Posted by: Debby Durkee | April 27, 2010

Arizona, Obama and immigration.

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Arizona, Obama and immigration.

When the federal government abdicates its responsibilities and no longer protects its borders and therefore its citizens, what rights do states have? Well, there’s a lot of talk about the law Arizona has recently passed and whether it is legal or not and whether it is a travesty.  Here’s how the president reacted:

Obama called the Arizona bill “misguided” and instructed the Justice Department to examine it to see if it’s legal. He also said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level – or leave the door open to “irresponsibility by others.”

“That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Read more here:

Well, it seems the law was actually carefully and thoughtfully written. Three writers pick up different pieces of this: Byron York, Rich Lowry and Cal Thomas. Much more here than what’s been focused on in the mainstream media.

AZ immigration law carefully written.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner has actually read Arizona’s new immigration law. Guess what? It’s a very thoughtful, carefully-written law that tries to rein in what is an increasingly violent illegal immigrant community. York says it’s the criticism that’s over the top, not the actual law.

Has anyone actually read the law? Contrary to the talk, it is a reasonable, limited, carefully-crafted measure designed to help law enforcement deal with a serious problem in Arizona. Its authors anticipated criticism and went to great lengths to make sure it is constitutional and will hold up in court. It is the criticism of the law that is over the top, not the law itself.

The law requires police to check with federal authorities on a person’s immigration status, if officers have stopped that person for some legitimate reason and come to suspect that he or she might be in the U.S. illegally. The heart of the law is this provision: “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…”

Critics have focused on the term “reasonable suspicion” to suggest that the law would give police the power to pick anyone out of a crowd for any reason and force them to prove they are in the U.S. legally. Some foresee mass civil rights violations targeting Hispanics.

What fewer people have noticed is the phrase “lawful contact,” which defines what must be going on before police even think about checking immigration status. “That means the officer is already engaged in some detention of an individual because he’s violated some other law,” says Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri Kansas City Law School professor who helped draft the measure. “The most likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop.”

As far as “reasonable suspicion” is concerned, there is a great deal of case law dealing with the idea, but in immigration matters, it means a combination of circumstances that, taken together, cause the officer to suspect lawbreaking. It’s not race — Arizona’s new law specifically says race and ethnicity cannot be the sole factors in determining a reasonable suspicion.  Snip –

…The law clearly says that if someone produces a valid Arizona driver’s license, or other state-issued identification, they are presumed to be here legally. There’s no reasonable suspicion.

Is having to produce a driver’s license too burdensome? These days, natural-born U.S. citizens, and everybody else, too, are required to show a driver’s license to get on an airplane, to check into a hotel, even to purchase some over-the-counter allergy medicines. If it’s a burden, it’s a burden on everyone.

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.

So, surprise, surprise, Arizona’s law just enables their police to police their own towns and cities in order to protect the residents of their state. They are doing the job the federal government won’t do. Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Feds fail on immigration.

Rich Lowry says the federal government has failed the border states, and now the states have to take action on their own. This is from

Once millions of illegal aliens are in the country, there’s no neat way to get them back out. It’s much better to endeavor to stop them at the southern border, something Washington still refuses to do. During the last eruption of the national immigration debate, Congress passed a law mandating a fence along the border. The Bush administration bid it down to a high-tech “virtual fence.” And the Obama administration has ceased constructing even that. If the federal government had been in charge of building the Great Wall, it wouldn’t have been great or a wall.

It used to be that San Diego and El Paso accounted for most illegal entries. As the border became more secure at those points, Arizona became the hub. The state has an estimated 460,000 illegal aliens out of a population of 6.6 million. They impose countless millions of dollars in schooling, health-care, and incarceration costs, more than $1 billion a year in one estimate. Phoenix has become a kind of lawless Ellis Island, with smugglers holding migrants in “stash houses” there until they can be moved out into the rest of the country.

Arizonians needn’t, and shouldn’t, tolerate this. Critics accuse the state of unconstitutionally devising its own immigration policy. If it had unilaterally declared its border open to the poor, violence-plagued country to its south, this charge might have had force. Instead, Arizona seeks only to enforce the nominal immigration policy of the United States. Perhaps the federal government should try it sometime.

If Obama and company try to keep the wild westerners of Arizona from protecting themselves, they might just get more than they bargained for. This might be the impetus for a clash between state’s rights and the federal government. We’ll just have to wait and see how this one shakes out.

Without the law, do we have a country?

Cal Thomas rightly says that there is more at stake in the immigration debate than so-called “human rights” as the Democrats keep arguing. Preservation of the law itself is at stake. If we make a mockery of the law, then what type of country do we have? Without law don’t we just have a banana republic? And, if a nation will not protect its borders, it really is no longer a nation is it? This is from

Let’s get something straight. The failure to protect America’s southern border has been a bipartisan effort. Democrats want more illegal immigrants in the country because they are a potential source of votes they hope will contribute to a permanent Democratic majority. Republicans and their donors want more illegal immigrants in America because they are a source of cheap labor. Once you understand this, you can ignore much of the talk about “human rights.”

If a state, or nation, has laws it will not enforce for political reasons, it mocks both the law and politics, to say nothing of the cultural order. If the language of laws has no meaning other than what lawmakers assign to them after a law is enacted, it is proof that we have arrived in a kind of legal “Wonderland” in which Alice is told by Humpty Dumpty, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” To which Alice responds, “The question is … whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Politicians constantly try.

So what does the “illegal” in illegal immigration mean? For that matter, what does the less judgmental and legally vacuous “undocumented alien” mean? If something is illegal, according to, it is “forbidden by law or statute.” If one is “undocumented” that person lacks “the needed documents, as for permission to live or work in a foreign country.” Sociological and political considerations notwithstanding, the law should be the law and its requirements ought to be universally adhered to, or punishment imposed for their violation.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, as of 2007, there are about 475,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona straining an already overburdened economy. Taxpaying citizens must underwrite the cost of schooling for their children, as well as visits to emergency rooms. In California, several hospitals have had to close because they could no longer afford to give free care to noncitizens. Gangs in Arizona operate under the command of drug lords in Mexico. This and other criminal activity threaten the peace and security of Arizonans and potentially all American citizens. Is this something that must be endured for the sake of “human rights groups” and “immigration rights groups,” or is it long past time to slow the flow?

The Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer have correctly chosen to slow the flow. They realize a state and a nation unwilling to protect their borders cannot hope to preserve qualities that have made this country what it is but won’t be for much longer if we permit this illegal invasion to continue.

This was another great point much larger than the issues most of the media focus on. Please read all of Cal Thomas here:


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