Our state, our rules

The other day I mentioned that I like Gov. Brewer.

She just made it even easier. Today, she wrote for ESPN about why the calls for sports boycotts over the immigration bill are ridiculous. She covered a lot of the same stuff I had previously, and really hit home the point that the drug and human smuggling trades are big issues down here – something a lot of people seem to forget about. Last Friday, only a couple of days after the bill passed, a deputy was shot by Mexican drug smugglers – these are the illegal immigrants that people are really upset about.

Of course, Obama turned around and kept the BS flowing, touting the “Arizonans are racist” card again, this time making sure to praise the idiot owner of the Suns for making a statement against the law with the Los Suns jerseys they wore in game 2. But hey, it made Al Sharpton a fan, so it’s all good, right? This is just one more reason to watch football instead of basketball.

Arizona seems to be the focal point of the latest political firestorm, and I don’t much like it, but with every new piece of news saying that Berkeley or La Raza are pissed off at us and starting protests, the more I’m sure this is the right law to have on the books. It’s no coincidence that the main resistance to the bill inside the state is coming from Tucson; college towns are notoriously liberal, and Tucson is no exception – it, along with Flagstaff, the other college town, was one of the only two counties in Arizona to go blue during the 2008 elections.

I don’t know why I find myself surprised by each new, insane response. There’s still some part of me that believes in rationality and basic facts winning out over hysterical reactionism. Something that makes me want to think that people will finally hear the facts of what the bill says and doesn’t say and realize this is just another Sharpton stunt… but it’s not happening. The bill remains extremely popular in Arizona, and nationwide support sits between 50% and 70% depending on who you believe (Rasmussen says 59%), but all we hear about in Arizona lately is how evil and racist we are.

I’m sick of it. Get out of our business, because it’s none of yours. If the government would bother enforcing it, spending even a fraction of the cost of some of its more recent frivolities, then we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.

I like Jan Brewer

That lady has guts.

So here’s hoping she signs HB2281 – if only to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from all the La Raza types. The bill, in short, bans classes or curricula in Arizona schools that:

  • Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
  • Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
  • Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
  • Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Pretty common sense stuff, if you ask me, and stuff that Arizona’s been asking for for a long time now. In fact, it’s kind of sad that there has to be a law made to keep it out of our schools in the first place – but since the current status quo allows for ethnic studies classes that are little more than MEChA propaganda,  I suppose something should be done.

I guess we can finally get on with improving the state now that Napolitano’s finally gone, hmm?

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.