Does Barack Obama know what’s best for every American?
Does Washington know better than Arizona what’s good for Arizonans?
President Obama’s criticism last Friday of a piece of Arizona state legislation – criticism that came before the Governor had even made a decision about the bill – is further evidence that, for him, the needs and preferences of the individual states are rather irrelevant. Yet it is this very sort of arrogant disregard for the states that led to Arizona’s controversial new illegal immigration bill in the first place, and the President’s remarks serve to rub yet more salt into a wound that has been festering for years.
The new statute empowers local law enforcement agents to stop and check the immigration status of anybody they suspect of being in the country illegally. It is by far the toughest measure against illegal immigration ever to be proposed in the United States, and according to a Rasmussen poll from last Wednesday, April 21, it is supported by 70% of Arizona voters.
But the Rasmussen organization also discovered some other important details about the attitudes of Arizona voters, details that have been largely overlooked. Yes, 70% of Arizona voters support this tough new measure. Yet 53% of them also have concerns that in the process of enforcing the new law and identifying and deporting illegal immigrants, the civil rights of some U.S. citizens would end up being violated.
This is to say that, while a majority of Arizonans are concerned about civil rights violations being entailed in the law’s enforcement, an even bigger majority nonetheless view the law as necessary. Is this a contradiction, or some sort of breakdown in logic? No, not really. Not if you’ve lived in the Southwestern U.S. and you’ve watched this border state drama play-out over the past twenty years or so, as Washington politicians wring their hands, criticize the citizenry, and often just look the other way.
The polling data, strange as it may seem, articulate an important message. “We didn’t want it to come to this point,” Arizona is saying to Washington. “We want a free and open society, yes, but in order to achieve this we must remain a society where everyone plays by the rules. You have failed to uphold our nation’s rules, Washington, and as a result our free and open society is slipping away…”
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.