[…] … Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 a.m. – A law Arizona can live with, by George Will
The section above is the closing salvo on George Will’s column today, which sums up the right’s reaction to the Arizona law that makes breathing while brown in that state a perilous situation.
Equally bizarre is Will’s assessment that Gov. Jan Brewer acted as only she could, because the federal government has not moved forward on comprehensive immigration reform, a whine that would better be addressed to Republicans, since it’s mostly the right who can’t come to grips with striking at the heart of the immigration issue, which comes down to corporate policing of employees. As for criminals who harass and threaten citizens, at 3:00 a.m. in your back yard or elsewhere, we’ve got laws already on the books to take care of them, whether they’re white, black or brown. It’s now clear, however, that when it comes to immigration reform Republicans have only one answer that boils down to stoppin’ ’em, pattin’ ’em down, and shippin’ ’em off.
Linda Greenhouse takes on the law, beyond Will’s stingy 4th and 14th Amendments argument:
[…] The city of Hazleton, Pa., passed a law that made it a crime for a landlord to rent an apartment to an undocumented immigrant. A federal district judge struck down the law on the ground that immigration is the business of the federal government, not of Hazleton, Pa.
Indeed, federal pre-emption would appear to be the most promising route for attacking the Arizona law. Supreme Court precedents make clear that immigration is a federal matter and that the Constitution does not authorize the states to conduct their own foreign policies.
Would the Obama Justice Dept even throw down on federal pre-emption? Interesting question, especially in a contentious election year.
John Boehner goes pro-states rights, asking everyone to respect Arizona’s right to pass their own immigration law. Someone should email him Greenhouse’s post.
But it’s Byron York who let’s the wingnut out of the bag. While scoffing at old movie scenarios, York goes on to invoke the Golden Era of cinema as a time that began our federal policy on foreigners, which hasn’t changed.
Still, critics worry the law would force some people to carry their papers, just like in an old movie. The fact is, since the 1940s, federal law has required non-citizens in this country to carry, on their person, the documentation proving they are here legally — green card, work visa, etc. That hasn’t changed.
But getting back to George Will, he also uses a statement of Gov. Brewer thinking it comes remotely close to passing the laugh test when stacked up against reality: “We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent or social status.” Rambling on:
It is passing strange for federal officials, including the president, to accuse Arizona of irresponsibility while the federal government is refusing to fulfill its responsibility to control the nation’s borders. Such control is an essential attribute of national sovereignty. […] But Arizona’s statute is not presumptively unconstitutional merely because it says that police officers are required to try to make “a reasonable attempt” to determine the status of a person “where reasonable suspicion exists” that the person is here illegally. The fact that the meaning of “reasonable” will not be obvious in many contexts does not make the law obviously too vague to stand. […]
I’ll leave you to decipher Marco Rubio.
The problems along the Mexico border are real. The drug gangs frighteningly oppressive in border states, which obviously precipitated the Arizona law. Shorter: people are scared, feeling invaded, their lives threatened. Arizona reached a tipping point and reacted. The law is the wrong in so many ways. But no one should be surprised it finally came to this.
It’s what happens when economics turns Mexico into the new Colombia.