Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Great Immigration Debate.

Yesterday's discussion on illegal immigration got me to searching around for some facts about Arizona's recently passed legislation. The more I read about this, the more I dislike it, and am convinced it's not only not going to solve the immigration issue, but simply inflame racial animus at a point in time when this country really needs anything but. Consider the following.
"The bill requires local law-enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law to the fullest extent permitted by federal law. It says that officers must make a reasonable attempt to determine an individual's legal status "when practicable" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is in the U.S. illegally."
Sorry, but "reasonably suspicion" is such a green term. It could literally mean any number of things, based on who you ask. If things like "drunk driving", "erratic driving", and "loitering" are being used as examples of such "reasonable suspicion", we've already got a problem. Such actions are already illegal, and have long been used by cops to pull folks over and as for ID. This apparently hasn't helped Arizona's immigration problem one bit. Now, by simply doing the very same thing, this is going to fix the problem? I think not. Reality is, that "reasonable suspicion" is going to be extended to far more activities, many of which won't even remotely be illegal. "Walking down the street in a group of 3 or more" will probably be reason enough to pull folks over and demand papers.
"The bill also would allow Arizonans to sue agencies if they don't believe an agency is complying with the law. Police chiefs who oppose the bill have said these requirements will mean officers will have to make immigration enforcement their first priority over every other type of crime."
This is quite problematic. It's essentially saying that a police department could be liable if any "citizen" doesn't think they're enforcing the law. I can only assume that to prove they are indeed enforcing a law, these agencies will be forced to publish some sort of metrics showing a number of people detained, questioned, or transferred to ICE. Essentially, a monthly quota. Now tell me there won't be even more pressure on already overworked, well meaning cops to make undue arrests just to help the department stave off a potential lawsuit.
They may have to wait around for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to verify a suspect's immigration status and possibly transport a suspect to jail to be held until that status can be determined. The chiefs also say the bill offers no additional funding to train officers in how to judge reasonable suspicion or otherwise enforce federal laws.
Depending on what you read, a driver's license may, or may not (because creating knockoffs is easy) be enough identification to prove residency. I'm guessing that a birth certificate, or some other legalization document will be what's needed. Does anyone think carrying around such documents 24/7 is reasonable? If you're simply walking your kids to the park, and prefer to not carry a wallet (something I do all the time), and end up getting questioned, you could easily spend a pointless weekend in the clink before someone's able to verify your status on Monday morning. How, again, is this protecting taxpaying Arizonans, 30% of whom are Hispanic?
If the officer can put together enough factors to establish reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally, police can detain the person long enough to get in touch with federal officials, who will determine whether the suspect is in the country legally. The law isn't expected to change much for ICE, which has a program in place that has agents respond when local law-enforcement agencies ask for help determining someone's immigration status, a process that is frequently handled over the phone.

In the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, ICE responded to more than 1,500 calls from law enforcement and took nearly 5,500 people into custody. But if SB 1070 becomes law, the volume of calls will increase, and the agency may have to revert to enforcement priorities that federal authorities outlined last year.
The very same Feds who have failed miserably, even once they've detained actual illegals, are now being asked to move swiftly and verify the status of thousands more suspects, without additional funding. Uhhhm, yeah, that one's gonna work out splendidly, I'm sure.

Look, I'd be the last one to tell you that we don't have an issue with illegal immigrants in this country. We do, and from crime, to drains on local resources, these issues have been talked about ad nauseum. They are real, and they are legitimate.

But until the real issue of fines and punishments for those who profit from the cheap labor of illegal workers (including farmers, who get gov't subsidies to stay afloat) is discussed, nothing of substance is going to change. If you remove the incentive to stay here people, like the 100,000 who've departed the state since the economy went downhill, will leave and will not return. Building a bigger fence, or worse, legalizing racial profiling like they are in Arizona is little more than a clever sleight of hand that admonishes one offending party while pretending the other doesn't even exist.

The sooner Obama and this douchebag Governor in Arizona are able at admit that, the sooner this problem can honestly be addressed.

Don't hold your breath.

Question: What's the "cure" for this country's illegal immigration issue? Is Arizona's bill going to open Pandora's box, or could it actually work?

Police weighing Arizona's immigration bill's impact [AZRepublic]

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