9 votes

USA vs. Arizona: Hate Racism; Support Arizona

As I type this, the Supreme Court has just wrapped a day of hearing arguments the case of Arizona vs. United States, concerning Arizona's immigration-related bill, SB 1070.

When it was originally passed, I was an immigrant resident of that state.

I received my greencard two years ago and received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security -- the same letter that is sent to thousands of new immigrants every week -- from which I quote:

We will soon mail you a new Permanent Resident Card... When you receive your card, you must carry it with you at all times if you are 18 older. It is the law.

Pretty clear.

While a permanent resident, I am here as a guest, and my carrying my "greencard" is a reasonable step on the path to becoming a proud American -- "reasonable" because any nation needs to know whom it lets in, as part of its responsibility to the security of its citizens.

My rights here depend on the rule and enforcement of law, applied equally to all, regardless of background or color. For that reason, the backlash against new state immigration laws is not in the true sense "liberal", per se. A liberal should support the rule of law that protects the security and the rights of its individual citizens.

I am pleased to see that it now seems that the Feds have decided not to push the "racial discrimination" objection to SB 1070. Not only is that bill blind to color and ethnicity: it specifically protects immigrants from being asked for documents without reasonable suspicion of a violation of law, including the very law of which I was notified when I became an immigrant. Therefore, SB 10707 offers immigrants a protection that is not offered to them in the "Welcome to America" letter I quoted at the top of this article.

Any racism around such laws must surely reside in the idea that we should not seek to enforce established law, or to do so equally, because we want to give a particular ethnic group -- singled out only because we assume rightly or wrongly, that group tends more than any other to violate that particular law (!) -- a pass on their legal obligations.

Evils can only be eliminated when honestly identified. Shouting "racism" where there is none seeks to promote division to the benefit of the group that makes the claim. That fact does not contradict the importance of ensuring that any law officer who seeks implement SB 1070 (or any other law, for that matter) with a bias for or against one race or community suffers the full force of the laws that already protect us all against that evil. And that, in turn, should not under any circumstances be set against the obligation of states like Arizona to protect their citizens from the very real and increasingly violent consequences of illegal immigration.

To be clear, the logic of the position of some of the Left concerning State crackdowns on illegal immigration seems to be, "the laws are unfair because they support discrimination against a particular group that is much more likely to be breaking that law -- even though the same law states that not even basic checks of identity (let alone arrest etc.) can be made until there is reasonable suspicion that the relevant law is being broken". What is meant is that as long as the group that violates a law has a racial identity, we should have no such law. That is to argue from race.

Certainly, America's immigration system needs radical reform to allow more good, hard-working people of whatever origin to contribute to the USA, and as something of a classical liberal, I see the benefits of much more open borders, but those who really want to help immigrants should first learn about the current "legal" immigration system that incentivizes illegal immigration.

It is my fantasy to sit one day as a witness in a Congressional Committee on immigration, and to tell of the 700 pages I had to compile each time I renewed my visa; the $200 I had to pay for a photocopy of one sheet of paper from the Department of Homeland Security; the fact that even after I paid, the DHS didn't send me that document for 200 days, until someone who knew someone made a call to a "special number" etc..

I would tell the Committee that the immigration problem is not so difficult to solve. Secure the border simply because security is the first duty of government, and then do the following.

First, prohibit anyone who has committed a visa/immigration violation from ever becoming a permanent resident (and therefore citizen) of the country. A violator who has American family here may remain only under rolling sponsorship of their American spouse.

This is critical as it will change the incentive calculus for illegal immigrants, and will deal with one of the most important immigration statistics that you have never heard: from 2000 to 2007, two thirds of all legal Mexican immigrants (who represented 35% of all immigrants to the USA) were once here illegally! Those immigrants are making completely rational choices given the system we have, and for commendable reasons. The fault is not with them. It is with us as Americans. This two-thirds compares with the mere 9% of all immigrants who become immigrants legally through work. (Yes, 9%.)

Second, limit family-based immigration to immediate family only. Allow a new citizen to sponsor only his spouse and children into the country - and perhaps, if he can prove the means to support them, elderly parents when they need care. No more uncles, aunties, cousins, grandmothers etc..

Third, send a test case to the supreme court regarding the 14th amendment, which states,
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

This amendment was passed in 1868 to ensure that all persons, including slaves and their progeny, could be citizens of the nation. Children of diplomats, foreign visitors or similar aliens are not included. Nor was the amendment intended to extend to children of illegal immigrants who perhaps more than any, are not subject to the jurisdiction of this country.

All the while, we can recognize our moral and civic responsibility to those whom were brought here "illegally' as minors to let them settle as American citizens. That benefit need not be extended to those parents who brought them here, although we might wish to allow these new citizens to sponsor their parents to stay on a rolling basis?

Let's finally get to the question of the constitutionality of states' legal efforts to protect themselves from illegal immigration: if such laws are unconstitutional, they must be struck down for that reason alone. But it is the height of hypocrisy by the Federal government, which fails every day in hundreds of ways to act within the confines of the Constitution, to bring suit on such a basis. So once the suits against the States are done, I hope that every state in the Union should take at face value the Federal government's newly found interest in the Constitution, and sue it to force it to meet its own obligations.

They can begin by following Virginia in establishing a state law that protects the basic civil rights of citizens against the anti-Bill of Rights abuses as are contained in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Indeed, we might dare to hope that Gov. Brewer keeps her backbone and signs the very similar bill that is probably sitting on her desk right now. If she does, she'll be surprised by the support she has the next time she has reason to visit the Supreme Court.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

SB1070 is NOT about Immigration or Illegals

SB1070 is NOT about illegals or immigration, its about Expanding police powers.

I confronted Russel Pearce down at the Capital before anyone even heard about it. I read the bill, many times, its not what people think.

Watch my videos on the subject.

4409 -- Arrested over Arizona's Real I.D. Paper's Please SB1070 bill

4409 -- SB1070 for Dummies

4409 -- SB1070 Pearce grants Amnesty to Law Enforcement

4409 -- SB1070 = National I.D. ?


If you love police states AZ would be at the top of the list

Maybe the writer needs to research the current and past actions of Gov Brewer on down...No doubt there were greats like Goldwater and O'conner but todays AZ is a far cry from liberty and common sense

Government is supposed to protect our freedom, our property, our privacy, not invade it. Ron Paul 2007

Proof of Innocence

Of course the law is not racist. It applied to everyone who enters the state.

There is no justification for any law that requires proof of innocence. If the state has a reasonable suspicion that I am violating a law by my very presence here, the state can get a warrant, charge me, and proceed to prove the case.

If we will repeal those laws that forcibly transfer wealth from those who earn it, we will go a long way towards solving any of the problems that we think are caused by "illegal immigration".

National Soverignty is Socialism

Count me in on the side of those who say that borders are a statist scam, a figment of coercive collectivism; socialism by another name.

The constitution requires Iowa to accept immigrants...

The constitution requires Iowa to accept immigrants from Massachusetts, not Mexico. And natural law does not even require that.

A guest in my home is ONLY a guest. He is there ONLY by my forbearance. Otherwise there is no meaning to the "my" in "my home".

Who I decide to accept as a guest in my home, and who and when I ask them to leave is entirely at my discretion.

You may find the reasons behind my choices to be morally repugnant. That is entirely within your rights. But it is not within your rights to compel me to do otherwise.

In fact, it does not matter how many of my neighbors vote otherwise, a guest in MY home is still a guest.

The Virtual Conspiracy

Borders are a crime against

Borders are a crime against humanity.

In a purely philosophical

In a purely philosophical context, I agree. In reality, I would rather have the option to at least know who I am letting into my home and not leave the door wide open.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

Your home is that piece of

Your home is that piece of ground you bought and paid for, not all the lands between Canada and Mexico.

You're not very good with

You're not very good with metaphors are you? What is between Canada and Mexico is my home. Sovereignty. Google it.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

Why, because you're white?

Why, because you're white?

Oh and I did google sovereignty.. all I found was pictures of relatives.

Right...:You've very

Right...:You've very effectively demonstrated the quality of your character with that statement. I'll know to avoid your racist posts from now on. Thanks.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

What you have demonstrated is

What you have demonstrated is that the common man is a fool who has no right to make laws or govern himself! This is why the aristocracy needs to take back control from the masses, fix the mess you've made of this planet, and keep it that way!

You're insane.

You're insane.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

We'll see.

We'll see.

egapele's picture

"We'll see,"

said the blind man to his deaf daughter as he picked up his hammer & saw.

Simply stated

and I agree 1000%

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

reedr3v's picture

First a hat tip to Robin; it is refreshing to read

a truly thoughtful and rational article on immigration from a Constitutional perspective, even though as a Panarchist I'd love to one day see truly open borders.

Second, to the poster below who'd prefer to punish employers for hiring illegal immigrants: why? If the free market is resolving the problem by finding jobs for people seeking to better their lives, what is criminal in that other than in the "legalistic" sense of punishing people for victimless "crimes." Why should employers be forced to act as border guards and police for the inept State, in order to protect themselves from arrest?

Well allow me to retort...

We can all agree that some crimes are greater than others, in other words stealing a pack of gum shouldn't be viewed the same as rape correct. Which is why, we as a society assign certain punishments to fit certain crimes...now if it is ones contention that by their presence an illegal immigrant is committing a crime then we must assign some sort of punishment for that. My opinion is that the crimes someone who employs undocumented workers commits are greater than that of the person whom they employ partly because they are in a position of power. When a teacher has sex with a student, we don’t blame the student.

Furthermore these offenses would be crimes even if undocumented worker were not involved so that's already a big difference in my mind. If someone breaks their leg on your jobsite in this country you can't tell them to get lost if they're an American and if you tried to you would be committing a what? A crime. That's right.

Now that is not to say that I disagree with your sentiment. I have great empathy for both parties here. Anyone who has ever been to Juarez, Mexico and looked back at El Paso knows exactly why people come here. Conversely anyone who's ever owned a business knows exactly why these companies employ undocumented workers.

Sorry for the long winded response but my main point is this, our war on drugs has become a war on addicts and our fight against immigration has become an attack on the lowest rung of WORKER in this country. If you’re gonna pick a fight, pick the toughest kid on the block otherwise you’re just a punk. This bill is courtesy of the punks.

reedr3v's picture

You retorted but did not reply to my point.

There is no valid excuse for requiring an employer to police workers just because a government chooses to persecute those in this country with no "work visa" or documentation. No employer should be morally required to report anything to a government, just as no employee should morally be required to report his/her wages or employment status unless perhaps applying for economic aid.

If the government does not police the border, the burden does not shift to any private person whether an employer or not. Your prejudice against employers as "powerful" agents does not reflect the real world. Most employers are small business people already battling for existence in a culture hostile to entrepreneurs.

If any property owner is liable for a hazard, he/she owes compensation yes. That is an unrelated question.

First things first...

You don’t agree with this bill either right?

You make a lot of assumptions about my argument. I never said anything about a moral responsibility or powerful agents.

Quite the contrary...morally i agree with you but we can debate the finer points of our ideological utopias all day long. Robin's article states that these people are committing a crime. If you agree with that...which I don’t think you do actually?? Morally speaking at least but if someone else does than they must also agree that the employer who and excuse me if I haven't explained this before but who knowingly or ignorantly (i.e. doesn’t follow proper labor laws) employs an illegal is committing a crime of at least equal value.

I’m not suggesting we put any new responsibility on the small business owners (you guys love that term) or large business owners. I’m simply saying that those who reserve some abhorrence towards illegal immigrants should harbor that same feeling for the systems that encourage their presence and this bill does nothing to address that.

reedr3v's picture

My personal philosophical position is not

relevant in this or any federal bill, since I think the people should be free to develop their own organized productive efforts rather than be subject to majority rule within a vast geographical zone claimed by a ruling elite.

I merely objected to you targeting business owners as a class, requiring them to do police duty or face fines/jail/whatever. And the reason you may see more sympathy for small business owners at this site is because they are the majority of job creators and producers of goods/services people want enough to vote with their dollars, rather than the federal monolith that robs people for its wasteful and resented bureaucratic monopoly of jobs based solely on coercion.

And I have no understanding how your last sentence has any relevance to this discussion. Are you claiming now that small business owners abhor illegal immigrants? Quite the opposite since they often are valued workers for jobs that entitled, under-employed Americans do not seek. It is usually unions and workers privileged by mandated high wages that abhor the cheap labor often represented by illegal immigrants.

Are you sure...

Are you sure it's just my last sentence you don't understand? Seems to me you don't understand anything i've written. You're providing counter points for things I haven't even said. You're arguing with your imagination.

Thanks for reading my comments though. It's been fun.

Good Article

I like the article and I certainly respect your knowledge and experience on the subject matter but here's my issue with the bill.

I know the DP community is big on the free market and this issue is one that has been created by market demand and allowed to continue because politicians won't properly address it for a few different reasons. Consequently the free market has actually begun resolving this on its own but that's another story.

The bottom line for me is we shouldn't be going after people who are here with hardly a pot to piss in just for trying to make a better life for themselves. We should be going after the people who own the businesses that employee illegals. Employee them without healthcare, or decent wages or workers comp. These are the criminals.

Huell..that is a crock. If

Huell..that is a crock. If someone applies for a job it is certainly not the small business owner's problem if he sneaked in over the border. Small business owners have enough problems and paperwork without acting as an unpaid federal immigration cop. To penalize them for hiring a seemingly qualified worker is beyond ridiculous..

Crickett Please!

If a small business owner does everything by the book in the hiring process then they shouldn't have anything to worry about. If they do not, then they have to face the consquences.

If a guy comes to me for a job who doesn't speak english and will work for less than minimum wage...what exactly should I assume? You present a very specific scenario Crickett, I'd venture to say that not all undocumented hirings fit the picture you've painted.