Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A few words about AZ SL 1070

Arizona wants local police to have the power to arrest violators of federal immigration law, even though the state police does not even have that authority under federal law. (supremacy clause 10th amendment).

The new law doesn't require the local police to have a search warrant or even suspect that any crime has been committed.(4th Amendment protection from warrentless search and seizure)

The law criminalizes seeking employment as a day-laborer even though courts have already ruled that it's "protected speech" under the First Amendment.
So fortunately, I don't expect that their law will stand up under legal challenge. Although, with today's Supreme Court- who knows. 

Lately, a number of prominent Republicans have come out against the new law, including former Republican Congressman and conservative TV pundit Joe Scarborough, South Carolinna Senator Lindsey Grahm,  and Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Go-figure that Iowa's Steve "let my son's construction company build a barbed wire fence along the border" King is all for it.

Did you realize that just like the United States as a whole, Arizona is a diverse state with multiple generations of citizens. Three out of every 10 Arizonans are Latino (Hispanic), 1 out of 10 is Native American, and 13% of legal Arizona citizens are foreign born... Legal experts have been warning that this new law will result in "racial profiling," and doesn't bother prohibiting police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate. (Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment). Seems pretty racist to me.

Let's see, it violates the 1st, 4th, 10th and 14th Amendments. Seems pretty unconstitutional to me.

There are "Mexican" people who's families have lived in what is now Arizona for longer than Neddermeyers and Mallorys have been in North America, but because their name is Gomez or Enriquez, they can be locked up without any other cause. If THAT isn't unconstitutional, what is?

And guess what? The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police actually opposes the law for fiscal and public safety reasons, they think that the fear of government officials (police, fire/rescue, census takers, DHS workers, teachers, office clerks) will mean that people won't want to cooperate with police in criminal investigations and will “negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner.”

Does Arizona have a problem with it's border? Absolutely, although it is interesting to note that illegal immigration has abated somewhat since the economic crisis began, because after all, they come here for jobs. Phoenix in particular has a problem with the Juarez border drug cartels. Obviously the Federal government does need to pass some kind of comprehensive immigration reform that restores border security, provides a flexible visa program to meet business and family needs.

But if you thought healthcare was a struggle, or that Wall Street reform is an uphill battle, just wait and see how crazy the tea-partiers go if/when immigration reform ever gets to the House floor! Not that the Republican "Party of No" is likely to even let it get out of committee.

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither. He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security!" ~Ben Franklin
Most of what I've written here came from a discussion I had on the subject with a very dear, but staunchly conservative friend. They must've latched on to the "supremacy clause" in my citation of the 14th Amendment, because they wrote me back worried about the unbridaled advance of the federal government and a defense of states-rights, including Arizona's right to take care of a problem that the national government has failed to.

I'll stipulate that Washington has failed to secure the border although I think it's a bipartisan failure, not something that has just now become a problem in the last year. I even appreciate (to some degree) the point of view that it's unwise to let Washington's power grow unchecked, or that of the President, or that of any one party. Although I think that the GOP, the tea party movement, and FOX News have had a lot of success activating their base and making money by propagating an irrational paranoia about it. No matter how much you dislike or disagree with Obama, he is not a socialist, a Moslem, an illegal immigrant himself, or the Antichrist.

People on both the left and the right seem to AGREE that government intrusion is a problem. It's just that for those on the right, it's the federal government interfering with state government, for us on the left it's state government violating individual rights. Right-wingers see the states as the people's leverage against possible abuse in Washington, Lefties see the National government as the people's wedge against possible abuse at the state and local levels- because the funny thing is, states and cities, counties and school boards used to segregate people by the millions and deny them equal housing, equal education, equal representation, equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law because of the color of their skin.

I'm neither trying to defend illegal immigrants or attack Arizona for wanting to get a handle on the issue. What I am saying is that the main victims of this law are not illegals, they are the millions of American citizens who will be discriminated against because they LOOK like illegals. Not unlike how Asian-Americans were stripped of their rights and property and detained in internment camps during WWII. You may have been second, third, even tenth-generation American. You may have been of Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, or Filipino decent, but if they thought you looked Japanese, you were under suspicion.

My best friend growing up in Phoenix wasn't Mexican-American, but people assume he is. Juanquin Luna's mom is "white," and his dad is a Maricopai Indian- as in Maricopa County. His family was in Arizona eons before the U.S. annexed it in the 1840s. But he can now be held without charge by state, county and municipal law enforcement until he can produce his birth certificate. 

Ever been pulled over for speeding and you panicked because you didn't remember where you put your registration and proof of insurance? Ever get pulled over and you suddenly realize that you left your wallet, with your license at home? 

Just imagine if you had to produce your birth certificate! Do you even know where yours is right now? How long would it take you to find it? Bank deposit box? File cabinet? Your parent's house? Your parent's bank deposit box? Where is it? Too bad, you can now be held without charge indefinitely, or better yet, deported to another country where you don't know anyone and you don't understand their language. Does that sound like an America where you want to live?

Can denial of emergency services, health care, public education, employment or housing be far behind? Why won't you marry us? Why won't you serve us dinner? Why can't I rent this apartment?

Because of a "reasonable suspicion" that you're not an American.

Point of clarification for FOX NEWS viewers and Tea Party movement members: Prewar Germany wasn't socialist. It was a center-right representative democracy just like we are. In spite of the name "National Socialist Party" the Nazis were not socialist, they were fascist, a type of government characterized by the domination of only one party, a strong national military, preferential treatment for corporations, a severe curtailment of individual rights, and often racial discrimination.

Last week's Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live- SETH MEYERS - "This week Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country which would allow police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there are some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler but can we all agree there is nothing more Nazi than saying "show me your papers." There's never been a World War II movie that didn't include the line "Show me your papers." It's their catch-phrase. Every time someone says, "Show me your papers," Hitler's family gets a residual check. So heads up Arizona, that's Fascism. I know, I know, it's a dry Fascism, but it's still Fascism."

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