More On The Arizona Immigration Thing

First, a little music to set the tone:

Next, we’ve got this:

Many of the cars that once stopped in the Home Depot parking lot to pick up day laborers to hang drywall or do landscaping now just drive on by.

Arizona’s sweeping immigration bill allows police to arrest illegal immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them. It won’t take effect until summer but it is already having an effect on the state’s underground economy.

“Nobody wants to pick us up,” Julio Loyola Diaz says in Spanish as he and dozens of other men wait under the shade of palo verde trees and lean against a low brick wall outside the east Phoenix home improvement store.

Many day laborers like Diaz say they will leave Arizona because of the law, which also makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and directs police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.

As Dan Riehl asks, “Is there a punch line in here I’m missing?” The law was designed to drive away illegals, and here it is driving away illegals. How often does a law actually do what it’s intended to do?

Meanwhile, Neil Stevens at Redstate points out just how stupid most of the Beltway screaming over the Arizona law actually is:

You really think that police would or could see a full quarter-to-third of the population and honestly think that just looking like them would cause a reasonable suspicion of illegal immigration status? Do you east coasters think that we, living in states where government-defined “minorities” are the majority (or quickly becoming so) of the population, stare at everyone who looks “hispanic” and suspect something?

That’s just not how life is out here. Those names, those accents, those complexions are all perfectly normal to have out here. People with Mexican and other latin American heritage don’t stand out! So yes, when we say that we have much better and reasonable ways to suspect illegals, we mean it.

Seriously. If the Arizona cops thought they had to stop one out of four people, the law would stop being enforced in a week. Just think, people, before you accuse.

Meantime, CBS News reports that Texas is looking to mirror the Arizona law. So is Georgia, Utah, Ohio and Maryland. Guess some state legislators have taken a look at some polls and recognized, “Hey, people actually want this!”

In Arizona, the Arizona Republic’s Robert Robb, an opponent of the legislation, blasts Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon and others for hyperbolic and untrue statements overselling what the law actually says. One of the authors of the bill, law professor Kris Kobach of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, publishes a summary of what’s actually in it in the New York Times today:

Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:

It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers … you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.

“Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.

The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply. In fact, the Arizona law actually reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.

It is unfair to demand that people carry a driver’s license. Arizona’s law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driver’s license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country.

State governments aren’t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. That’s why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

But the Left won’t be deterred. Raul Grijalva, the Democrat Congressman who represents that state’s 7th District, has joined calls for a boycott of his own state. One wonders, given that the Arizona law has a 70 percent favorability rating among locals there, how well Grijalva’s move will go over. And New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who isn’t exactly a lefty but often plays one on TV, said the law represents “national suicide” and then offered this:

“This is not good for the country. I don’t agree with it,” he said. “We love immigrants here.”

Apparently Bloomberg doesn’t get the distinction between “immigrants” and “illegal aliens.”

Finally, this nugget: A bi-partisan group in Congress is now calling for a National Guard deployment to the border. While that might be a good idea, it’s amazing to think it Nazism to use local police to enforce immigration laws by asking for identification but it’s perfectly acceptable to militarize the border. A supreme lack of cogent thinking appears afoot. If you want proof, consider that President Obama and his Congressional minions can’t even decide whether to bring up immigration legislation at this point.

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