The imbroglio in Arizona over its new and controversial anti-immigration law is a classic instance where politics has trumped law and common sense, inevitably engendering the current strife.
On the surface, the anti-immigration bill seems innocuous enough, merely the precise restatement of an existing federal statute that permits the verification of the immigrant status of any individual and their deportation upon arrest. That federal law has been in existence for a quarter-century, and basically unenforced by a series of pusillanimous politicians pandering to the Hispanic vote, the theory being that Hispanic-Americans favor widespread immigration – even illegal – of other Hispanics, regardless of their effect on the society.
And the effect – in states like Arizona, New Mexico, California and even New York – has been dramatic and mostly deleterious to the common weal. The federal government, nominally in charge of immigration matters through its constituent ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), has long refused – for the most part – to control the Southern border with Mexico, most of which is not even secured by a fence. Thousands pour in across the border monthly. In one infamous case, two Border Patrol agents were arrested and incarcerated for shooting at an illegal who was fleeing after selling drugs. The illegals bring with them crime – mostly drugs and scattered violence – and usually escape punishment. They drive without licenses or insurance, work without paying taxes, can be deported after arrest – simply to return on the next convoy.
Certainly, many come to America only to seek a better life – but they mock the country’s laws and those who abided by them and came legally, waiting their turn and gaining the appropriate sponsors. As egregious, the federal government – not content to ignore its own laws – mandates that the states pay for free health care, public education and social services for these individuals. As they largely do not pay taxes, they receive far more in benefits than they pay into the system – and have brought many states to the brink of bankruptcy, and California (fiscal gimmicks aside) over the brink. These are not refugees fleeing persecution – but they are soaking up the limited resources of the state and depleting the budget that should be used for the benefit of the tax-paying citizens. No wonder Arizonans were outraged, so outraged that illegal immigration is now a …misdemeanor in Arizona.
So if the law is already on the books, why the leftist outrage against Arizona ? Why the calls for a boycott ? What could possibly be a cogent argument against mere enforcement of a law designed to protect the country ?
One approach – typical of the left and other non-thinkers – has been to label the law’s advocates “racists,” as if that needs no elaboration. Calling someone a “racist” (or its equivalents, “sexist,” “bigot,” “homophobe,” xenophobe”) has become a substitute for argument and reasoned discourse. To be accused of “racism” is an accusation that needs no evidence and cannot be disproved, and even taints the accused for life regardless of its merits. Analogously, the tea-party movement is now regularly subjected to the “racism” accusation because it is composed mainly of white people. (Of course, since 97% of blacks voted for President Obama – certainly having nothing to do with his race – the pool of non-whites who will publicly oppose his policies is relatively miniscule, a point apparently “lost” on these critics.)
But each crime committed by an illegal – each mugging, each burglary, each drunk-driving, each homicide – further intensifies the strong feelings of the citizenry against them, and leaves good people with only three options: accept the status quo (non-enforcement by the federal government of its own laws), vigilante actions by individuals taking the law into their own hands, or passing a state law and empowering state law enforcement to crack down. They have chosen, rightly, the third option.
The courts have not helped by prohibiting the police, in many jurisdictions, from even inquiring as to someone’s immigration status – even after arrest – bizarre, unless one realizes the power of the immigration lobby and the pathetic fear of the politicians that they will lose votes. It is strange, no doubt, that those most affected by the rise of illegal immigration are those legal immigrants or unskilled workers whose jobs are being taken by the illegals. Some Hispanics have caught on to this; most blacks have yet to catch on. Illegal immigration harms their economic interests; but the politics of the matter and the cries of their racial-huckstering-leaders overwhelm their reason.
The second argument raised against the bill also employs a phrase that is today, unthinkingly, fighting words in America: “racial profiling.” Indeed, the bill seems to profile based on race, giving law enforcement the right to detain for questioning anyone if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are here illegally. Of course, how does such a “reasonable suspicion” arise – how does an illegal look ? Head down, furtive glances, dashing eyes, shifty feet ? Clearly, it targets Hispanics, and the law might not pass constitutional muster on that basis. But should it ?
I have long questioned the reasonableness of laws, policies, or court decisions that are designed – in the first instance – to protect the criminals and the guilty (personal note: I am a former criminal defense attorney). I am fully aware of the regulations on illegal stops, searches and seizures, the Exclusionary Rule, and all the other safeguards dictated by the Supreme Court (Mapp, Gideon, Miranda and all the others). But does it make any sense ? In a saner time, Justice Cardozo (and YU’s Law School was named for him!) said: “Should the criminal go free because the constable has blundered?” By all means, penalize police officers who are abusive and themselves criminals. But we all forfeit certain rights for the greater good (most New Jerseyans cannot carry a firearm in public, and it is nearly impossible to be licensed for it). I cannot drive at 100 mph despite my superior driving skills. Do I object to having cameras in public places, monitored at some central location for the protection of the citizenry – like the ACLU objects, again and again ? No ! Why would I – I am not committing any crimes. Only the criminals – and their lobbyists – would object.
If I was lurking in a strange neighborhood, looking like I didn’t belong, would I object to being asked for my identification ? Why would I ? I am probably just lost. Racial profiling was banned several years ago in New Jersey because minorities were being stopped disproportionately – and disproportionately found to be in possession of contraband ! So, what exactly is the objection ? Criminals usually fit a certain profile. We don’t object to invasive searches at the airport, even if they are unnecessary for most passengers. But we should object, for racial profiling works (of course the Israelis do it). Of course, airport security should be more focused on 25 year-olds named Ahmed than 75 year-old named Agnes; that is common sense. But common sense is in shorter and shorter supply. “Racial profiling” has become, illogically, malum in se, inherently evil. But if the majority of illegals in a certain geographical area are of a certain race or ethnicity, why shouldn’t they get greater scrutiny ? That makes sense, and if a small number of legal residents are mistakenly asked to show their drivers’ licenses for identification – so what ? It is a small inconvenience for the sake of a greater good. We are asked to show ID for a variety of innocuous acts – cashing a check, using a credit card, entering a government building – although, curiously but typically, not when it comes to voting – another hidden cost of the illegal invasion. We shouldn’t make a federal case – literally – out of a small inconvenience that ultimately benefits the inconvenienced.
Already in America, the majority of citizens have the votes that demand that the minority support them. The welfare state is becoming stifling and oppressive. The citizens of Arizona – a little heavy-handed, to be sure, but left no real option – have risen up, whites and some blacks and Hispanics, to try to salvage their polity. They are being savaged by people with an agenda that threatens our way of life, and being made pariahs. They have said “enough,” and they are right.
Jews have long benefited from America’s immigration policies – more than in any other country in the exile, and even considering the barriers erected in the 1920s and 1930s. We know what it is like to be an immigrant, to seek a better life on these shores, and so it is hard to oppose others who seek the same advantages. So we should support legal immigration – especially of those who come to give and not just to take – and join with what seems to be a majority of rational Americans in lending our support to the beleaguered citizens of Arizona. Buy Arizona Iced Tea (actually, a New York company). Build a fence, patrol it daily, arrest and deport all illegals.
Otherwise, undoubtedly, Muslim terrorists will learn the easy access to America from its porous southern border – if they haven’t already – and we will have only ourselves to blame.