Immigration law: U.S. sues Arizona

In an excellent move, the federal government has sued Arizona over its bad immigration law.

The lawsuit filed in Phoenix federal court on Tuesday sidestepped concerns about the potential for racial profiling and civil rights violations most often raised by immigration advocates. Experts said those are weaker arguments that don’t belong in a legal challenge brought by the White House to get the measure struck down.

Instead, the suit lays out why the government believes that immigration laws passed by Congress and enforced by a range of federal agencies must take precedence to any passed by a state Legislature.

This all seems so straight forward. The bill takes what is obviously federal authority and usurps it. Legally, it sounds like a very solid case. Arizona ought to lose this one.

What I find most objectionable about the law is that it so poorly defines what constitutes “a reasonable suspicion” that someone is in the country illegally. Does the person have shifty eyes? Is there really traumatic music playing in the background? In all the defenses the mooks like Sean Hannity and co put up about this not being racist, they never say what might be “reasonable” here.

The law itself actually offers some definition, such as hanging out where illegal immigrants tend to also hang out. Yeah, I get that. I mean, sure, the law is assuming the guilt of others as being illegal in the first place, but why not? Most brown people are illegal, so all assumptions are okay, right? Or how about speaking poor English? It’s completely fair to the new, legal immigrants to be forced to show their papers, right? Especially when there’s no criteria for what constitutes “poor English”. Again, this bill so poorly defines “a reasonable suspicion”.

The law also makes it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration documents.

I take back what I said earlier: this is probably the most objectionable piece of this awful law. It only serves to treat some citizens as second-class. Naturally born U.S. citizens are not required to carry their licenses or state ID’s with them at all times. Why make things so drastically different for other citizens? This is what happened after the Emancipation Proclamation: freed slaves were made to carry documentation proving their freedom since not all slaves had been freed. In other words, the legals and the illegals had to prove their full citizenship (“full” being relative for blacks at this time) based upon the color of their skin. The only difference with the law in Arizona is that it might cover a slight minority of whites – a minority which will not be targeted in enforcement.

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Racist state to violate U.S. constitution

Arizona wants to violate the 14th Amendment.

Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they’re on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona – and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution – to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene. He is a leading architect of the Arizona law that sparked outrage throughout the country: Senate Bill 1070, which allows law enforcement officers to ask about someone’s immigration status during a traffic stop, detainment or arrest if reasonable suspicion exists – things like poor English skills, acting nervous or avoiding eye contact during a traffic stop.

The most interesting thing about all this racially motivated legislation is that Arizona businesses get a lot of untaxed labor from many of its illegal immigrants. And isn’t that what Republicans want? They have a group of individuals who have exceedingly low taxes on them – they only pay sales tax and the like. It’s like a more extreme version of the New Hampshire tax code.

But, sure, keep hammering the issue. I’m okay with the Republican party causing more alienation to everyone who isn’t white.

Religious leaders assume respect

Assuming they deserve respect, religious leaders like Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony have taken to uniting in criticism of the new immigration law in Arizona.

Mahony is hardly the only religious leader outraged by Arizona’s approach to immigration, which requires police to ask for papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. The progressive Evangelical leader Jim Wallis has declared the state’s new law a social and racial sin. The president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society declared that by passing the law, Arizona has taken itself out of the mainstream of American life. And McMahon’s Catholic colleague the bishop of Tucson has suggested that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) join lawsuits challenging the law.

Granted they’re actually making some good points, but this is just another instance of religious leaders thinking they deserve respect. They’re presuming that because they lead gullible people who are hostile to and ignorant of science that they have some actual qualifications for speaking on these issues. If they want to keep yammering about this or that, fine, but do it in a way that doesn’t assume respect; maybe become a political pundit or something.

The Arizona immigration law

Maine doesn’t get a lot of immigrants. Some groups from Mexico come up in the summer to (mostly) pick blueberries, and a lot of people from Quebec find themselves working on the coast around the same time, but there just isn’t a big foreign population in Maine, even when considering migrant workers. That said, it’s obvious even from all the way up here that there are some serious issues with Arizona’s new immigration law.

Under the new Arizona law, immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. That is a significant escalation of the typical federal punishment for being here illegally – deportation.

1) People can just lie and claim to be native. Police can do nothing.
2) If another crime has been committed, however, and the person lies about being an immigrant (even a legal one), that is another charge that can be brought against the person. When natives lie to the police, however, the ramifications are significantly less.
3) Freed black people in the 1860’s had to carry documentation showing that they were no longer slaves.