I have to say, when I first heard about this immigration law from Arizona, I actually thought it was a joke. I mean, come on, what kind of state would pass such a law that practically legalizes racial profiling (then, upon recollection of our history, I realized how naive that sounded.)
After a lengthy discussion with my dad, I elected to read the damned thing. Afterall, I don't trust any of these crap pundits on TV, who spin things for their own purposes, and everyone is so enraged that I thought it best to determine what the bill says on my own.
And low and behold, it's truly a crap piece of legislation. Within the first page, it states that "A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES."
ummm, so what if that person is actually a legal citizen? Are we throwing all our rights to the wind? This screams "police state."
Then, the next statement: "EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN FEDERAL LAW, OFFICIALS OR AGENCIES OF THIS STATE AND COUNTIES, CITIES, TOWNS AND OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THIS STATE MAY NOT BE PROHIBITED OR IN ANY WAY BE RESTRICTED FROM SENDING, RECEIVING OR MAINTAINING INFORMATION RELATING TO THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL OR EXCHANGING THAT INFORMATION WITH ANY OTHER FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY FOR THE FOLLOWING OFFICIAL PURPOSES:
1. DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR ANY PUBLIC BENEFIT, SERVICE OR LICENSE PROVIDED BY ANY FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE.
2. VERIFYING ANY CLAIM OF RESIDENCE OR DOMICILE IF DETERMINATION OF RESIDENCE OR DOMICILE IS REQUIRED UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS STATE OR A JUDICIAL ORDER ISSUED PURSUANT TO A CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PROCEEDING IN THIS STATE.
3. CONFIRMING THE IDENTITY OF ANY PERSON WHO IS DETAINED.
4. IF THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN, DETERMINING WHETHER THE PERSON IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE FEDERAL REGISTRATION LAWS PRESCRIBED BY TITLE II, CHAPTER 7 OF THE FEDERAL IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT."
Isn't this the job of the federal government to be gathering and determining this information? Can states usurp government roles? I mean, federal departments were created for a reason, and if I have to pay for them from my taxes, I would prefer if we don't create a clusterfuck of red tape between state and federal bureaucracy. Just sayin'....
Then as you read further, there's alot of information about human trafficking. Which I am all about squashing, but that's such a seedy, underground practice. There's also alot of talk of punishing employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens. This is also not such a big deal to me, especially as licenses and permits are handed out more often on the state level than the national level.
Another big thing that comes out of this legislation is this: Illegal aliens will be fined for being in this country, and these fines will go towards Arizona's anti-gang enforcement. Now, this is a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, I see why they need to raise this money, and how they will use it to benefit their community. However, immigration should be handled by the federal government in order to ensure fair and standard interpretation of federally-mandated laws. So why should one state profit off of illegal aliens. Especially considering that many people escaping to our country are poor, without work, and probably can't afford these fines? So essentially Arizona is taking on the cost of imprisoning and jailing people, many of whom probably will never be able to pay those fines, and then handing them over to the government. There's something so disjointed about that.
Needless to say, I was contemplating a trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon next year. I'm not of Hispanic origin, but El Hombre is. And honestly, even the hint of worrying that someone might harass him for proof of residency because he "looks Hispanic" is enough to look to other national parks and monuments I also want to see.
I understand that border violence and drug wars are a very serious issue in that part of the country. But this bill seems to have been voted in on campaign politics and emotions. And that's sad to me, that politics and legislature is being created to account for that.