(edited 5/2/2010) In the midst of the hue and cry over the Arizona immigration enforcement law (and it is simply about enforcement of existing laws), there is much hysterical rhetoric without an appreciation of the legal structure of the law and, I suspect, in many cases without even reading it. I did an analysis of the pertinent portions and below is a snippet from an excellent article giving the factual background (thanks Don Comedy for digging up that piece).
Read the whole article.
The Border Patrol is not on the border. It has set up 60 miles away with check points that do nothing to stop the invasion. The officers are not allowed to use force in stopping anyone who is entering.
The national media do not report on these stories because it conflicts with their perception of the illegal immigration issue, which is based on an assumption that all illegal immigrants are law-abiding landscapers, maids and day laborers. While this is true in many cases, it is also true that our federal and state prisons and county jails are full of a disproportionate number of illegal immigrants who are committing a disproportionate number of crimes.
Can there be any question of the need to secure our borders? If you were not convinced before, and if the foregoing did not convince you, then you simply don’t care about the sovereignty of the United States. I do, and so should you. A debate can (and will) ensue over what to do about people who are already here illegally — whether they sneaked over the border or overstayed a visa — but that is an entirely different argument and problem to solve than that of securing the border.
I have for some time now said we should secure the borders first, and then address the problem of the folks already here illegally. Stop the flow, then figure out how to either drain the bathtub or take a bath. If you listen carefully, the support for dealing with the “illegals” is overwhelming among immigrants who achieved their status legally. It demeans their efforts and integrity in “doing it right” to simply turn the other way and ignore those who broke existing federal law in crossing the border.
The number of red herrings in this national debate are endless and they have nothing to do with the real issues. The fact that most “illegals” are law-abiding once they get here does not change their status of being here illegally. The fact that most of them are working and contributing to the economy at least in that respect does not excuse their initial law-breaking. The allegations of racism are even more specious as the issue is not about Hispanics or even Mexicans in particular, or about Mexico as a nation, as there are illegals here from all over the world. Even the fact that there is probably a huge “social footprint” among that population that is a net drain (net of any income taxes they pay) is a problem quite apart from their illegal status.
Regardless of the label you use — undocumented alien, illegal, illegal immigrant, whatever — the population we are discussing is one of persons here illegally and in the simplest terms, there are only two true issues:
- How do we correct the problem that allowed so many to get here and be able to stay, and
- How to handle those who are already here illegally?
There are ancillary issues and sub-arguments, but the core issues are really that simple.
In the interest of presenting a view that points out a potential danger to the AZ policy experienced elsewhere (arguably a location with few of the extreme needs demonstrated by the AZ situation), take a look here.
Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.