Obama, the media, liberal elites -- and even some Republicans -- have rushed to decry Arizona's immigration enforcement law with shocking hyperbole. This bill is constitutional and it addresses a pressing issue at the state level because the federal government has shirked responsibility for years. While the critics would have you believe enforcing America's immigration law is the second coming of fascism, the Arizona law properly emphasizes enforcement in a manner that upholds the Constitution and basic principles of human decency.
Nevertheless, Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist, denounced the law by saying, "Arizona's draconian new immigration law is an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust." The infamous race baiter Rev. Al Sharpton is promising to come to Arizona to march in opposition to the law. President Obama decried the law as "misguided" and "poorly conceived." Obama even falsely claimed that a Hispanic family eating ice cream could be forced to provide their papers just because they had dark skin. CBS News used fascist references to attack the law.
These critics completely miss the mark. If these critics had read the law, they would know that it primarily focuses on enforcing existing federal law at the state level. The section that has been misconstrued the most reads, "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." While some like Obama interpret this provision as allowing police officers to round up Hispanic individuals and ask for their papers, it is anything but. The initial contact must be lawful. And the law was carefully written to preclude racial discrimination. Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official "may not solely consider race, color, or national origin" in making any stops or determining an alien's immigration status.
In order to clarify the non-discriminatory nature of the statute, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order requiring training to "provide clear guidance to law enforcement officials regarding what constitutes reasonable suspicion, and shall make clear that an individual's race, color or national origin alone cannot be ground for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated."
Arizona Police Association board member Ken Crane said the new law prohibits officers from targeting people based on race, national origin and other identifying factors. Every rookie officer is trained extensively at the police academy on how to judge probable cause and reasonable suspicion. Crane said whatever training is developed should reinforce long-standing police standards. "It's basic police work that's never changed," he said. "We're not reinventing the wheel here." Not only does the law prohibit discrimination, the governor is going out of her way to institute new training for officers so they can enforce it properly.
One of the most absurd reactions to the law was from the government of Mexico, which issued a travel warning regarding Arizona. "There is an adverse political environment for migrant communities and all Mexican visitors," Mexico's ministry said. This is quite ironic given that the Mexican government has much more stringent immigration standards than the U.S. and they will bar foreigners if they upset "the equilibrium of the national demographics."
These hyperbolic critics ignore what is happening in Arizona. Currently, more than 500,000 illegal aliens live in Arizona. Arizona rancher Rob Krentz was recently gunned down on his own land, presumably by a drug runner. President Obama ignored the calls of Sen. John McCain and other Arizona lawmakers to dispatch the National Guard. Our borders are wide open and criminals are flooding through while the U.S. government continues to dither and turn a blind eye. It is no surprise that the new law has a 70 percent approval rating amongst Arizonans according to Rasmussen, and Gov. Brewster saw her popularity rise by 15 percent after the bill was signed into law.
Americans want our immigration laws to be enforced. We want to live in an open and free society without fear of our government or fear of criminals. This law strikes an important balance between defending precious personal liberties and enforcing our immigration law. The law's critics should be honest and admit that they currently ignore enforcing immigration law because they want to change it. They support a demographic realignment of the USA through immigration that most Americans oppose.
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