Maggie Gallagher

It's open season on Arizona.

A Kennedy compared Arizona's law to the slave trade. Boycotts of Arizona by governments, convention-goers and girls basketball teams have been declared.

A former Phoenix Suns basketball star who is now the mayor of Sacramento put the repulsive logic of the Arizona boycott in shocking clarity. "I still have many friends in Arizona, and know the state is not a land filled with hatred. But sometimes Arizonans need a reminder of their foolishness. If we shun them, maybe they will get it."

If we shun them, maybe they will get it. Or maybe not.

The boycott will cost Arizona $90 million in hotel business, the mayor of Phoenix predicted. He opposes the law and the boycott, which will hurt all Arizonans including illegal aliens.

Why is the president of the United States and his party acting this way? To jack up the Democratic vote.

Let's be clear about one thing: The attempt to humiliate Arizona is not about solving the immigration issue. If anyone wanted to actually solve the problem, they would not begin by bullying Arizona. Sixty percent of Americans support Arizona.

People who were serious about actually reforming immigration would begin by defusing, not inflaming, the racial issues. Americans are pro-immigration. It is part of our DNA. We are also pro-rule-of-law, and pro-powerful-leaders who care what we think. We believe racial understanding is a two-way street.

I cannot speak for all Americans, but I can tell you about this American: I am sick and tired of the way working-class folks are treated as objects beneath contempt when they react the way any normal human being would react to uncontrolled immigration. (Imagine dumping 1,000 hardworking, law-abiding, illegally immigrating Iowans in a small Mexican village -- how would the locals react?) This is a generous country. Millions of Latinos are not rushing to our borders because we are such a racist society.

Serious immigration reform must begin by refusing to play the race card, by attempting to conciliate the legitimate concerns about immigration's sometimes serious local costs.

It is not that racism doesn't exist -- of course it does. But when ordinary Americans have normal concerns -- when they object to their children being bussed an hour across town in order to pursue cultural elites' visions of statistical racial harmony, or to a border so porous that the rule of law appears a joke -- they get told in no uncertain terms by powerful culture makers to go stand in the corner, like bad children.

When people in my presence criticize Arizona I ask them: "Did you know the week the bill passed, an Arizona deputy sheriff was shot in the stomach by a suspected illegal immigrant with an AK-47?" They get quiet. They hadn't heard about Louie Puroll.

The relative lawlessness of Mexico is spilling across our borders.

"Border Patrol agents have been told at daily musters that the Mexican drug cartels have put a $250,000 bounty on their lives," reports the Examiner.com. One agent said, "We were warned about this recently at several musters, and we were advised to take this threat seriously and to take precautions."

The lawfulness of American society is a precious commodity. Our tradition of welcoming immigration and the idea of racial equality are both precious commodities too. There is no easy answer.

But right now, American sheriffs are being gunned down with machine guns in the Arizona desert. The governor of Arizona is pleading in vain with the president of the United States to send more National Guard helicopters to help secure the borders.

And the president of the United States is standing with the president of Mexico criticizing the very hardworking, law-abiding Americans who are trying to do the job that the president of the United States doesn't want to do.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.