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Reaction to the Arizona Immigration Law – What’s the real issue here?

Note: I do not agree with racial profiling, or profiling of any type.

Originally, I wrote a piece about Arizona’s Immigration Law back when it first hit the news. But something told me to wait, so I deleted it. I wanted to wait and see the full extent of the reaction spectrum before I weighed in on this issue. And I’m glad that I did.

I’ll just put it out there: I think that the law is a great idea in theory, and I hope that it’s something that, in the future, can be enforced all over the country. I read the entire text of the law, and I’m not quite sure what people are upset about. Well, I do know what they’re upset about, and I hope that there are things that done to curb potential racial profiling. If not, this law would pretty much fail.

Either way, I think that the Immigration Law does bring some interesting ideas to the table. For example, being an illegal alien…yeah, that’s illegal now. Go fig, huh? Or harboring an illegal alien aka a criminal….yeah, that’s illegal now too. Hiring an illegal immigrant, or working without legal US citizenship status – that can get you in trouble as well.

I look at this law, and I look at people’s reactions, and I’m confused. Let’s change “illegal alien” or “immigrant” to “people with a weapon”. Ok. So, if you’re carrying a weapon, and you’re caught, you go to jail, right? And if you are caught harboring someone with a weapon, you can get in trouble. So what’s the difference? Both are crimes. I mean, the term is “illegal alien”. Why are we ignoring logic here?

Yes, they are people, but so are drug dealers. If you’re caught standing on a corner with some drugs, you’re going to at least get a misdemeanor, because you’re breaking the law. If you’re caught standing on a corner in a country that you are not legally supposed to be in, shouldn’t you be punished by the law as well? Shoot, it’s at least trespassing, and people are legally reprimanded for trespassing all the time.

So why is this such a big deal? Is it because there are so many illegal and legal Hispanic and Latino people in the United States who are willing to fight for their “rights”? I wonder if a bunch of marijuana dealers and their families got together and protested about their plight and being constantly harassed by the police for something that they didn’t feel was wrong just because they wanted equal rights as businessmen, would we feel bad for them and ignore basic principles of law for them too? Hmmmmm….

I read an article in the Huffington Post from Jim Wallis, where he discussed his reaction to the law. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

Enforcement without compassion is immoral. Enforcement that breaks up families is unacceptable.

I laughed out loud when I read that. No, seriously, I did. In the middle of my office. What he’s saying here is true, but why is it that this idea of compassionate enforcement is only requested for Hispanic and Latino people who are breaking the law to be here anyway? What about the families of African American and Caucasian families that are broken up because of non-compassionate legal enforcement? The people who are sitting behind bars now for something they didn’t do, just for being Black in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I’m more disappointed than upset. I’m disappointed that we as a nation have decided to rally around a group of people who illegally came into this country and are now upset that they are going to have to pay for the crime that they committed in coming here. Really? Does that really make sense?

I’ll end with this: What are we really fighting for here? If it’s against racial profiling, that’s one thing. It’s a little premature to fight about something that hasn’t happened yet, but I can see the fear. But if we’re really just fighting for the rights of criminals and their families, then let’s look at more than just illegal aliens and take a gander at how we’re treating all criminals of all races and crimes.



3 thoughts on “Reaction to the Arizona Immigration Law – What’s the real issue here?

  1. Amen.

    I think the reason this is such a big deal is because there are a lot of people who are scared that their friends and families are going to have to go back to Mexico, so they’re causing a big fuss about this, saying that it’s unfair just because they want to protect their families. The protests defy logic, though. I keep seeing protestor signs from illegals that say that we “owe” them. They feel entitled to something. I don’t think that they realize that as lawbreakers they’re entitled to be fined, locked up, or deported, though.

    Posted by rightwingwarrior | May 4, 2010, 6:57 pm
  2. Hm, word. You pose many questions, but there are some points in your stance that are kinda tangled. I’m finna get at those knots

    You use the words illegal and criminal interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Lots of things are illegal, but not considered criminal. Take for instance, smoking tobacco as a minor: its prohibited by law but not criminal by nature. There are fines, but you won’t be arrested in all likely cases. Having an unregistered firearm on your person? That ish is criminal. Its complicated instance to instance, state-to-state, but it’s important to this issue because it dictates how cops, courts, and guh’ments handle it. Comparing illegal immigration in Arizona (only recently made criminal) to whatever other act commonly held to be criminal sets up a false premise about why its no different (when it was…like two weeks ago) and distracts from some of the other issues, IMHO.

    But, the flaw you shouted out at first is probably whats causing the most uproar:
    “I hope that there are things that done to curb potential racial profiling”

    The language law explicitly mandates that cops must question anyone they think may be illegal. Not a single politician, judge, law enforcement official could verbally describe how the hell they were going to order cops in the entire state of Arizona to do this without racial profiling. Think of it this way: Fugitive slaves law made it criminal to be a runaway slave, but if you bought your freedom, you were good, right? Wrong, if you left your papers at the crib and got caught slippin, back to the fields you went [(c) Roots]. And what’s worse, it didn’t deter slaves from running away! So not only was it grimey, but it was a shitty law because it didn’t work!

    There’s tons of other reasons why the law itself defies logic, but I’m not gonna blog-jack you [(c) MillsyF]. I posted on this on tyd.com, check it out if you’re interested.

    Also, I seen you on the platform at JFK the other week. You were prolly tweeting cuz you didn’t see me wave haha

    Posted by MillsyF | May 4, 2010, 7:22 pm
  3. I think you did a really, really nice job at expressing your opinion here (as usual) and i appreciated some clean cut statements besides what i hear from my left wing and right wing friends (who basically quote their own idols on things and it makes me upset sometimes).

    that said, in regards to Chris’ comment too–i think the comment: “The language law explicitly mandates that cops must question anyone they think may be illegal.”

    This “must question” happens after pulling someone over for something. I know we all know this, and that just because the law states that contact should be made only lawfully, it can still be twisted up–but i think this is where people are getting mixed up and overly excited.

    There isn’t as much new stuff in this law as I originally thought. Police are already pulling people over when (and it should be ONLY when) they are doing things they shouldn’t.

    Asking for papers then is different than asking for papers whenever. So “The language law explicitly mandates that cops must question anyone they think may be illegal”should be followed by: “if lawful contact was already made for some other reason”.

    It’s late–hope this makes sense.
    I think with most of my friends the issue is, “Should immigrants who are here illegally be allowed to stay?” That’s what it always really comes down to–and people believe all sorts of stuff there.

    Posted by rebeccalee | May 5, 2010, 11:34 pm

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