There is no more rapidly overheating issue, in an already overheated political season, than that of the recently passed Arizona state law addressing law enforcement responsibilities regarding immigration status. A law which codifies at the state level what already exists at the federal level.
Arizona's new law is a reasonable response to an emergency. The border is in chaos, with drug wars and crime bleeding across and endangering American citizens. The government, whose core function is the protection of these citizens, is acting - in the negligent absence of action by the Federal Government. And they are being vilified for it.
My EbertFest / Twitter friends are peppering me with questions on my position standing with the good people of Arizona. The political left is generally in misreading the law and in hurling charges of racism. It's unbecoming.
Let's address the plain facts of the law with a cool head.
Let's start here: Pat Buchanan got it right in his column this week on "Whose Country is It Anyway", when he observed that "No other developed country has a 2000 mile border with a developing country." True. Not Canada. Not Mexico. Not anywhere in Europe. Nowhere else in the West, at least, is that true. And that is the heart of the matter. The developed country (USA) is a magnet for the developing country (Mexico), and an invasion of illegal aliens at least 12 million strong is the result. (Although I think that number is soft).
I used three words in that last paragraph that many will object to: invasion, illegal, and alien. But words have meanings. And, those words have plain meanings that have been greatly distorted by the Open Borders crowd on the left, with resulting damage to this debate and to our country.
Let's discuss the definitions of those words, in the context of some quick facts:
1. A country is defined in large part by it's geographical borders. Look at any globe.
2. Countries maintain their sovereignty, in large part, by controlling those borders. Every country does it. A country that does it poorly, that negligently allows the borders to become uncontrolled and porous, is in danger of losing it's rightful sovereignty.
3. Sovereign countries, to thrive and grow, should welcome immigrants. But that welcome is not without limits, and must be controlled in a fashion to allow assimilation to work. Negligent uncontrolled immigration leads to balkanization and ethnic factionalism - which is detrimental long term to the health of a unified nation.
4. The United States Congress, in recognition of the above, has passed a body of Immigration Law over time in an effort to both welcome immigrants and to control their numbers and distributions to enrich our country and still allow for assimilation.
Now, back to the definitions:
1. Invasion: accurately describes a wholesale combination of a negligent control of our borders and a flood of people passing through them in violation of the law. Are there 12 million people illegally in Canada? In Mexico? Anywhere in Europe? No. It is an invasion.
2. Alien: a perfectly good word often used in US immigration law. It means only "not from here".
3. Illegal: a straightforward word. U.S. immigration law establishes the procedures that allow aliens to be in our country legally. If you are here in violation of those laws - regardless of where from or of what race - you are here illegally. If you came across the border without permission, or overstayed a Visa, etc. you are here illegally. How many other countries allow that on a massive scale?
The political left in this country has degraded the clear meaning of those words, and for partisan political agenda reasons, using euphemisms like "undocumented worker", for example. It's dishonest and not helpful to the dialogue.
Back to the AZ law. It's only 16 pages, and easily readable. Yet, no one on the political left who is hurling the charges of "racism" has probably read it. They are clearly mischaracterizing it rampantly. Stating, for example, that people can be stopped and "asked for their papers" simply for how they look. It's untrue, prohibited in the plain language of the law, and outrageous. That charge was fueled by President Obama, who said:
"Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to get harassed — that’s something that could potentially happen… That’s not the right way to go."That pandering statement made by our President at a campaign rally is a blatant lie. You have to already be stopped for a legal violation to be asked for ID. But facts don't matter to our demagogic President. Does it bother you that our President lied about this topic.
By the way, I've been asked to show ID. I've carried a passport in every foreign country that I've visited and been asked to present it many times. I've been stopped here for traffic violations and asked to present my ID and proof of insurance. What exactly is the problem here?
Okay, to answer the Twitter questions:
1. etherielmusings When you think a complete stranger is less worthy than you, put your best friend in his/her shoes, and think again. Think before you judge.Grace, I don't think of strangers as less worthy than me. I think of them as held to the same standards as me. Follow the law. To think less than that, to allow people to wantonly break the law because of liberal sensibilities, is to degrade them. The least judgmental thing to do is to apply the same standard, the same law, to everyone.
2. popcornreel AZ law fans please note: this is Native Americans' land. Most of us are immigrants. AZ law doesn't target all immigrants, ergo: it's racist.Omar: true, historically. We are all immigrants. However, your statement negates the entire body of American immigration law. Congress passed immigration laws, which clearly define legal and illegal immigration. To abide by the law is not racist. If anything is racist, it is to advocate not holding someone accountable to the law merely because of their race or origin. We are all accountable to the law. If you don't like the current immigration law, then vote to change it.
In the meanttime, are we to ignore that immigration law exists. To pretend that Arizona is not in crisis?
3. etherielmusings @rmasters78 who determines who is a "criminal" alien or not? What if I walk down ur street & get stopped cuz I look like an "alien"?That ok?Grace, the Congress of the United States has decided who is a criminal alien and who is a legal alien. Just as your country has done for Canada. Why did you go through Customs on the way back into Canada. Why didn't you just cross the border to go back home anywhere you felt like crossing?
Congress has defined it, and law enforcement officers execute the law. Just like on every other law.
4. ebertchicago @rmasters78 You say it's odd liberals object to "criminal aliens showing ID." Guilty until proven innocent: That's America?Roger: Have you never been asked to show a passport in a foreign country? Have you never presented your driver's license when stopped for a traffic ticket? The AZ law says that if a law enforcement officer in the course of a legal contact for other issues has reason to suspect that the person may not be here legally they can ask for evidence of that and refer to ICE. That is in support of federal immigration law, which the Federal Government has been negligent in enforcing.
I was listening to talk radio - left and right - on a long drive yesterday. I heard an AZ lawman call in. He said that often on a traffic stop the person will say "I don't have a driver's license, but here is my Mexican birth certificate" or counsular card. The lawman now has reason to refer the case to ICE. What is wrong with that?
5. ebertchicago What if whites in Arizona were pulled over on suspicion of being racist? Not all are? Not all brown people are illegals.Roger, 70% of Arizonans support the new law. Do you think that total only includes white people? Hispanics and African-Americans are negatively impacted by illegal immigration and the chaos on the border too.
6. @ebertchicago: Idea for Arizona: Just have them wear a cloth star, easily visible on their topmost outer garment.
Roger, my friend. Please reconsider this tweet. It makes me sad. Comparing the holocaust to the AZ law? I'm invoking Godwin's Law, and you owe Ben Stein an apology now.
Folks. Arizona's border with Mexico is in crisis. Kidnapping and crime off the charts. State resources overburdened. Ranchers being shot. Years and years of broken promises by the Federal Government in administrations of both parties to fix the border. It's a crisis. I think that Arizona acted reasonably to protect it's citizens of all races and colors from an invasion.
Please, stop with the "Nazi" and "racism" charges. It is, frankly, unhinged and unwarranted.