are from Mexico. I think if police can enforce immigration law while investigating these crimes, they’ll have an additional means by which to combat them.

    I think some assume that the police will now be harassing every Mexican in sight. I don’t know why we should assume such a thing. I don’t think the police have the resources or the time to stop every Hispanic person on the street. I think this will come up in the course of investigating violent crimes, and if so, I can’t say I have problem with it.

    What I do know is that a destabilizing Mexico poses a security risk to AZ and other boarder states, that the federal government has done next to nothing about it, and that the basic instinct of self-preservation has finally kicked in.

    Democrats let the problem fester because they’re political race pimps. Republicans let it fester because they wanted to exploit the cheap labor. So here we are.

  • Blackadder says:

    Art,

    To be clear, I don’t think the problem people have with illegal immigration is that it is illegal and/or that the laws are not being enforced. People are more than happy to see other laws go unenforced, and if you try to deal with the illegality problem by changing the law, people get even more upset.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    I also admit that I could be totally wrong.

    This could be the first step down a very dangerous path, in which more and more freedoms are lost and a greater police state is built up.

    But the alternative, given the lack of federal involvement, given the situation in Mexico, seems to be an equally frightening descent into lawlessness, into anarchy.

    I don’t want either option. But this is what happens when you leave open wounds to fester.

  • Blackadder says:

    I think some assume that the police will now be harassing every Mexican in sight. I don’t know why we should assume such a thing.

    The law requires state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws to “the full extent.” Anyone who thinks state or local officials are falling down on the job can bring a lawsuit, and the state or locality risks being fined $5000 for every day they are found to not be in compliance. The clear incentives of this law will be for the state to take resources away from normal crime enforcement, and devote them to rounding up possible illegal immigrants.

  • Blackadder says:

    This could be the first step down a very dangerous path, in which more and more freedoms are lost and a greater police state is built up.

    But the alternative, given the lack of federal involvement, given the situation in Mexico, seems to be an equally frightening descent into lawlessness, into anarchy.

    With respect, Joe, I very much doubt that this law is all that stands between Arizona and anarchy.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    About racial profiling, here is an interesting article:

    http://old.nationalreview.com/19feb01/derbyshire021901.shtml

    “In the matter of race, I think the Anglo-Saxon world has taken leave of its senses. The campaign to ban racial profiling is, as I see it, a part of that large, broad-fronted assault on common sense that our over-educated, over-lawyered society has been enduring for some forty years now, and whose roots are in a fanatical egalitarianism, a grim determination not to face up to the realities of group differences, a theological attachment to the doctrine that the sole and sufficient explanation for all such differences is “racism” — which is to say, the malice and cruelty of white people — and a nursed and petted guilt towards the behavior of our ancestors.”

  • Joe, the fact that you take such a stance against “surrendering” “second-amendment rights” and “national sovereignty” tells me you are trapped by the narrow confines of American constitutional liberalism. Moreover, your use of terms like “surrender” and “liquidate” betrays a rather antagonistic mindset that could well spring from the American dualism that can be traced to Gnosticism or derivative Calvinism. I would advise to you cast aside these shackles.

    You claim that America is not a nation state and yet defend “national sovereignty”. You talk about subsidiarity, seemingly oblivious that the nation state is possibly the greatest usurper of subsidiarity ever to appear on the world stage. And you border on caricature by reducing everything to abortion and contraception.

  • The “world authority” envisioned by the Vatican pre-supposes supra-national organizations that aren’t fanatically devoted to population control, “family planning”, abortion, contraception, and other threats to human life and families.

    Does state authority pre-suppose the same? If so, then the US should be abolished for protecting abortion.

    Joe:

    Any comments that even remotely suggest that opponents of illegal immigration are necessarily racist will be deleted.

    You’re the one playing the race card here calling those who oppose racial profiling, including myself, racist against white people. You can’t have it both ways. Either acknowledge that there are legitimate arguments against racial profiling that aren’t rooted in hatred of white people, or let me call you a racist too. My next response depends on your decision.

  • Tito, I’m not very familiar with the La Raza organization. Are they all drunk students playing basketball? If not, I don’t think it’s fair to define an organization by its most immature members. If we did, then the Republican Party loves strip clubs.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    MM,

    Maybe the concept of a federal republic is too hard for you to grasp. America is a nation. It has a federal government that is sovereign in its own right. The states also have sovereignty. Their powers are defined by the Constitution. That’s how a federal republic works. There’s no contradiction.

    “you are trapped by the narrow confines of American constitutional liberalism”

    I’m not trapped. The American form of government – which is not “liberalism”, but republicanism – is a perfectly moral choice, and a perfectly moral institution to support.

    It isn’t a “trap” just because you’d rather have something else (I shudder to speculate on what that might be).

    “Moreover, your use of terms like “surrender” and “liquidate” betrays a rather antagonistic mindset that could well spring from the American dualism that can be traced to Gnosticism or derivative Calvinism.”

    This is pseudo-academic garbage, and I’m actually embarrassed for you that you even brought it up. You sound like a TA trying to pick up freshman chicks at the local university bar. It’s complete nonsense.

    “You talk about subsidiarity, seemingly oblivious that the nation state is possibly the greatest usurper of subsidiarity ever to appear on the world stage.”

    Are you illiterate or dishonest? I am sympathetic to the AZ law precisely BECAUSE it is the people of the state taking the matter into their hands – one of the few that actually was the responsibility of the federal government, and which it failed to carry out.

    I never said anything about supporting “the nation-state”, though I do support the idea of a federal republic.

    “And you border on caricature by reducing everything to abortion and contraception.”

    That’s not what I did either. More typical dishonesty, more strawmen. That’s how people without original ideas or convincing arguments typically argue, so no surprise there.

  • I like how mm warns joe of becoming a caricature bc he reduces everything to abortion… right after mm reduced Joe to mm’s now famous claim of dualism resulting from Calvinism.

    anyway I don’t think a “world authority” would work at least right now. neither the eu or un has shown to be very immigrant friendly. I’m not sure that even if it was that it would work. each country would have to evaluate it’s own capacity for taking in immigrants; an international standard couldn’t address the particularities of the situation. now perhaps the un could intervene to get the us and Mexico at the table ( which I think is what really wants when he talks about the role of a world authority-a place for dialogue with teeth to prevent rogue states).

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    RR,

    “You’re the one playing the race card here calling those who oppose racial profiling, including myself, racist against white people”

    You made racism the centerpiece of your commentary here.

    You wrote,

    “Also, the primary purpose and effect of racial profiling is to protect some people (primarily white people) by burdening a minority (and it’s always a minority). Why should legal Hispanics bear the cost of white people feeling threatened?”

    That’s what I responded to. Its a false claim, especially since people of ALL races have a reason to be concerned with Mexico’s lawlessness spilling into the United States.

    There are other arguments, sure. I never said there weren’t.

  • I suspect that a fair number of the folks who are upset over lax immigration enforcement also believe that states should “nullify” ObamaCare and refuse to enforce the health insurance mandate included in the bill. I also suspect that if you gave them a choice between the status quo and legalization (which would solve the enforcement problem) most would choose the status quo. So I don’t think that it is the fact laws aren’t being enforced that is the real problem.

    Clearly, people don’t get angry over the non-enforcement of just any law. Some laws are not all that popular (the speed limit and the drinking age come to mind) and people are generally more upset at seeing those rigidly enforced than laxly enforced.

    Obviously, on the health care bill, opinions on whether the bill should be enforced are going to have a lot to do with whether people think it should have been passed the first place, and it’s a particularly messy situation there in that it’s a bill that the majority of people where against even when it was passed. (FWIW, I think it would be a mistake to simply not enforce the mandate while enforcing other parts of the bill, and I would be against that.)

    What I think is seriously untenable here is that our current immigration laws, rightly or wrongly, are pretty widely supported. And rather than doing the difficult political work of trying to change that, a lot of immigration advocates seem bent on making it easy for people to break the laws. As someone who thinks that basically anyone without an epidemic disease or a criminal record should be allowed to enter the country reasonably, this frankly makes me rather angry, since it gives the position I broadly support a strong association with lawlessness.

    As far as I can tell, the fact that we already have millions of illegal immigrants in-country currently makes it harder rather than easier to pass real immigration reform. And some of the side effects of encouraging a large undocumented population are, so far as I can tell, the biggest sources of support for these kinds of excessive, irrational attempts at over-enforcement.

    I agree that this is an irrational overreaction, but it strikes me as the sort of thing which happens when the authorities are seen as widely failing in their duties — kind of like three strikes laws gain their popularity from the fact that the authorities are seen as not bothering to protect the public sufficiently from crime using existing laws.

  • Joe,

    These are actually interesting issues to debate, but it’s hard to debate one is who so angry, and who lashes out with the least provocation. We all become irate on this medium at times, and it is a great occasion of sin, but this prickly defensiveness has unfortunately become a core aspect of your persona. My advice is to tone down the testosterone and engage the intellectual (or even “pseudo-academic”) issues. Or just walk away.

    And yes, you are deeply constrained by American liberalism and the individualist anthropology that underpins it. Your position on guns is a dead give-away. So is your conclusion that a law is virtuous because it reflects the “will of the people” – I would rather use “comformity with the natural law” as an objective standard. And for all sorts of reasons, and as expounded by the Church, this law does not conform to the eternal moral law.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Besides, that isn’t their slogan but a phrased used pre-MEChA which has mistakenly been attributed to MEChA.”

    No restrainedradical, it is most definitely a MEChA slogan:

    http://www.utpa.edu/orgs/mecha/aztlan.html

    The slogan actually originated in Spain. The falangists were quite fond of it for example. However, MEChA has definitely embraced it.

  • Blackadder says:

    Darwin,

    Suppose that all of the people who are currently here illegally were here legally. Do you think people would be less upset about the immigration issue than they are now? My guess is that it would be about the same (just as I don’t think the fact that recent immigration to Europe has largely been legal has done much to quell anti-immigrant sentiment there). People focus on the legality aspect because it’s easier, but I don’t think this is what is driving most of the passion (I’m speaking generally, of course; there are no doubt individuals such as yourself for whom rule of law issues predominate).

    Tito,

    I believe it’s Joe’s decision whether or not to ban someone on his thread.

  • Blackadder says:

    MM,

    If your goal is to engage in a civl and substantive debate on the issues, saying that someone is “trapped by the narrow confines of American constitutional liberalism” and suggesting that he is a Calvinist and a Gnostic is probably not the best way to go about it.

  • You made racism the centerpiece of your commentary here.

    I talked about race which you kind of have to when talking about racial profiling. I never accused anyone of racism, as you have with your rhetorical question: “Yes, I know – in the new America, if you’re white you should shut up and enjoy your “privilege” and if someone shoots you for it, its historical justice right?”

    Its a false claim, especially since people of ALL races have a reason to be concerned with Mexico’s lawlessness spilling into the United States.

    If by “Mexico’s lawlessness” you mean the drug trade, how would racial profiling prevent it from spilling into the US? Now, there’s a false claim.

  • Donna V. says:

    RR wrote:

    Tito, I’m not very familiar with the La Raza organization.

    Sure, but I note that doesn’t deter you in the slightest from airing opinions about it.

    You’ve not familiar with the organization but you airily dismiss any extremist views members might hold might hold as merely the opinions of drunken basketball players. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    I’ve read a little bit about La Raza (and wouldn’t a white organization that called itself “The Race” raise just a few questions in your head? Oh, but I forget -racism is reserved for whites only.) I don’t pretend to be an authority, but I’ll take Tito’s word – you know, the guy who has actually met and argued with La Raza people and therefore, it is safe to say, knows a bit more about them than you or I do – before I’ll pay attention to yours. As for MM – well, all roads lead to America’s Terrible Calvinism with him. It’s the one-size-fits-all theory for what ails this country.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    MM,

    I lash out at you because I can practically feel your sneer, your disdainful contempt for all that is not you, and I don’t have patience for it. Nor do I have patience for your repeated attempts to confine me to your narrow ideological boxes. Two can play that game.

    People like you don’t care about facts or contexts – only the blind and rigid imposition of moral axioms without regard to such “temporal” things.

    Ironically, that is the approach of a good number of philosophical individualists and anarchists – they would reject all organic and civil institutions solely on the principle that individual freedom trumps all other considerations.

    “it’s hard to debate one is who so angry, and who lashes out with the least provocation”

    So you admit that you are engaging in provocation. Well, if you want to do that in the future, perhaps you ought to remember not to bring a knife to a gun fight.

    I hope you don’t charge for your personal advice.

    “And yes, you are deeply constrained by American liberalism and the individualist anthropology that underpins it.”

    That is complete nonsense, an utter lie, and anyone who knows me, knows it is a lie.

    “Your position on guns is a dead give-away.”

    Nonsense. Absolute nonsense! My position on guns has nothing to do with liberalism or individualism – as if personal possession of firearms wasn’t an issue before either of these ideas were dominant tendencies in the world!

    This is one of the central concerns of REPUBLICAN political theory, an ideology that PRE-DATES any modern conception of liberalism or individualism by a few centuries. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    There’s a reason why Vermont and New Hampshire have the most “liberal” (i.e. least restrictive) gun laws in the country and the LOWEST gun homicide rates as well. I won’t get into it here. The point is that there are many contexts in which the second amendment is a positive good for society.

    “So is your conclusion that a law is virtuous because it reflects the “will of the people” – I would rather use “comformity with the natural law” as an objective standard. ”

    I have never argued or suggested that the will of the people can or should overturn a natural law.

    It is rather people such as yourself who barely recognize a space for democratic principles within the boundaries of the natural law, who believe that the “authorities” and the “experts” know best and are to be deferred to at all times.

    I honestly begin to question whether or not you know what liberalism or individualism is at all, or whether you understand that both democracy and republicanism pre-date both of these ideas by thousands of years, that the Catholic political tradition has recognized both as morally legitimate within, as has been said, the boundaries of the natural/divine laws.

    To hear some people on the Catholic left, we are morally obliged to work for a global Social Democratic technocracy. It’s nonsense.

  • Tito described them as drunken basketball players. I’m not that familiar with La Raza, so I really wanted to know if they’re just a bunch of college kids. I suspect they are not but I could be wrong. I’ve met and argued with racist white people but I don’t think you’d take my word for it if I told you that white people, in general, are racist.

    wouldn’t a white organization that called itself “The Race” raise just a few questions in your head? Oh, but I forget -racism is reserved for whites only.

    You’ve fallen into the trap of moral equivalence which is, unfortunately, all too common when it comes to issues of race. For historical reasons, “White Pride” raises questions that “Black Pride” or “Irish Pride” does not.

  • jh says:

    JOe regarding Racial Profiling

    We are not talking about trying to catch some people at airports. We are going to be talking about a lot of legal citizens being harassed . This is how it works. Pople LIKE TO BE LEFT ALONE. There are too many Latinos that are getting tired of this will fast.

    It is counterproductive and there will just be a backlash.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    RR,

    “I never accused anyone of racism”

    You argued that the only people who benefit from, and therefore would want, racial profiling, are white people; that for their own peace of mind alone they would “burden” Hispanic people.

    That sounds like accusing people of racism to me.

    “how would racial profiling prevent it from spilling into the US?”

    If you give police the ability to enforce federal immigration law, it could result in the deportation of violent criminals in a more expedient manner, couldn’t it?

    As for the specific issue of profiling, how do you prevent it?

    What are they supposed to do? Pretend you don’t see color, like Stephen Colbert? I mean what the heck are they supposed to do out there?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    I’m asking seriously. What are the solutions? How is the job done “without” profiling, or without it LOOKING like profiling?

    I suggest you read the link I posted earlier. Maybe you can respond to that.

    Because this is a serious issue, and it can’t be avoided in the name of “sensitivity”, not when lives are at stake. The time for political correctness is over.

    So what is the solution?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    JH,

    ” We are going to be talking about a lot of legal citizens being harassed .”

    I know. I’ve been harassed. I probably will be again.

    Should I take it personally? Is there some way the officers can do their job without it looking like “profiling”? Will this law necessarily lead to people being randomly harassed on the street without probable cause?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    My great grandparents came to this country 100 years ago, legally, worked their butts off to support a large family, and had a reverence for American laws, customs, and freedoms that most of its native citizens did not and do not have.

    Does it bother me that in spite of all that, I could still be the target of racial profiling? It does.

    But if such profiling is necessary – and I can’t say it is or it isn’t because I’m not a cop and I know next to nothing about enforcing the laws – then I’m willing to endure it. That’s my position.

  • jh says:

    Joe I just think it will backfire. A lot of Latinos are for common sense immigration laws and are for some tough enforcement. I think this will just make many of them go into their own corner because it will be hard to control the anit Hispanic rethoric. Itis a lose lose

    In the end one reason why there is a problem is not so much much a faraway federal govt. It is we the people that refuse to move an inch from our respective sides

    It is very likely there will be no solution for years and years and the problem on all its levels will just get worse. I hate to say that but 2006 and 2007 seemed to the time to do it. Now I don’t think there is any chance for immigration reform for years

  • jh says:

    Joe the soultion is

    Border enforcement
    A sane Guest Worker program

    A Pathway to Citizenship with Conditions

    ANd also we are going to have to have some worker ID because a goo dbit of the problem is not people crossing the border but overstaying VISAs

    Now I know people on all sides disagree with some aspects of the above. However in order for their to be a solution and to fund and enforce all that people are going to have meet in the middle. Till then it is the STATUS QUO which I admit I don’t like at all

    I think that is just where we are at

  • You argued that the only people who benefit from, and therefore would want, racial profiling, are white people; that for their own peace of mind alone they would “burden” Hispanic people.

    That sounds like accusing people of racism to me.

    I used the word “primarily,” not “only.” And it’s true. The chief beneficiaries of racial profiling are white people. They carry none of the burden, only the benefits. Hispanics are burdened by this racial profiling. And the vast majority of Hispanics don’t want to deport illegal immigrants so they receive no benefit from this racial profiling. You really think me pointing out these facts is racist? The people in favor of it are almost all white people. Why do you think that is? It’s not necessarily motivated by racism. In fact, I’d say that it’s usually not. It’s motivated by a desire for peace of mind. But you’re probably more likely to support it if you aren’t going to be subject to it.

    If you give police the ability to enforce federal immigration law, it could result in the deportation of violent criminals in a more expedient manner, couldn’t it?

    I’d support laws that makes it easier to deport violent criminals. But I don’t see how racial profiling does that.

    As for the specific issue of profiling, how do you prevent it?

    What are they supposed to do? Pretend you don’t see color, like Stephen Colbert? I mean what the heck are they supposed to do out there?

    Interesting that you mention Stephen Colbert who mocks the right-wing tendency to pretend to be colorblind when it comes to things like college admissions or even the Civil War.

    You’re asking the wrong question though. If racial profiling is unjust, it should never be used even if it works. If it is not unjust, we have no problem. So the question should be: Is targeting a racial minority for detrimental treatment ever justifiable? If yes, then the next question would be whether it’s beneficial.

  • BA,

    Suppose that all of the people who are currently here illegally were here legally. Do you think people would be less upset about the immigration issue than they are now? My guess is that it would be about the same (just as I don’t think the fact that recent immigration to Europe has largely been legal has done much to quell anti-immigrant sentiment there). People focus on the legality aspect because it’s easier, but I don’t think this is what is driving most of the passion (I’m speaking generally, of course; there are no doubt individuals such as yourself for whom rule of law issues predominate).

    Well, contra factuals are obviously tricky, but here would be my first question: We see significant legal efforts to deny services to illegal immigrants and otherwise legally sanction them. We see no such efforts against non-illegal-immigrant minorities, even ones with a significant history of discrimination, such as blacks. Do you seriously think that there would be attempts to pass these sorts of laws against Hispanic immigrants even if they were here legally?

    At a minimum, it seems to me that if we had an equal number of immigrants but they were all here legally, we would dispense with a number of the specific issues that people claim they are upset about. For instance, if all immigrants were working legally, then we’d have a level playing field in regards to wages and the “immigrants working less than minimum wage for cash wages are taking jobs from Americans” meme would be dead. They could still be accused of being willing to work for minimum wage, but that’s not really an accusation that gets hurled at other groups much.

    Similarly, it would get rid of some of the most aggravating aspects of dealing with a large undocumented population. In LA at least, one of the biggest complaints I heard against “illegals” (even from other descendants of Mexican immigrants) was that they tend to drive with no license or with fake licenses, and thus without insurance. Many also aren’t very well trained drivers, so it’s pretty common to get hit by an illegal immigrant driver, and then find oneself on the hook for the damages. (To aggravate matters further, the LAPD for quite a while wasn’t doing much about enforcement against this.)

    Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if lots of people still weren’t terribly fond of recent immigrant groups. There’s a long history of this, and we see the same thing in Europe, etc. But it strikes me that the contours of the current debate are very much the result of tolerating but not legalizing widescale immigration. This also has the effect of making the de facto situation something not democratically agreed on, which is something which tends to wind people up, especially in the US.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “It’s motivated by a desire for peace of mind.”

    I think at this point it is motivated by a desire for effective law enforcement in the face of escalating local violence.

    “But you’re probably more likely to support it if you aren’t going to be subject to it.”

    Well, you’re looking at a possible exception to that.

    “Is targeting a racial minority for detrimental treatment ever justifiable?”

    The question is whether or not this treatment is truly “detrimental.” If it involves say, a simple background check to verify one’s legal status, I don’t see how.

    If it means a prolonged intrusion into a person’s personal life for arbitrary reasons, then yes.

  • Blackadder says:

    We see significant legal efforts to deny services to illegal immigrants and otherwise legally sanction them. We see no such efforts against non-illegal-immigrant minorities, even ones with a significant history of discrimination, such as blacks. Do you seriously think that there would be attempts to pass these sorts of laws against Hispanic immigrants even if they were here legally?

    There have been efforts to prevent legal immigrants from being eligible for various government benefits, and these efforts have been somewhat successful. It’s true that you don’t see people advocating that we prevent legal immigrants from having a job, whereas the Arizona bill does make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek employment. However, if our immigration system was more open and the immigrants who are currently here illegally were here legally I think you would see a movement to make immigration laws more restrictive.

    In LA at least, one of the biggest complaints I heard against “illegals” (even from other descendants of Mexican immigrants) was that they tend to drive with no license or with fake licenses, and thus without insurance.

    The problem is that if you propose to deal with the problem by trying to make sure illegal immigrants get drivers licenses and insurance, people get mad at you for not enforcing the law. And if you say “well, then let’s change the law so that they can be here legally” that also makes them mad. So what I see is a more generalized anti-immigrant sentiment which manifests itself in whatever argument seems handy at the time.

  • The question is whether or not this treatment is truly “detrimental.” If it involves say, a simple background check to verify one’s legal status, I don’t see how.

    You said that it would bother you. It’s a minor detriment, but a detriment nonetheless. Is it justifiable if it’s minor? I don’t think so but this is like the debate over torture. When does discomfort become torture? I take the position that the wrong intention, e.g., to extract information or punish, can make even minor discomfort, torture. Likewise, if asking an innocent person to produce an ID is done with the intent to harass Hispanics, it’d be unjust. But which intentions, if any, are permissible? I can’t think of any that would justify even a minor inconvenient to an innocent person who has done nothing to arose suspicion beyond being born Hispanic. But I suppose if reasonable people can take the position that waterboarding is not torture, it’s not completely unreasonable to take the position that asking Hispanics to produce IDs is not sufficiently detrimental to be unjust.

  • T. Shaw says:

    Try this one, Twenty Percenters.

    Twelve million people ‘kite’ $850,000,000,000 in bad checks. Scores of banks fail. They need the money. Let’s make bank robbery legal!

    I’m opposed to an inavsion of drug smugglers, murderers, mass brigands and Mao-worshipping revolutionists bent on destroying my country and our way of life.

  • Robert D. Velasco says:

    Sir, in my view, you have missed the point of the reasons for objecting to this law. This law is not about immigration, legal or otherwise. Other than capturing illegal aliens and deporting them, it offers no solutions to the problems of immigration. On a most basic level, this law turns American jurisprudence inside out. In America, it is assumed that a person is innocent of a crime and that it is the burden of the state to prove otherwise. With this law, a person is guilty because someone presumes the person is an illegal alien and it is incumbent on the accused to prove otherwise. And, given that the target of this law is the illegal alien, how does one argue that it is not targeting a specific ethnicity when the bulk of illegal aliens coming into Arizona are hispanic? Say what you will, this law is definitely racist and given the background of the author, it is not a surprise since the author has known Nazi sympathies.

    Incidently, I do not believe that there is anyone who is pro illegal immigration. All of us want for people that come into this country to do so legally. The problem with this law is that it jeopardizes the rights and freedoms of LEGAL American citizens who happen to be of hispanic origin.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    Hey Guys- here’s my take on the general question- we have to look at this with justice and compassion- and we need to keep in mind the ‘take the plank out our own eye’ Christian ethic.

    I think we shouldn’t become so enamored with our patriotism that we become blind to the dark side of our moon. Americans apparently love illegal drugs and this creates a lot of temptation/opportunities for suppliers coming from poor, dysfunctional lands- why not get really, really tough on those who treat our marijuana/cocaine habits as funny or cool? We should similarly call out our heroin users/promoters as traitors since their use puts money into Islamic terrorist hands and puts market pressure on poor Afghan farmers.

    Also, I believe that NAFTA was a huge mistake- no trade agreement should be ironed out with only corporate representation given the lion share of input- you have to include unions, grass roots citizen lobbies, and legit environmentalists to come up with a plan for trade that deals with some of the conflicting interest groups- none of which are perfect given our fallen natures and the dangers inherent in riches and power. The Mexican population does not have a comparable system of democratic participation as ours- so I put the curse of NAFTA more on our shoulders than the Mexican people.

    Now- in addressing these ‘planks’ of ours, we should add into the mix a just and sober view of Mexican authorities and general population’s responsibilities for the mess of high levels of illegal immigration. Mexico’s political leadership encourages illegal immigration to bring remittances into the country- it’s like their 2nd biggest industry I believe- and it takes some of the heat off of them to get Mexico’s act together for their own common good. Mexico is something of a more extreme plutocracy than the U.S. which has a large but increasingly shaky middle-class stable center. I would suggest that Mexico tax it’s rich more effectively and direct resources toward building technological/physical infrastructure and subsidies for families and for easy access to substantive educational opportunities- taking away the incentives for the poor to leave their loved ones to work for chump change up North- who in their right mind really wants to leave your home community and go off on an adventure of high risk and low esteem? C’mon- the majority of Mexicans who come North are actually just trying to take care of their families or future families- which is their God-given right- no boundary could keep me from finding a way and a place to support my own wife and kids- so just forget about relying on “Law”- an unjust law is no law at all- if you want respect for the “Rule of Law”, you had better fight tooth and nail for just and merciful conditions of life for the poor because they are going to follow God’s command to find work and sustenance for their dependents and not the wishes of some rich folks who want people to worship their laws and legal systems- that cult isn’t going to fly in the real world of mothers, fathers and hungry children- you can quote Thomas More movies all day long- you won’t win me over- I’m too well-read on Scripture and Catholic social doctrine. We do need a just legal framework but the framework is only going to work if basic justice and godly amounts of mercy are built into society- making it something akin to a civilization of love- which is the whole point of any human society- just as the common good is the whole point of political and legal authority. Christ fulfilled the Law as an Idealist who demanded real work and effort in loving our neighbor as ourselves.

  • John Henry says:

    I am hereby putting restrainedradical on double secret probation.

    He’s out of moderation now. As BA said, don’t think he should have been put in there to begin with…it’s Joe’s thread, and rr is generally a fairly thoughtful commenter.

  • Phillip says:

    It is a God given right to emigrate. It is a God given right for countries to limit immigration. Neither rigt is absolute. There are limits. No one yet has shown that current immigration laws are per se unjust. I strongly suspect that they can’t be shown as per se unjust either. Rank sentimentalism from either side doesn’t count as argument. And we’re back to where we were.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Tim,

    The problem with your perspective is that it relies too much on things that are, well, just not possible.

    What say to American citizens have over what the Mexican government does? We’re talking about a problem between two sovereign nations.

    In my view, its morally wrong to ask the people of Arizona to do nothing because of a vague and unlikely hope that the Mexican gov’t might one day get its act together.

    I’ve changed my views on this issue as I read more and more about the violence spilling over from across the boarder into the Southwest. This is an issue that left-leaning illegal immigration sympathizers simply don’t talk about.

    The government has a duty to protect life, liberty and property. And from what I can tell from the bill and some of the commentary I’ve heard on it, what will basically happen is that officers will seek to verify immigration status in the course of investigating crimes, when they have “lawful contact.” It isn’t a mandate for the police to stop anyone who looks like a Mexican because and only because they look like a Mexican and ask for their papers.

    You can’t bring up the poverty of Mexico as if the citizens of AZ have anything to say about it, in my view. It isn’t fair. And frankly this wouldn’t be as much of a problem as it is if some of the most vocal Mexican immigrant advocate groups didn’t hate the United States while simultaneously acknowledging that it may be the only hope for people looking for work. You’d think a little gratitude would be in order.

  • A Catholic says:

    Religious leaders denounce Arizona immigration bill, urge its veto

    By Patricia Zapor

    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Arizona’s three bishops and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony have joined those urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto legislation that the cardinal called “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited and useless anti-immigrant law.”

    The Arizona Legislature on April 19 sent Brewer a bill that would require police to ask people they encounter in routine activities for immigration documents. It also would, in Arizona at least, make it a crime to be in the country illegally. Federal law considers that a violation of civil codes, not a crime.

    The bishops joined in a letter from a dozen religious leaders urging Brewer to veto the bill that they said “may actually scare off potential employers and employees looking to come to Arizona,” and threaten public safety by making immigrants afraid to have contact with police, even to report crimes.

    It was signed by Bishops Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix and James S. Wall of Gallup, N.M., whose diocese includes parts of northern Arizona, as well as the Rev. Jan Olav Flaaten, a Lutheran minister who is executive director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council. Also signing the letter were leaders of Arizona Presbyterian, Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, Methodist and Jewish organizations.

    Brewer had five days to sign or veto the bill. As of April 21 she had not tipped her hand as to her intentions but said April 19 that she had concerns about the bill. She did not elaborate but said she would review the legislation and seek advice about its constitutionality and other aspects, Arizona newspapers reported.

    In their letter, the clergy told Brewer they were concerned the bill “could make felons, not only out of dangerous criminals (as is warranted), but also the many undocumented immigrants who have come to this country at a very young age and have no familiarity with any other country but the United States. We are concerned for these children and for families that may have a mother and a father, one of whom is a citizen and the other of whom would now be considered a criminal.”

    The letter acknowledged that “a veto of this bill would require great political courage on your part. We want you to know, however, that we are willing to stand behind you in taking such an action, so that our state is better served.”

    Under the headline “Arizona’s dreadful anti-immigrant law,” Cardinal Mahony wrote on his blog April 18 that “the tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense.”

    “What led the Arizona Legislature to pass such a law,” he continued, “is so obvious to all of us who have been working for federal comprehensive immigration reform: The present immigration system is completely incapable of balancing our nation’s need for labor and the supply of that labor.

    “We have built a huge wall along our southern border, and have posted in effect two signs next to each other. One reads, ‘No Trespassing,’ and the other reads, ‘Help Wanted.’ The ill-conceived Arizona law does nothing to balance our labor needs,” he wrote.

    Cardinal Mahony said the bill wrongly assumes that Arizonans, including local law enforcement personnel, “will now shift their total attention to guessing which Latino-looking or foreign-looking person may or may not have proper documents. That’s also nonsense.”

    Federal law does not require immigrants or citizens to carry identification or proof of their legal status at all times.

    Various cities and states “have tried such abhorrent tactics over the decades with absolutely no positive effect,” the cardinal continued. “Such laws have all been struck down by courts or repealed by wise citizens. Sadly, such laws lead to a new round of immigrant-bashing — usually in times of economic downturn.”

    He called for efforts to “bring calm and reasoning to discussions about our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

    From Arizona and across the nation, civil rights, law enforcement and immigrant-aid organizations denounced the legislation. The president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the organization would sue to stop the law from taking effect if Brewer should sign it.

    Some of the support in Arizona for passing the legislation heated up after the late March murder of southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was shot on his ranch near the Mexican border. No arrest has been made, but police suspect drug traffickers who traverse the border were responsible.

    Bishop Kicanas presided at the funeral Mass for Krentz, writing about it on his weekly blog.

    He quoted Krentz’s wife, Susan, noting that “people who attended the funeral Mass may have come with anger and fear, but I know they left with a powerful message from Susan, ‘We cling to forgiveness, demand justice and stand strong in faith.’”

    Posted on April 21, 2010

  • Phillip says:

    St. Josemaria Escriva once wrote that whenever priests speak about politics, they are wrong. His point was (as it is clearly in Catholic Social teaching)that the ordering of society is the domain of the laity. The bishops are to present moral principles but not political solutions. Again, none seem to argue why the law is per se immoral.

  • Phillip says:

    Here is the statement from the Krentz family on the death:

    “On March 27th, our Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Uncle was murdered in cold blood by a suspected illegal alien on the Ranch.

    This senseless act took the life of a man, a humanitarian, who bore no ill will towards anyone. Rob loved his family instilling in them the importance of honesty, fair dealing and skill managing all aspects of a large 100 year old ranching operation producing food to make our country strong and healthy.

    He was known for his concern and kindness helping neighbors, friends and even trespassers on his ranch with compassionate assistance in their time of need.

    We hold no malice towards the Mexican people for this senseless act but do hold the political forces in this country and Mexico accountable for what has happened. Their disregard of our repeated pleas and warnings of impending violence towards our community fell on deaf ears shrouded in political correctness. As a result, we have paid the ultimate price for their negligence in credibly securing our Borderlands.

    In honor of everything Rob stood for, we ask everyone to work peacefully towards bringing credible law and order to our border and provide Border Patrol and county law enforcement with sufficient financial resources and manpower to stop this invasion of our country.

    We urge the President of the United States to step forward and immediately order deployment of the active U.S. military to the Arizona, New Mexico Border.

    Thank you for all for honoring Rob. We want the truth known.”

  • officers will seek to verify immigration status in the course of investigating crimes, when they have “lawful contact.” It isn’t a mandate for the police to stop anyone who looks like a Mexican because and only because they look like a Mexican and ask for their papers.

    Officers can already verify immigration status in the course of investigating crimes. This law mandates that they investigate illegal immigration. Arizona police are generally against it because it diverts resources away from fighting more serious crimes like drug smuggling.

  • Phillip, were the bishops wrong to oppose the final ObamaCare bill?

    Even if you believe the police are wrong in their belief that this law hurts their law enforcement efforts, this law is immoral per se. It criminalizes the harboring of illegal immigrants. It criminalizes Christian charity.

    The only people benefiting from this law are Democrats who are enjoying the backlash against the Republicans for supporting it.

  • Phillip says:

    Yes, because they were stating a moral principle – that abortion is an intrinsic evil and should not be paid for by govt. programs.

    There is no moral right per se to harbor illegal immigrants if the immigration laws are not per se unjust.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    The only people benefiting from this law are Democrats who are enjoying the backlash against the Republicans for supporting it.

    Say what you will about the bill, but it is enormously popular in the state. Overall, this is not a winning issue for Democrats.

  • John Henry says:

    Overall, this is not a winning issue for Democrats.

    That depends on whether you’re talking about nationally or regionally and on what time horizon. The law is popular in AZ, but that does not necessarily translate nationally. Also, over a longer time horizon, the Democrats will be well-served by establishing closer ties with the hispanic community, which is one of the fastest growing demographics. Not surprisingly, many people in that demographic find this type of law offensive.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    MY point was not to say that having enforceable borders is inherently unjust- but I will state that all men have a natural right to work and provide for their families- so I relate to those who are taking risks and breaking border laws in order to try to fulfill their godly responsibilities. Of course, we have a situation of complexity- where there is culpability on the parts of both the U.S. and Mexican political authorities and corporate powers-that-be. I refuse to be boxed in by the “Rule of Law” v. the “Free to emigrate” camps. The long-term solution will not be found in any quick-fix proposals- like I said before- I would re-work NAFTA bringing more varied interests into the mix of the new treaty’s formulation, and I would get more aggressive in demonizing drug users in the U.S., and increase police presence to deal with the crimes of violence and trespass- all the while doing more to promote local economies in rural areas so as to stem the need to flee to the U.S. for so many young Mexicans. Just dumping cheap American surplus goods into these areas has not resulted in good things for the locals- as evidenced by the Mexican poor voting with their feet and trekking up North. What I won’t do is try to wash my hands of the Mexican economic situation since my country has been neck-deep in influencing things down South for a long time now- and the results are pretty obvious to me that the promises of peace and prosperity have been mostly hollow. People are the point of economics, and economics is the root cause of all this immigration ruckus- like most things- the love of money is the root of many evils- it’s not greed that pushes so many from the South to go North- it is survival and thrival rights of families.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    Phillip- I would say it is legit for a state to set limits for immigration according to the need to maintain the security and well-being of the current citizenry- but it is also legit for someone in dire straits to try to circumvent the law to try to find a place where there is work and opportunity for his progeny- this is no doubt a very messy business which is why I can’t subscribe to any simple solutions- a simple solution right now would have to be one that either has no head or no heart- I try to keep both operational in my life and politics.

  • BA,

    You’re right, I’d forgotten about some of the (to my mind disgraceful) attempts to deny services to legal immigrants.

    The problem is that if you propose to deal with the problem by trying to make sure illegal immigrants get drivers licenses and insurance, people get mad at you for not enforcing the law. And if you say “well, then let’s change the law so that they can be here legally” that also makes them mad. So what I see is a more generalized anti-immigrant sentiment which manifests itself in whatever argument seems handy at the time.

    I would agree with this up to the last sentence. Perhaps I’ve overly rosey-eyed here, but it seems to me that for a decent percentage of those who get riled up about the immigration issue, it’s the lack of democratic control over the process which gets people wound up. People have the reaction, “Look, we’ve got immigration laws, let’s see those enforced before you start asking me to support some new set of laws. What’s the point of changing the law if people ignore the laws we have?”

    If I’m reading you right, you seem to be saying, “People are ignoring the existing laws, to a great extent because there are lots of incentives for them to do so. So we should just change the laws.”

    At a logical level, that makes a lot of sense — especially if one thinks (as I gather we both do) that having looser immigration laws would be good for the “natives” and the immigrants. However, it seems pretty clear to me that at a political level, it’s a no go. Telling the electorate, “These people are defying the law, we should change the law so that it fits what they’re already doing,” tends to offend people’s sense of order. And it seems to me that a good part of what fuels over-reactive laws like this is the electorates outraged sense of order.

  • Phillip says:

    Same here. But something must be formulated. Circumventing the law also must have some good reason. Providing for one’s family in dire straits – sure. But those in the Church that formed CST in this regard, including the state’s right to limit immigration, knew that there would be families in dire straits and that states could not necessarily take them all.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    According to Rasmussen, 60 percent of voters nationwide favor the law. This does not in and of itself mean the legislation was the right thing, but this simply speaks to the conversation above about voter backlash against it.

  • John Henry says:

    Fixed the formatting, I think. That’s interesting; I wonder how many people make the connection between stopping anyone suspected of being an illegal alien and straight racial profiling. The basis for the ‘suspicion’ is pretty important.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Tim,

    I appreciate your thoughtful attempt to grapple with an issue that offers few, if any, simple solutions.

    I must however take issue with some of your statements.

    “I will state that all men have a natural right to work and provide for their families- so I relate to those who are taking risks and breaking border laws in order to try to fulfill their godly responsibilities.”

    Certainly I don’t blame people who genuinely work to care for their families. Unfortunately they bring with them a host of other social problems that our society does not appear to be equipped to deal with.

    My problem is with those who engage in “denialism” about these problems – crime, language barriers, burdens on social services, anti-American attitudes and sentiments. Violent crime is the most pressing problem, with vast criminal networks operating with impunity in the US. It is a more immediate threat to our security than Afghanistan or Iraq, that’s for certain.

    “I would re-work NAFTA bringing more varied interests into the mix of the new treaty’s formulation,”

    That I agree with.

    “and I would get more aggressive in demonizing drug users in the U.S.,”

    That I most certainly do not agree with, and I can’t believe you meant it to come out this way. Do you really want to “demonize” one group of unfortunate victims to make another’s problems go away? What happened to care for the sick, which most of these people certainly are? You want to “demonize” these people? Really?

    If anything we should be shifting resources AWAY from prosecuting small time users and dealers and INTO fighting the major drug cartels – treating them as hostile forces, even enemy combatants, and wiping them out with our military.

    “What I won’t do is try to wash my hands of the Mexican economic situation”

    No one’s suggesting a hand-washing, but there’s what we can affect and what we can’t. The AZ legislature doesn’t have the power or authority to negotiate, let alone dictate terms, to Mexico. But it does have the power to do other things to protect its citizens from violent crimes.

  • Blackadder says:

    According to Rasmussen, 60 percent of voters nationwide favor the law. This does not in and of itself mean the legislation was the right thing, but this simply speaks to the conversation above about voter backlash against it.

    When it comes to backlash, you need to consider not only what people think but the intensity of their opinions. A majority may favor the law, but they aren’t going to start voting Republican because of it. On the other hand, if the Republican party comes to be thought of as an anti-immigrant party by Hispanics, then it is liable to cut itself off from a significant portion of the electorate for a generation. Ultimately I think this FoxNews analyst has it right.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I don’t know what expertise former Judge and Fox talking head Andrew Napolitano has in regard to politics in general, but he knows bupkis about Arizona politics.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/16/local/la-me-arizona17-2010apr17/3

    This law will only help the Republicans in Arizona. As far as the nation goes, I think this is a point that will become stronger as the years roll by:
    “Reza added that Arizona Latinos don’t have the same “activist consciousness” found in California. Many of them are second- and third-generation Americans who are deeply assimilated, do not speak fluent Spanish and have mixed feelings toward their immigrant brethren, he said.”

    The idea that Hispanics are of one mind in regard to illegal aliens is I think incorrect. I think there is far more support for a crack down than is commonly believed among Hispanics who are US citizens and well down the path of assimilation.

    I don’t think the Republicans will suffer any political detriment by this law, and I suspect the Democrats if they push amnesty will marginally enhance the electoral disaster they are rushing to in November.

  • Moe says:

    Mexican drug rings dominate the drug trafficking in my state and Mexican communities provide excellent cover for the drug dealers. There is no doubt that the Mexican drug dealers are tainting our view of Mexican immigrants, whether here legally or illegally. In contrast, most Mexicans in our communities are hard-working, honest, family-oriented individuals. They take low-salaried jobs nobody else wants and send half of their paycheck home to family in Mexico. Their work ethic is admirable. There’s lots of positives to be said for Mexican youth with a work ethic and love of family growing up in the United States since our future is our youth. But then I vacillate to the other end of the spectrum. There are so many wasted lives and families in agony over a drug-addicted loved one. Outside one addiction recovery house, Mexican drug dealers were seen handing out free samples of heroin to recovering addicts. These heinous acts and the violence precipitated by the drugs are swaying public opinion against Mexican immigration. I applaud Arizona’s efforts. It’s imperfect, but, as my dad used to tell me, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” Really, something has got to be done.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    Joe- how are marijuana and cocaine users “victims”? Did I miss something there? It is our consumption of such drugs that feeds the mess of violent crime- now legalization may be one pathway to taking some control away from drug lords/gangs/mafia- but that would also increase the use of said drugs- which is a bad thing for anyone – possible exception those who are using marijuana for medical purposes- this to me would me THC in pill form- smoking anything is harmful to one’s health. So- again we should choose between “legalize but demonize” recreational drug pursuits, or crack down on the drug lords/gangs/mafia- bring in the National Guard- I was in the Guard and I would have loved being part of a move to take back neighborhoods and whole communities and cities from the violent upper crust in the drug market food chain.

    You don’t honestly believe that marijuana and cocaine are spiritually/physically harmless do you? We have our hands full with alcohol and tobacco abuse, we don’t need to bring more such options into mainstream play any more than they already are- for these reasons I lean against legalization and more to the hard-line position to weed out the bad guys coming across the border to bring drugs to American consumers from the honest guys coming because they have no work and no money for their families- I support strict border controls but I see the need for systemic change to address the root economic causes- we have to walk and chew gum on this issue and not give Arizona citizens and the larger American population a pass on the larger economic situation front- we have democratic leverage- we can run for office- I did and will again when my kids are older- I would recommend all serious Catholic bloggers get their feet wet- put your money where your mouth is- assemble a little campaign and lay out your plans for your state, for America, for the world- let the chips fall where they may- we have become a nation of whiners and wimps when it comes to our political processes- we have a cycle of corrupted Dems followed by corrupted Repubs “leading” us into further and further decline- I think we need to be more Christ-like and take on more of the responsibility for the universal common good, and not limit ourselves to pragmatic policy initiatives that seem to care less about the plight of the majority of actually and really poor persons who are crossing deserts to work crap jobs- I won’t let that pass and just throw my hands up- my faith won’t allow that- no way.

  • Tim R says:

    Just two comments directly related to the article above:

    1. the word is “border”, a “boarder” is entirely different.

    2. The reference to the “incursions on Arizona sovereignty” is poor reporting on the authors part, as “the Mexican Army” in no way entered Arizona. It was three MEMBERS of the Mexican Army, whether former or current at the time I do not know, who were hired by a drug Cartel to assassinate a person in Arizona. It was not in any way an Official or sanctioned operation on their Army’s part.

    3. On a personal note I wanted to point out that since so many Americans think it is important to point out that the vast majority of Americans are one type or another of Christian, it seems to follow that the vast majority of businesses who illegally and knowingly hire undocumented works are run in the most part by Christians. So your “informed Catholic view on immigration” should include this common decision, by Christians, to put the dollar above the Law. And it is these Americans who deserve the lions share of the blame and punishment for the situation we’re talking about.

  • Phillip says:

    Sounds Tim R is wrong about the Mexican military. He is right to some degree about businessmen who hire illegals. I think the Arizona law addresses this.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “Joe- how are marijuana and cocaine users “victims”?”

    When they’re teenagers and homeless people, Tim, I think they often are. To “demonize” them is unconscionable.

    “You don’t honestly believe that marijuana and cocaine are spiritually/physically harmless do you?”

    No. But I don’t believe people who use them should be “demonized”, let alone put in prison. It’s a waste of money, its a punishment out of proportion with the crime to put them in the same facility as murderers and rapists.

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .