Much silliness has followed Arizona passing this law. Most of it, as usual,
stems from an unwillingness of our Media-Industrial Complex to do their
job, which is providing context and facts, that lead to actual
understanding. Here is the real deal:
First off, it has always been illegal to be in the United States illegally.
Currently, enforcing that law is the province of the Federal Government,
specifically that part of the Department of Homeland Security called the
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Like the INS before them, ICE is empowered to detain and arrest, with
probable cause, those who are here illegally, and to deport them. In this
respect NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Probable cause until now, and
probable cause/reasonable suspicion in the future. If police can't stop
anyone for anything ever, they can't do their jobs. The cry of "La Migra"
has long sparked fear among those who had cause to fear it, which is as it
Manifestly, ICE has not been doing its job in Arizona. Human and drug
trafficking, and associated crimes and costs--such as providing schooling,
medical care, and social services for people who have paid no
taxes--continue to rise.
What this law does is make it a STATE--not a Federal, but a
STATE--crime to be in the STATE illegally. This law does not affect
California or Texas, among others. Until now, Arizona Law Enforcement
Officers could pull an illegal over, get handed a Mexican Driver's License,
and only issue a citation for the actual moving violation and lack of a
valid ID, knowing full well it would likely never get paid.
Now, they can issue an additional misdemeanor citation for being here
illegally. This involves a $500 fine, and up to six months in jail. They have
no right to deport anyone, which remains an issue for the Federal
Government. They do remand them to Federal custody, though, which is
quite reasonable. Why would we release people we know to be here
No civil rights are violated. Police still have to have reason to believe some
other crime has been committed. Here is the actual text: "FOR ANY
LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR
AGENCY 21 OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER
POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS 22 STATE WHERE REASONABLE
SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
23 UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE
ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, 24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE
THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE 25 PERSON'S
IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT 26 PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION
Note that it says "for any lawful contact". They are not turning into
people whose SOLE concern is with illegal immigration. That remains with
ICE. And proof of citizenship is no different, for most of us, than
providing our drivers license. You cannot get a valid drivers license
without being in the country legally, either as a citizen, or authorized alien
with a visa or green card.
Further, this law punishes employers who knowingly (or with "reckess
disregard to citizenship status) hire illegal aliens. Up to ten is a
misdemeanor; more than ten is a felony. This obviously is intended to
diminish for everyone the potential advantages of working here illegally.
As things stood, even when ICE did their job, people would come right
back across, after costing taxpayers a lot of money on hearings and
paperwork. Now, money can be collected from people directly, and they
are hurt directly. This may well create a stronger disincentive than the
previous revolving door. Time will tell.
It should be added, too, that Mexicans already have a country. They are
not refugees. They are leaving a country which is not generating jobs and
wealth for one that is. It is not our fault that their system is not working,
nor is it our responsibility to fix their problems. They need to fix their
own problems, and it may well be that if America loses its glamor, more
calls will arise in Mexico to create a system that works. That may be why
the government of Mexico is in effect asking us to ignore our own laws: it
takes pressure off of them. The other possible reason, of course, is also
that a lot of cash flows from here to there.
It should also be noted in that regard that an illegal alien in Mexico--say a
Guatamalan or Honduran trying to sneak north--can be put in jail for
two years, so the hypocrisy there is deep and thick.
In sum: this law represents the increasingly uncommon victory of
common sense, and it is borderline criminal how abusive the media and
left wing have been to the truth on this issue.
If you'd like to read the actual bill, click on Lady Liberty. It's a bit clever.
Among other things, illegals are charged with trespassing.
Real Immigration Reform