06 July 2010

U.S. vs. Arizona?

Against the advice of embattled Democratic representatives from Arizona, the Obama administration has announced its intention to sue the state for an alleged usurpation of federal authority. Arizona recently authorized state and local police to inquire into the citizenship status of suspects picked up for unrelated offenses. The federal government's contention, apparently, is that it's the federal government's business exclusively to conduct such inquiries and to make appropriate arrests.

The Arizonans presumably took their controversial step because they felt that the federal government was falling short of its responsibility in keeping illegal border crossers out of the state. It would seem to be an impractically narrow definition of federalism or federal supremacy to tell Arizonans that they're SOL if the federales can't solve the problems they assign to themselves. Perhaps the solution would be to have the state government call up the National Guard as auxiliaries to the Border Patrol, if that hasn't been tried already. I suspect, however, that jurisdiction isn't the real issue behind the impending suit. It's more likely that Hispanic voters, like most Americans, resent the idea of ever being an object of suspicion. Even though the Arizona legislation evolved from an earlier, more controversial version that seemed to authorize ethnic profiling even when there was no other evidence of lawbreaking, many legal Hispanic residents of Arizona may well think that it's racist of anyone to question their citizenship (or the legality of their residence), no matter what the circumstances. The national Democratic leadership is more likely simply solicitous toward Hispanics' wounded ethnic pride than interested in protecting actual illegal immigrants. But that's not how Republicans will portray Democratic motives. Republicans, in turn, are inclined to believe that Democrats want illegals to flood the country so they can be recruited for fraudulent voting, while many Americans regardless of party suspect that the "elite" want illegals here as cheap labor.

If the Justice Department presses this suit without offering Arizona a remedy appropriate to its situation as a border state, more people may be willing to believe conspiracy theories about Democratic or "elite" intentions. I can understand why some Arizona Democrats oppose this idea. Regardless of the suit's merits on constitutional grounds, it doesn't sound like good politics this year. Americans would be better off with a "left" party that took a stronger stand on border security, but many people on the "left" probably don't believe such a thing is possible. If that's their attitude, then they guarantee that illegal immigration will remain a "right-wing" issue.


hobbyfan said...

I suspect that the Arizona National Guard had been called in before hand, deemed unworthy, and thus the extreme measures that have been taken. Considering that there have been calls for the 2011 All-Star Game to be moved from Phoenix in retaliation for the new law, it seems that Gov. Brewer, aka the new Mayor of Simpleton, is not seeing the entire picture.

This is what you do. You upgrade the technology at the border patrol stations. They can access the records they need online instead of hassling every Joe & Jane Citizen that comes along.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it as a "right-wing" issue. I see it as a national issue that is being given racial status on both sides to hype it up. Those on the right obviously have a bone to pick with hispanics. Maybe it's their racist view point speaking for them, or they are too stupid to realize any given minority is likely to vote for the part(ies) that is "sympathetic" to their plight.

The real issue here is illegal aliens, period. That is, people who have managed to gain access to this country without proper, legitimate authorization. In these days of big drug cartels, organized crime syndicates, religious extremists, etc., can we really afford to simply continue to allow so many people to just waltz across our borders with impunity? That is the REAL issue here, not whether one group or another is being targeted for racial profiling.

Anonymous said...

A better idea (though I'm sure most people would disagree) is for every American citizen to have their dna registered in a national database. Anyone who seeks legal entrance to this country - temporary or permanent - must also agree to have their dna placed in the national database.

Then, anytime you stop someone, as a part of procedure, you compare their dna to the national database - if there is a match, they are legally here. It will also help in solving any number of crimes across the country.

I also think we should consider asking for a law that prohibits anyone who is not a registered voter from making any kind of political donation.