Yeah, I’m still talking about SB1070

So the big thing that happened the other day was that Felipe Calderon, the President of Mexico, was invited into a joint session of Congress to speak, where he used his pulpit to echo the same empty objections of Arizona’s law, which earned him a standing ovation:

Note that this coward has not once spoken to Gov. Brewer. Note that Brewer has tried to talk to Calderon, as well as various members of the Obama administration, and they refuse to talk to her.

Note that this is a foreign diplomat coming in and criticizing our policies, and then having his side taken by the Speaker of the House and Vice President. Let me repeat that: these leaders of our country publicly took the side of another country against the State of Arizona.

As unsurprising as it is at this point that Obama holds these offensive and naive opinions, it’s shocking and unprecedented for the President or Vice President to openly take sides against the United States. Never before have we had officials of China and Mexico come to the US, speak out in criticism of us, and had our President agree.

The audacity is appalling. And now, following the trend of shameless governance, the head of ICE has stated they’ll simply ignore the referrals made by the state of Arizona. These people have apparently never read the laws they’re sworn to defend, or their oaths to defend them for that matter. It’s disgusting.

However, amongst the insanity comes this gem, perhaps the most poignant and intelligent political thought to come out of California since the days of Ronald Reagan:

As brilliant as this is, I’m having trouble finding any hope for a restoration of sanity over this (or any other) issue.

Oh, this is priceless.

Amidst the boycotts of Arizona being organized throughout California, some people are starting to realize maybe it’s not the best idea – turns out they kind of rely on our tourists for a lot of their income!

But what makes this especially good is that my friend Marek dug up this little gem – the California Legal Code already contains a law that is very similar to Arizona’s own SB1070 – except theirs is not nearly as carefully worded!

834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully
cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization
Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is
suspected of being present in the United States in violation of
federal immigration laws.
(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected
of being present in the United States in violation of federal
immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the
(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen
of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent
resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time
or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of
immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall
not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date
and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding
documentation to indicate his or her legal status.
(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien
who is present in the United States in violation of federal
immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal
justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or
leave the United States.
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United
States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal
status and provide any additional information that may be requested
by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city,
county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with
jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent
or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly

Notice some of the similarities: Arizona’s law calls for “reasonable suspicion,” California’s calls for “suspicion.” Both laws require LEOs to check with the feds and alert them the person is in custody if they are here illegally. The differences? California’s law requires the LEO to inform them they must obtain legal status to remain in the US; Arizona’s makes it a felony. More poignant to the current debate, however, is that California’s law places no limitations on the suspicion: there’s no “reasonable” qualifier, and there’s no clause forbidding race, color, or national origin as a factor as there is in the Arizona law.

So, hey, California Liberals? Get the plank out of your own eye before you go worrying about us. And if San Diego could go ahead and boycott the rest of the state – you know, to be consistent? – that would be great. And entertaining to watch.

Arizonan and proud of it

I’m from Arizona.

Been saying that all my life; it’s something I’m rather proud of. I like my state. I was born here and raised here and I’ve been all over the country, but this is my home.

Apparently that now means I’m a racist Nazi.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, the Arizona legislature just passed a law which Governor Brewer happily signed (an act that has given her a 16% bump in approval ratings!) that addresses the issue of illegal immigration, which is something that is a pressing concern in my home state. The law increases penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants and covers new ways in which the problem is to be addressed by law enforcement officers. Specifically, the intensely controversial part is this section:

For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state 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. The person’s immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States Code section 1373(c).

First off, the lawful contact is clarified later in the bill as having to be an otherwise-justifiable encounter; there’s no “pulled over on suspicion of being illegal” clause here. If you ran a red light, and are pulled over, this is something that can be added on to that encounter with the LEO. In other words, the officer must have already legally detained you before this even comes in to play.

Now at that point, if you’re suspected of being here illegally, you need to be able to prove you aren’t. Now, there are any number of ways you could do this; a drivers license, a green card, social security card, passport, or any other number of simple documents easily meet this requirement. Note that the bill actually has the officer verify the status with the Federal Government if they cannot produce the paperwork on the spot, so simply not having the papers with you doesn’t violate the statute – although it might waste your time.

This is not an unreasonable requirement, and in fact it is much less demanding than the US Code, which since the 1940s has required that immigrants carry, at all times and on their person, documentation that they’re here legally. It’s nothing new, but people are either ignorant of the existing law, or simply ignoring it because the controversy is more to their liking.

As for the part of the requirement that initially made me uneasy, the phrase “reasonable suspicion,” it turns out that this is a very specific legal term, and that there is a wealth of case law providing guidelines for what reasonable suspicion is and is not. In short, what it means is that there are other factors and circumstances that cause the officer to believe something illegal is going on. For instance – and this will sound familiar to anyone who’s been south of Tucson – a police officer stops a van that had been speeding on the I-10 heading north toward Casa Grande. He arrives and finds the van is packed full of people, none with identification, and the driver is being evasive. Any reasonable officer here would suspect that these people may be here illegally, at which point this law requires him to check on their status with ICE.

What it does not mean is that the officer pulled over a brown person and demanded, “Papieren, bitte!

This law is a good thing. It does not add extra demands on immigrants here legally, it cracks down on businesses who are exploiting legal loopholes to hire illegal labor, and it deters illegal immigration.

Though, of course, some people will just never get it.