Friday, April 23, 2010

What In The World Is Going On In Arizona?

Is Arizona trying to secede? It looks like they are doing just about everything they can to send that message.

Their symbolic declaration of war will be Governor Jan Brewer signing new immigration legislation into law that would basically legalize racial profiling and discrimination, by wiping out the 4th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as a generation worth of civil rights laws. Of course it wouldn't wipe out the Constitution...but it would basically mean that Arizona would ignore Federal laws and precedent. If the law in Arizona is allowed to stand...then other States could do the same....undermining the Federal Government.

The initiative would require local law enforcement (who are busy enough...and understaffed enough as is) to enforce Federal immigration seeking out those who are potentially in the U.S. illegally. It's essentially a "show us your papers" law. Those who can't prove citizenship would presumably have to face further questioning.... further investigation and detention.

Just imagine for a minute that you are an Hispanic in Arizona...and one day you decide to go for a walk or you want to take your dog to the park a block away. You may decide that you don't want to take your wallet because you aren't going to the store & won't need money...and you are coming right back. For the sake of comfort, you just don't need your wallet or purse. While in the park... the police decide to do what is commonly known as a 'pedestrian check' because you 'fit the profile'. They already suspect something is wrong...because they have approached you. Now when they ask you for your papers and you tell them that you don't have any ID with you, you can be detained and questioned...and you will even be subject to arrest if your story doesn't fly. Better not have a heavy Spanish accent. Is this America? Are Hispanics (or any other group) expected to just get used to being stopped and frisked? Police can check your name and verify drivers licenses without the actual ID.... but what about those legal residents and citizens from out of State? What about legitimate residents who don't happen to drive and don't have a State issued ID card? There are too many variables that the law doesn't seem to address. You can't subject one group to this kind of scrutiny... it just wouldn't work.

It seems as though this Country sinks a little deeper into the crazy quicksand with each passing day. I had to pinch myself when I heard this story.

Of course as soon as this nonsense is signed into law (if the Governor agrees with the nutters and in fact signs it) it would face a Federal injunction within hours. I almost want to see the law go into effect...because I want the nutters to see just how crazy they are. It would be a good lesson for them about the Constitution and how the Country is supposed to work. I want them to see just how fast this law would be knocked down by the Federal Courts.

I'm all for the enforcement of immigration laws. However, I think that the States and the Federal government should know their roles. There has to be a better way to deal with the issue without endangering Constitutional protections for Hispanic citizens. This law was a simple-minded approach to a delicate and sometimes complex problem. I'm pretty sure that if this legislation becomes law, it won't last for more than a few days (if that). It would take a Hell of a loophole for it to survive. From what I have read and heard about the legislation so far, it wouldn't last more than a couple of days. Its intent doesn't seem to be practical. Instead, it seems to be intended as a symbolic gesture designed to send a message to the Obama Administration.

One problem that this might create is a situation where Obama feels the need to tackle immigration reform this year. This is exactly what the Republicans want...and it may be part of their whole strategy. If Obama takes the bait, it could spell big trouble for Democrats. This is exactly the kind of fight that the Republicans would want going into the midterms. The majority of Americans support tougher enforcement of immigration laws....and Republicans have already framed immigration reform as an attempt to give undocumented individuals amnesty and a free pass. It's a losing battle for Democrats.

Obama should steer clear of any major overhaul of immigration, at least in his first term. If he gets a second term... then this might be an issue that he could try to tackle. This is my view...not because I think it is better to play politics.... but because after looking at the issue it seems clear to me that comprehensive "immigration reform" simply isn't doable. It's not a realistic goal, at least not in the current political and social environment. Why should President Obama waste energy and what little political capital he has left on something that isn't achievable, especially when there are so many other things that the Country needs to deal with? It makes no sense. It is not the kind of battle that he can fight and win...especially not in a Country that is so politically and racially polarized (thanks to the Republican Party and its Tea Party wing). This issue could derail just about everything else in Obama's agenda if he decides to push for any major reforms. The fight over immigration would be bigger than the fight over Health care - exponentially bigger. Do we really want to go back to that? This is exactly why I don't believe that Democrats in the Congress will touch it. The issue is too radioactive. But then again...the Dems in Congress aren't exactly the brightest people in world. They have done incredibly stupid things before.

A Republican - George W. Bush - tried this a few years ago...and failed miserably after his ideas were flatly rejected by his own party. What in the Hell makes anyone think that comprehensive immigration reform is achievable for Obama? Sure....he managed to get a watered down Health Care Bill passed...but Health Care Reform was not nearly as partisan an issue as immigration is. On Health Care...the Country was and is basically split down the middle. On the issue of immigration... Republicans are much more energized...and emotional, and support for tougher enforcement leans heavily in favor of the Conservative position...although this is due, in part, to a lack of understanding about the problems that immigration reform could fix.

The nutters didn't stop with just this immigration initiative. They also have legislation that would require proof of citizenship for any Presidential candidate. Those who don't provide proof of citizenship won't be put on the State ballot. Of course this is aimed at President Obama.

Sometime over the next few days we will know if Governor Jan Brewer will sign this legislation into law.


rikyrah said...

I just came to post about this.

bottom line?

if you ain't WHITE, get ready to carry' your papers'.

Plain and simple.

And NOBODY will convince me that only Latinos will be profiled under this.

Black folks, they'ze coming for you TOO.

Roderick said...

The more Obama makes boneheaded political decisions like calling out the AZ imigration bill the more he convinces me that he's a corporate toady.

The Democrats are just recovering politically from health care reform and now he wants to wade into the immigration debate with the unemployment rate at almost 10% and not any strong support from any group besides Latinos?

Wow. Just wow!!!