Arizona

The Left is in a snit about the new Arizona law that allows law enforcement personnel to enforce existing immigration law. Why this law is thought to be burdensome is beyond me. Byron York observes:

We are instead confronted routinely by people of all stripes asking to see our driver’s license. When we board an airplane, we are asked to produce a government-issued photo ID, usually a driver’s license. When we make some credit- or debit-card purchases in department stores, we are asked to produce a driver’s license. When we enter many office buildings, both private and government, security guards often ask us to produce a driver’s license. When we go to doctors’ offices and hospitals, we are asked to produce a driver’s license. When we check into hotels, we are asked to produce a driver’s license. When we purchase some over-the-counter drugs, we are asked to produce a driver’s license. If we go to a bar or nightclub, anyone who looks at all young is asked to produce a driver’s license. And needless to say, if we have any encounter with police or other authorities, we are asked to produce a driver’s license….

In addition to the situations requiring a driver’s license, some people might not know that since the 1940s, federal law has required non-citizens who are in the United States permanently to carry on their person, at all times, the official documents proving that they are here legally — green card, work visa, etc. That has been the law for 70 years, and the new Arizona law does not change it.

Victor Davis Hanson points out the absurdity of the Left’s stance:

One either wishes or does not wish existing law to be enforced. If the answer is no, and citizens can pick and chose which laws they would like to obey, in theory why should we have to pay taxes or respect the speed limit? Note that liberal Democrats do not suggest that we overturn immigration law and de jure open the border — only that we continue to do that de facto. Confusion between legal and illegal immigration is essential for the open borders argument, since  a proper distinction between the two makes the present policy  indefensible—especially since it discriminates against those waiting in line to come to America legally (e.g., somehow our attention is turned to the illegal alien’s plight and not the burdensome paperwork and government obstacles that the dutiful legal immigrant must face).

This suggests a criterion for any adequate immigration policy: It should give preference to those who obey the law, and certainly should not give preference to those who break it.

A second criterion is that an adequate immigration policy should not put the United States and its citizens at significant risk:

Mexico is now more violent than Iraq. The unrest is spilling across the borders. The old shrill argument that criminals, drug smugglers, and violence in general are spreading into the American southwest from Mexico is not longer quite so shrill.

A third is that immigration policy should be even-handed in its treatment of applicants from a variety of parts of the globe, so long as they pose no security risk to the United States, and in fact grant preference to those who are likely to make positive contributions to the U.S. The Left’s interest in the issue is primarily one of gaining political advantage:

On the political side, Democrats clearly welcome new voting constituents. Illegal aliens becoming citizens, at least for a generation or so, translates into more entitlements and a larger government to administer.  (Note how there is not a liberal outcry that we do not let in enough computer programers from India, small businessmen from France and Germany, or doctors from Korea).  Then there is the gerrymandering of the American Southwest to reflect new demographic realities, and the pipe-dream of a salad bowl of unassimilated peoples in need of a paternalistic liberal technocratic governing class — all that apparently is worth the firestorm of trying to ram through something so unpopular as “comprehensive” reform.

Glenn Reynolds observes:

Yes, the real scandal isn’t how Arizona is treating illegals, it’s how the Federal government treats people who try to legally immigrate.

5 thoughts on “Arizona

  1. May I add that Real Scandal, part (b) is how the reality of rights infringement, civil and otherwise, of law abiding citizens (and non-citizens) is routinely ignored and relegated to secondary (or lower) consideration when the so-called civil rights of not-law-abiding non-citizens are potentially threatened.

  2. It was the same thing with the Patriot Act, Gitmo, etc. The potential threat to civil liberties of alleged terrorists trumps, in the view of the Left, actual threats of terror attacks against innocent civilians.

    Interesting that the “fierce moral urgency” of changing these policies is gone now that a Democrat is in the White House.

  3. Yes, recently I had to show my “papers” to get some hockey tickets at the “Will Call” window – numbered comfirmation receipt and driver license.

    To rent some ski equipment – driver license, and credit card.

    To renew library card – driver license and a recent utility bill.

    Renewing auto license, and auto inspections. The list is endless.

    As Laura Ingraham said, we are confusing mild inconveniences with civil rights violations.

  4. Exactly. I just had to show my driver’s license to the employee at the Apple store to pick up my replacement keyboard.

    The Arizona law requires officers to ask for identification when they pull someone over for a traffic stop–surely they do that already–and, if the person produces a valid driver’s license, that’s that. If they can’t produce a license, the officer is to ask for other identification documents that show legal residence. It startles me to think that’s not already common practice.

  5. Actually, all naturalized citizens and legal residents are required to carry proof that they are legal. I don’t get how you can have one group that is required by FEDERAL LAW to carry proof of immigration status, but give those who are flouting the law a free pass. The whole business of illegal immigration appears to be about being more punitive to the law-abiders than to the scofflaws.

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