Monday, April 26, 2010
Message From Arizona: Don't Tread On Me
Message From Arizona: Don't Tread On Me
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Does Barack Obama know what’s best for every American?
Does Washington know better than Arizona what’s good for Arizonans?
President Obama’s criticism last Friday of a piece of Arizona state legislation – criticism that came before the Governor had even made a decision about the bill – is further evidence that, for him, the needs and preferences of the individual states are rather irrelevant. Yet it is this very sort of arrogant disregard for the states that led to Arizona’s controversial new illegal immigration bill in the first place, and the President’s remarks serve to rub yet more salt into a wound that has been festering for years.
The new statute empowers local law enforcement agents to stop and check the immigration status of anybody they suspect of being in the country illegally. It is by far the toughest measure against illegal immigration ever to be proposed in the United States, and according to a Rasmussen poll from last Wednesday, April 21, it is supported by 70% of Arizona voters.
But the Rasmussen organization also discovered some other important details about the attitudes of Arizona voters, details that have been largely overlooked. Yes, 70% of Arizona voters support this tough new measure. Yet 53% of them also have concerns that in the process of enforcing the new law and identifying and deporting illegal immigrants, the civil rights of some U.S. citizens would end up being violated.
This is to say that, while a majority of Arizonans are concerned about civil rights violations being entailed in the law’s enforcement, an even bigger majority nonetheless view the law as necessary. Is this a contradiction, or some sort of breakdown in logic? No, not really. Not if you’ve lived in the Southwestern U.S. and you’ve watched this border state drama play-out over the past twenty years or so, as Washington politicians wring their hands, criticize the citizenry, and often just look the other way.
The polling data, strange as it may seem, articulate an important message. “We didn’t want it to come to this point,” Arizona is saying to Washington. “We want a free and open society, yes, but in order to achieve this we must remain a society where everyone plays by the rules. You have failed to uphold our nation’s rules, Washington, and as a result our free and open society is slipping away…”
This sense of society “slipping away” has been mounting for years in the American Southwest. It’s not just about the bankrupting of hospitals and public schools and public social services agencies by illegal immigrants and their children. And it’s not simply a matter of “racism,” as Obama partisans, ACORN enthusiasts, and “Chicano’s Por La Causa” members would suggest.
It’s about illegal immigrant “advocates” and “activists” flagrantly parading in American streets, “demanding” that America treat them better and more “fairly.” It’s about American police officers and private citizens being murdered in cold blood by illegal immigrants, and American politicians and law enforcement agencies being either unwilling, or unable, to do anything about it.
I experienced first-hand California’s “Proposition 187,” the 1994 statewide ballot initiative that sought to cut-off social services to illegal immigrants. In its early stages, the initiative barely got noticed among California’s citizenry.
But when illegal immigrants’ rights advocates began demonstrating in the streets, some literally “parking” big rig trucks on LA freeways and blocking rush-hour traffic for hours on end as a means of “protesting” the ballot measure, the citizens woke up, saw how they were being pushed around by those who weren’t authorized to be in their country in the first place, and then overwhelmingly passed the initiative at the ballot box in November that year.
I experienced first-hand Phoenix, Arizona’s illegal immigrants’ rights back in 2006 and 2007. I remember vividly the march past the offices of U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, and the demonstrators who stood outside his office shouting through a bullhorn “come out here and talk to us, Senator Kyl…you represent us, too..”
Since that time, no less than three Phoenix city police officers have been killed on-duty by illegal immigrants. Most recently, a rancher from the rural southern Arizona town of Douglas was murdered at the hands of an illegal immigrant. Robert Krentz had a reputation of being a “good Samaritan” to illegal immigrants stuck along the roadside while attempting to cross the desert. But that didn’t stop an illegal immigrant from gunning-down Krentz and robbing him, as he tended his own land back on March 30th.
Yes, a free and open society is slipping away, and the problem is not easily defined by Republican, Democrat, conservative and liberal categories. But the problem is very real. And Arizonans will have it addressed – one way, or another.
State Leadership Emerges in Arizona
Monday, April 26, 2010
With one bold action, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer staked a claim for states’ rights last Friday. By signing SB 1070, the landmark legislation authorizing Arizona’s law enforcement to actually enforce federal immigration laws, Governor Brewer took a long-overdue stand against the federal government’s unwillingness to enforce its own laws, and preventing states from protecting themselves against the tide of illegal immigration sapping states’ strained resources.
The main responsibility of an effective government is to protect its citizens from invasion; to keep them and their way of life safe. That’s exactly what Arizona has decided to do—protect its people. The state has witnessed an appalling level of crime resulting from the scourge of immigration violations, endangering the lives of Arizonans. Shockingly, Phoenix is now the number two kidnapping capital of the world, right behind Mexico.
State lawmakers finally recognized that those who break the first law of illegally entering the country aren’t going to abide by other important laws like driving with a license, paying taxes, or any of the other laws that foster social order. The battle over illegal immigration is fundamentally a war on civilization and social order. Southern border states in particular have suffered under the burden of illegal immigration and its consequent crime.
Texas Governor Rick Perry was the first governor to reopen the discussion on asserting the Constitution’s 10th Amendment right of states to regain federally-usurped powers. As the economy sags and Congress continually flouts the will of the people, plunging the nation into unconscionable debt, states are finally taking back their sovereignty. Arizona’s immigration law is simply the first modern test of this Constitutional principle.
The problems have gotten so bad in Arizona and neighboring states that it can only be likened to a foreign army crossing the border and invading the state—sanctioned by a mute, effete federal government. Polls show that over 70% of Arizona voters support the crackdown on illegal immigration. Since the federal government is unwilling to listen to the people, state government will.
Opponents of immigration reform have attempted to demonize Arizona’s action as a violation of civil rights. Apparently enforcing immigration laws is now itself a violation of the law. It should be clear that illegal aliens—foreigners who have violated United States law—have no rights but to be sent back to their country of origin. Some have even labeled Arizonans as “anti-immigration,” or opposing any foreigners from becoming citizens. But there is a distinct, obvious difference between criminal, illegal immigration and the lawful immigration that made America the most uniquely diverse yet unified country in the world.
While President Obama derides the new law as “misguided,” the truly misguided are Congress and the President—who have consistently disregarded their Constitutional mandate to defend the country from foreign invasion. In fact, the rampant crime, depleted state resources and resulting public anger wouldn’t have reached such untenable levels had the federal government taken action long ago. The political correctness that defends illegal immigration is not altruistic, as its proponents would have us believe. Instead, it tolerates and encourages criminal behavior that harms every citizen affected by violations of immigration law.
The Arizona immigration law may be an inconvenience for some legal citizens, but with the state in crisis, special circumstances merit state enforcement of federal immigration laws. No patriotic American—regardless of race—would balk at a police officer trying to stop crime in their streets, especially when simply asking for identification can be a deterrent. After the abominable acts of September 11th, Americans understood that new safety measures would be required to ensure safety. Showing identification to police officers who suspect they may be dealing with an illegal alien is not racial profiling. Illegal immigrant is not a race, it’s a criminal status. It’s criminal behavior that necessitates identity verification.
Showing identification is nothing new for the average American; it’s part of our daily life. Think of all the activities that require photo identification: airline travel, credit card or check purchases at the store, buying alcohol—and every time a citizens is pulled over for speeding. Unfortunately, airline hijacking, car theft, credit card fraud, forged checks and underage drinking, and now illegal immigration—all criminal behavior—require the everyday verification of one’s identity.
There is an important balance to find in protecting our freedom while maintaining societal order. Allowing police officers to ask for identification from suspected criminals does not tip the scales against freedom. Where there are cases of police abusing their authority, it should be dealt with swiftly and judiciously, as in any other violation of public trust. Opponents of the Arizona law will be quick to publicize such cases and try to make them national, sensational headlines. Every Arizona police officer will now be under intense scrutiny for his or her execution of their duties.
Neighboring states have an interest in joining with Arizona in defending their borders. As illegal aliens see the law enforced, they will inevitably seek refuge in jurisdictions where laws are not enforced. A flood of illegal immigrants into California would only increase the state’s growing $20 billion deficit. As long as other states continue to aid and abet the criminal activity of violating immigration laws, every taxpayer will be forced to pay for it.
For federal taxpayers throughout the country subsidizing illegal immigration, it would be more productive to send their tax dollars to Arizona, where at least they know their taxes are being spent on enforcing immigration laws, fighting crime, and defending the border.
Posted by Brett at 10:47 AM