The Big Question: Does Arizona's immigration law go too far?



Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton
(D-D.C.), said:

The new Arizona law, aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants, must not be modeled elsewhere and is so dangerously unconstitutional in recapturing long-discredited discriminatory laws that an injunction should be immediately sought and granted before more harm is done.

There is no escaping congressional responsibility for repeated congressional failures to attend the essential national responsibility to fairly regulate entry into the country and exclude undocumented immigrants.  The Arizona law is a “clarion call for long-awaited immigration reform.

Arizona and other western states have every reason to feel unfairly burdened. Drug and human smugglers have taken advantage of their border location, and desperate undocumented immigrants in Arizona and other western states have found entry points to and through their states. 

However, we know too much from our own history, some of it recent, not to be aware that permitting police to act on suspicion is an inherently arbitrary violation of the Fourth Amendment, and quickly becomes a license to act on intuition and to discriminate.  She said that the Arizona law also has a novel provision that punishes law-abiding police officers as well by making them liable if they fail in enforcing the new law.  Arizona police already have a tough reputation for enforcing existing laws against undocumented immigrants.  This may be a tough year to do immigration reform, but the delay experienced by many immigrants, who have been in this country for years, and the desperation signaled by the new Arizona law make further delay untenable.



Damon N. Spiegel, entrepreneur and writer, said:

I find myself torn between what is constitutional and right for the United States and what is right for the citizens so greatly affected by the situation.  A California native myself I’ve witnessed the growing and uncontrollable issues with our border.  The increase in theft, rape, murder and of course the influx of the drug wars and all 30 miles from the beautiful beaches of San Diego.

 

 I’ve seen the concern of the citizens and those concerns unfortunately are not shared by many  other states except for Arizona and Texas.  Now living in Texas we’re starting to read about 17 year old kids getting murdered by accident.  Massive shootouts in the border town streets that are reminiscent of a shooting scene in Lethal Weapon.  Do our borders need to be better protected?  Absolutely!  Should we be able to spot pick whomever we want, whenever we want for whatever we want?  This becomes questionable but it is clear that the state of Arizona is fed up with laws that are not being enforced or don’t work.  If this works will the people be that upset?  I suspect if this legislation works, it will become a standard for the country and one that is seen as progressive and effective.

 


Frank Askin, professor of law at Rutgers University, said:

It certainly does go too far - far beyond the constitutional limits of the Arizona Legislature.  I doubt that even the far-right Supreme Court majority will uphold it.  I feel certain that Scalia will find it unconstitutional.


Hal Lewis, professor of Physics at UC Santa Barbara, said:

Twenty-odd years ago, perhaps thirty, I toured the Mexican border in the vicinity of San Diego, as a guest of the Border Patrol, and as a member of a White House Committee. I remember four things vividly.

One could see across the border to the hills on the other side, where enormous crowds were waiting for dark to make their try, complete with taco carts and other amenities. The Border Patrol was overwhelmed, and helpless.

Second, the technical capability we had was adequate to detect most crossers, but the number was beyond control. As the intruders were detected and collected they were bussed back to a central location until there weren't any buses remaining; at that point they just walked by, waving.

Third, most of the folks intercepted had no personal identification, so they all gave the same name, and no one could prove otherwise. Therefore, since they were anonymous and there were no jails adequate to detain them, they were given a hot meal and sent back, to try again tomorrow or next week.

Finally, at the end of the day my guide for the tour showed me the best hole in the fence, wide enough for my car, saying that there was no need to wait in a customs line if I needed to cross the border for personal reasons. He knew I wasn't a smuggler.

The upshot was that we weren't then serious, and are not now serious, about securing our borders. According to the polls i've seen, most of the American people think we should be, as do I. So no, the Arizona law does not go too far.


John F. McManus, president of the John Birch Society, said:
Any discussion of the new law in Arizona must begin with awareness of the federal government's deficiencies.  The U.S. Constitution clearly assigns the federal government the responsibility to protect the states "against invasion." (See Article IV, Section 4.) If that duty were being faithfully being carried out, there would be no need for the recently passed law in Arizona.
 
Note that the Constitution didn't say "military invasion," just invasion.  And the millions who have broken our laws and inundated our country constitute an invasion.
 
Arizona is one of the states hardest hit by illegal immigration. A large percentage of its crime wave, welfare and medical care costs, narcotics problem, etc. is traceable to the border crossers.  What is Arizona supposed to do — just sit back and allow all of this to continue to occur, even get worse?  How else to deal with the situation when practically no help comes from those assigned to cope with the problem?
 
I met a U.S. citizen recently who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq soon after that conflict began. He told me his unit was given the responsibility of sealing the border between Syria and Iraq.  He added, "We did it, and if we could do that at the Syria-Iraq border, it can be done at our nation's southern border." What's missing is the will to do the job. This missing will should be a topic for discussion.
 
Oklahoma enacted tough laws against hiring illegal immigrants when it became obvious that a federal law enacted to target this problem wasn't being enforced. What happened in Oklahoma?  Many of the illegal immigrants fled the state. States that take legislative action to deal with this enormous problem should be applauded. Critics will insist that Arizona has gone too far.  Why don't they aim their barbs at the federal government for not going far enough?
 

Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University, said:
Yes. First of all, regulation of immigration is a federal responsibility. Second, this law will clearly encourage racial profiling. Latinos will be targeted. Third, from a political standpoint this is trading possible short-term gain for long-term political suicide as the Latino share of the electorate continues to grow in Arizona and the nation.



Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at UC Irvine, said:
Not if you live in Arizona.  Both the Arizona and California borders with Mexico have been, and continue to be, out of control.  Either you have an immigration policy, in which case you enforce it.  Or you don’t.   Arizona has tried the in-between policy and decided that doesn’t work.


Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
The idea that we can roll back illegal immigration at this late date is naive. Years of lax enforcement of immigration laws, and several amnesties, have created a situation in which the American southwest has essentially been reconquered by Mexico, and that's the plain (albeit politically incorrect) truth. Now they suddenly want to start checking IDs -- but it's far too late for that. What will they do with the millions of illegals? Deport them all back to Mexico?

I have to say, however, that the cries of liberals who scream "racism" at the slightest provocation, and are yapping about how this creates a "police state" in Arizona, are a bit hard to take. For years, it seems, we've been told by this crowd that we should be "more like Europe." Why, the Europeans have universal government-run healthcare! America is the only developed country in the Western world that doesn't. So why can't we be more like them? Well, I'd like to know which European country doesn't patrol its borders and stop suspected illegals in the streets: "Your papers, please" is a phrase often heard in those parts. And of course the reason why is precisely the extensive social welfare system that exists over there: they have to keep costs down and can't afford to subsidize everyone in the world.

So, if you don't want cops stopping you in the mall and asking you for your papers just because you have a deep tan, then stop kvetching about how come we aren't more like Europe -- please!

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