April 23, 2010
PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration bill in the country into law on Friday, aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants. The governor’s move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.
The law, which opponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in the country in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime. It would also give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have decried it as an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.
The political debate leading up to Governor Brewer’s decision, and Mr. Obama’s criticism of the law — presidents very rarely weigh in on state legislation — underscored the power of the immigration debate in states along the Mexican border. It presaged the polarizing arguments that await the president and Congress as they take up the issue nationally.
Governor Brewer said the new law strengthened Arizona:
"This law represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix. It protects all of us, every Arizona citizen and everyone here in our state lawfully and it does so while ensuring that the constitutional rights of all in Arizona remain solid."
The law would take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, meaning by August. Court challenges are expected immediately.
Sponsored by Russell Pearce, a state senator and a firebrand on immigration issues, SB 1070 has several provisions.
It requires police officers “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.
It also makes it a state crime, a misdemeanor, to not carry immigration papers. It also allows people to sue local governments or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.
The Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles called the authorities’ ability to demand documents Nazism. While police demands of documents are common on subways, highways and in public places in some countries, including France, Arizona is the first state to demand that immigrants meet federal requirements to carry identity documents legitimizing their presence on American soil.
Governor Brewer acknowledged critics’ concerns but sided with arguments from the law’s sponsors that it provides an indispensable tool for the police in a border state that is a leading magnet of illegal immigration.
She said that racial profiling would not be tolerated, adding, “We have to trust our law enforcement.”
Among other things, the Arizona measure is an extraordinary rebuke to Janet Napolitano, who had vetoed similar legislation repeatedly as a Democratic governor before she was appointed homeland security secretary by Mr. Obama. Her successor, Governor Brewer, is a Republican.
The unchecked flow of illegal aliens has seen Phoenix become the kidnapping capital of the nation, and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans, including the recent murder of Arizona rancher Rob Krentz.
An anonymous commenter on al-Reuters had this to say:
While the law is not perfect, the fact that a state with so much at stake in terms of protecting legal residents and visitors is willing to move beyond the federal stalemate needs to be applauded.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The ability to protect their legal citizens from the thousands of illegals that cross over the borders and either stay within the state or move on to virtually every state in the country is a priority for them. From a financial standpoint, this law will help to reduce everything from the education budget, the state supported healthcare services and the continued law enforcement costs behind battling the drug cartels and human trafficking organizations that have been holding turf wars in the streets and communities of the major cities within Arizona.
In reality, this should not be a state’s individual responsibility but rather a federal mandate that we enforce the existing laws on the books and establish a zero tolerance policy that keeps those who seek to avoid the US laws. But Arizona is now forced to go it alone and enact policies that are extremely sensitive and tip toe along the fine line of legal and ethical actions. Unfortunately, those who choose to knowingly break the US laws will pray on the kind hearted humanitarian nature of the general US public. What is even more arrogant are those who actually believe some ancient position that the borders should not exist for them because at one time they lived on this land and therefore they don’t need to follow this sovereign nation’s laws.
It is foolish to think that the police will have enough time to simply pick people randomly out of the crowd simply because they see a potential illegal immigrant. What most of the complainers forget is that they are required to carry a drivers license and proof of insurance while driving and if stopped, they need to present all of these as part of the initial discussion. If you walk along a public street and are not doing anything illegal, don’t expect to be stopped. Create an incident, do something potentially illegal and if someone calls the police expect to be questioned and asked for documentation. Don’t carry identification and regardless of your color, race or religion and you can expect to be subjected to further questioning or police action.
Who else is to blame? Try the Mexican government. Filled with corruption and a lack of real interest in seeing the more than 12 million returning to their country where they would seek public and social services, education and job opportunities. They are far more content to reap the benefits from the billion’s of dollars that make their way back across the border to the extended family members who remain behind.
From a business point of view, this is purely a one-sided deal. Mexicans can simply cross the border and create their own business opportunities, purchase land and become homeowners, yet a US company cannot enter Mexico autonomously and establish a similar opportunity. We must secure a Mexican partner and are often relegated to leasing land and homes for long term contracts that have no rights should their be a regime change.
Look north of our country’s border and to find work in Canada, you must first prove that only you can do the proposed job and that no Canadian is available to fill that position.
Both Democrats and Republicans carry an equal amount of blame because illegal immigration has supporters on both sides of the political isle. Some seek a legal path to naturalization for the sake of more votes. Others have large supporters who enjoy the benefits of a second class workforce that is forced to accept lower wages and poor working conditions in exchange for looking the other way.
For anyone reading this post, understand that I am for legal immigration where anyone who wishes to follow the prescribed steps to becoming a citizen should earn our praise and support. What I am not for is those who somehow feel entitled to what the US has to offer and somehow should not be subject to the existing immigration laws, regardless of how challenging they might be.
So now, boys and girls, it's ILLEGAL to be an illegal immigrant. Fascinating. Before you know it, it'll be illegal for illegals to work illegally in the sovereign state of Arizona. Wait, what? It always has been illegal?
So what's the difference?
ENFORCEMENT. Good job, Guv'nuh.