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April 2010
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Arizona Immigration Law a Wake Up Call

The usual suspects on Fox News– specifically Sarah Palin, again fearing actually thinking before speaking– came out in defense of the Arizona law on immigration. Ms. Palin accused the Obama administration of a “shameful” attempt on making it a racial issue by suggesting that the Arizona law will encourage Arizona cops to stop and question Hispanics in search of illegal immigrants.

However, you don’t have to be a Democrat to dislike the law. Many prominent Republicans have come out noting its problems. Jeb Bush and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman both expressed reservations about the law. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina stated that the law would probably be held unconstitutional. While the Florida conservative Marco Rubio (currently polling ahead of Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate GOP nomination) hit the nail on the head when he said: requiring people to carry documentation is “not really something Americans are comfortable with, the notion of a police state.” Even former Colorado Congressman Mike Trancredo, posterboy against illegal immigration said: “I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like you should be pulled over.” He said the law went too far.

Notably breaking from her father on the issue (most likely because he’s involved in the race of his life for the Republican nomination for his senate seat in Arizona) Meghan McCain wrote an excellent piece in The Daily Beast condemning the law:

Ms. McCain states that “the law may be seriously flawed, but it is trying to solve a serious problem” and unfortunately, much of the media attention has been spent looking at the law, rather than the problem. Ms. McCain wrote: 

Let me say up front that I do not support the bill that was signed by Governor Jan Brewer. I believe it gives the state police a license to discriminate, and also, in many ways, violates the civil rights of Arizona residents. Simply put, I think it is a bad law that is missing the bigger picture of what is really going on with illegal immigration. The concept that a law-enforcement official can stop an individual when “reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an alien, who is unlawfully present in the United States” is essentially a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic.

I applaud Meghan McCain and other Republicans who actually thought about the ramifications of the law, before spewing soundbites and talking points– like some prominent nonthinkers. There are several problems with this law. First, as Meghan McCain and many others assert, people in Arizona may be stopped for reasonable suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. Come on Sarah– who does this apply to in Arizona?


While a human being may not be illegal, that person's status in the U.S. can be illegal if undocumented.

If you’re breaking the law and get caught, you’re caught. And undocumented immigrants must remember that under the law they are here illegally. They have the choice of standing in line, like other immigrants and having a legal status in the United States; if undocumented aliens choose not to do so, they have to accept the consequences of that inaction should it come to bear. Ms. Arellano strutting around like she was owed citizenship when she’s been here illegally not paying taxes for years certainly did not make her more sympathetic in my eyes.

I know plenty of people do not agree with some drug laws– particularly the prohibition against marijuana– but that disagreement will not keep someone arrested with marijuana from prison time should the state choose to enforce the law. You smoke or possess marijuana, you get caught, you go to jail. Why should breaking the law by being in the country illegally be any different in terms of consequences?

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