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24 April 2010


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Repeal NAFTA, secure our borders, rebuild our industrial/manufacturing base,unionize our work force,rescind corporate personhood,reinstate Glass/Steagall,rebuild our infrastructure,return tax rates to Eisenhower levels to pay for it all. That's just a beginning.


The characterization of the law as "require police to check the residence status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally" is not what the New York Times reports.

The NYT puts it this way: "The law would require the police “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspected were in the country without authorization. It would also allow the police to charge immigrants with a state crime for not carrying immigration documents. "


"Most police agencies or jails here already check the immigration status of people charged with a crime, in consultation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the new law would expand that power and allows the police to stop people on the suspicion of being in the country without documents. "

What that means is that if you're brown-skinned in Arizona, any cop can stop you anytime and ask you for your papers; if you don't have them on you, he can arrest you. If you turn out to be a citizen, that probably ends it; if you're here legally with a visa or green card, you can be charged with a state crime for not having the papers.

If you're brown:

When you go out for your morning jog, you had better carry your immigration papers.

Anyone in officialdom can make your life hell.


That is the practical import of the Arizona law as far as I can see.

Farmer Don

The USA spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined, and you can't keep people from sneaking across the boarder?
You are one of the most developed countries in the world, and you can't track who is working in the country illegally?
What a joke.

R Whitman

By way of preface, let me say that I was raised on the Texas side of the Mexican border many years ago and am bi-lingual. My father had a semi-sucessful business that depended on "mojados" as customers.

Mexican, legal or illegal, are not Americans or even Mexican-Americans. We ought not to impute thoughts to them without their contributions to this blog.

Having said that, I think there is a fear among "liberal" parties that the new Arizona law will work and work very well. All residents of Arizona, legal aliens, Mexican Americans and others will not go out without ID's. Many foreign countries have national ID's.

One of the unintended consequences of this law will be a fair amount of monetary inflation in Arizona when people have to pay $15/hr-$20/hr to legal residents for basic labor instead of the current minimum wage or less.

mac nayeri

this is about alot more than immigration....theres something happening with anglo america....2008 election, tea partiers, anti immigration groups, the changing demographics....all point to social upheaval...prognosis: short term, guarded - long term, unknown....

i practice in front of immigration judges here in arizona on a near daily basis....i'm guessing they are not in support of this.


National id cards won't work according to Cato & ACLU (an admittedly interesting moment of agreement):


Patrick Lang

Farmer Don

I don't think it is fair for a Canadian to criticize us about the size of our armed forces. You have effectively done away with yours and shelter behind us. You have done so for decades.

As for out "inability" to track people. that exists because many people in this country do not want to give the government that capability.

That is ending. pl


The advocates of "comprehensive immigration reform" say that they want justice for the poor people in the United States who are not properly "documented." They become quiet when asked what should be done about stopping the continuing flow of undocumented migrants across the borders.

As an immigration lawyer myself, I am aware of this mindset. It is easy for some of my colleagues to segway into the "economic oppression/give 'em a chance" justification without focusing on the illegality of crossing the border. One sees this especially when dealing with lawyers who work with charitable and Church organizations.

I don't necessarily agree with this mindset, though I do understand it.

As a day-to-day practitioner dealing with "EWI's" (entered without inspection) all the time, I do feel qualified to point out some of the evils of this new state law as I see them.

Before I do I should mention that federal immigration law already imposes significant penalties in EWI's. Then cannot in most cases acquire legal status here because of the illegal entry, even if they marry Americans. Also, the minute they cross the border, they start accruing "unlawful presence." Accrue 180 days or more and you cannot return for 3 years if you leave, in the vast majority of cases. Accrue a year or more, and you can't return for 10 years if you leave, in the vast majority of cases. These legal penalties already introduce significant problems for EWI's. Ironically, they also create a powerful incentive for EWI's to stay here to avoid the 3/10 year bars.

The first major problem I have with the statute is its constitutionality. AZ can't arrogate to itself immigration enforcement statewide, because immigration regulation is preempted by federal law. What we see here is a yahoo (in the Swiftian sense) Repub. governor running scared and engaging in clearly unconstitutional conduct. This is supposed to foster respect for the law generally? I think not.

Second, I absolutely believe that state police officials are woefully ignorant of immigration law, which is unimaginably complex as regards alien status. In addition to green card holders, there are millions of aliens who have the right to live and work here for a variety of reasons: valid non-immigrants, asylum claimants, people like Haitians applying for "Temporary Protected Status," and even individuals with the right to work while under final orders of removal.

To expect State cops to master these categories and not infringe legitimate alien rights while making their "simple" inquiries is to ignore the risk that those rights will be trampled in the inquiry process. Hell, not even the Feds get this right in many cases.

Third, but perhaps most importantly, the new law will make illegal aliens more vulnerable to serious crimes against their persons and property. Regardless of immigration status, people living in this country have the right not to be killed, raped or robbed, and the State police have the job of preventing such crimes and apprehending the perps. That function is fatally inconsistent with the immigration policing function they now unlawfully have. Why? Because illegal alien victims will now almost never report crimes against them or other illegals to the police: you can bet the farm on the fact that illegals are now instantly more vulnerable to violent criminals, for whom the risks of apprehension have been drastically lowered overnight. This is wrong, legally and morally.

The only good thing I see in this despicable new AZ "law" is that it will create much more impetus for the comprehensive reform that this country truly needs. And yes, there should be some form of "amnesty" for deserving classes of "illegal aliens" who have become integral parts of our society through marriage, family and work; it is a necessity. Under current immigration law I have seen far too much human tragedy and severe suffering to both aliens and Americans to believe otherwise.


"As for out "inability" to track people. that exists because many people in this country do not want to give the government that capability.

That is ending. pl "

Sadly, it is. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want the government to know everything about everyone all the time.

Given the above, I will almost always side with an individual state when it is in conflict with the federal government. Arizona's law may or my not be a good one. But it should be up to Arizona to decide.


Tracking....tracking by satellites, by cell phone, by RFID, by thermal imaging, by credit/debit transactions, by voice recognition, just to name a few. Tracking? who said 'tracking'?

There are ways to successively evade their tracking grid, but that I won't go into.

Colonel, you and I already have our National ID Cards. LOL.


The problem with the law is at the end close-to-the-drillbit, as they say in the oil patch. I have heard law officers tell me they can spot illegals because "they are speaking Spanish and wouldn't be if they had been born here." Hello. If you are poor, brown, and are overheard speaking Spanish, get ready.

I'm for the free flow of labor which Col. Lang envisioned sub "1". Instant background checks, issue annually renewable work permits with photo ID. Let the laws of supply and demand control the flow. If they have no criminal background, let them go to work. The work ethic of most illegals puts ours to shame. Your daughter could do worse than marrying one of these guys.


remember how the "radical" social laws put into effect in CA/MA supposedly affected the outcome of the 2004 election? are we due for a repeat (although due to a surge from the "other" side?:)because of AZ?...Hispanics voted over 60% for O(Dem) in 2008, could this push it into the 75-90% and boost turnout this November?:)...

frank durkee

let me support Redhand's comment concerning undocumented aliens vulnerability to crimes against them. Working as part of the board of community organizing group in north central Arizona in the early 2000s this was one of the most significant dilemnas in our local communities. This was in a much more relaxed political than now. One of the common things was for employers in operatiions from fast food to garden/construction work to simply refuse to pay for work done and threaten to disclose the undocumented to the IS. It routinely worked.
In addition,so far as I have heard, the bill does nothing to enforce penalities against employers; which is against present federal law. One of the great iroies of all of this is that rigorous pealities both moey ad hard time would probably do more to slow the level of immigration than anything else. Good luck getting that really done. As the Col. points out ".. it's all about the money ", on both sides of the bargin.


To me the Arizona bill is an act born out of frustration with a federal government incapable of enforcing its own laws. Now lawyers have some work to do as Federal Supremacy laws should be upheld or more bill's of this nature will be coming forth quickly.

In the long run, though not in my lifetime, the Colonel's #1 and #2 above will happen.

As to a National ID Card we already have it in the "Real ID Act of 2005" where to obtain a drivers license you now have to document birthplace in US or legal reason for US residency. Living in Florida is a nightmare if you were born outside the US and claiming citizenship through birth from US citizen parents. I have been to the license bureau a few times helping my children and stepchildren through this process and it is harder on the female's as their last names have changed at least once or more though a US Passport does resolve these problems. I wonder how other states are handling this problem.

The Twisted Genius

Prince William County in Virginia tried a similar gambit as Arizona. To the best of my knowledge, they authorized local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. The outcome, besides increased law enforcement costs, was that it became very uncomfortable for illegal aliens to be in Prince William. Houses in the suburbs that were used as dormitories for cheap labor emptied out overnight. Residents in these neighborhoods got what they wanted... no more swarthy foreigners hanging around the county. Of course, all this happened in conjunction with the downturn in the construction industry which resulted in fewer jobs for these foreigners.

I like PL's idea to "de-couple residence and economic activities from citizenship between the US and Mexico." A "Gastarbeiter" system may work in this country. This would provide better protection to the legal guest workers, while still giving us the cheap labor we seem to desperately need. What would move both sides to come to this or some other solution? We should come down extremely hard on those that use illegals for cheap labor to the point that it causes economic disruption. Unless both sides have som skin in the game, I doubt there will be any serious legislation in this area.


The federal reserve and treasury are already dealing with the immigration problem. Pretty soon they won't have an incentive to come across the border

john in the boro

Ameican corporations outsourced large swathes of the economy and moved big chunks of manufacturing outside of the United States for obvious business reasons. That still left millions of unskilled and trade jobs that just cannot move outside the country. The meat packing industry, agriculture, construction, service, etc. rely on immigrant labor to maintain a cap on wages and derive an advantage over competitors. Judging by the decline of unions over the last 30 years, the widespead use of immigrant labor has been effective. This is not through chance, U.S. immigration policy has made winners and losers: compare the light hand on the unskilled and trade labor markets to the much more rigorous efforts made to control the inflow of foreign professionals through the H-1B program. This latter case has to deal with powerful and well-healed professional lobbying interests who want to maintain the wages of their members. It is about the money.

The American economy looks like the Field of Dreams to many of our fellow Americans south of the border. The fine for hiring an illegal immigrant is pocket change. Employer arrests are rare. Therein resides the problem. The resolve to stop illegal immigration is inversely proportional to the business community's demand for illegal immigrant labor. If, as Pat suggests, the policy changed to allow forreigners to work legally in the United States, then the hiring businesses would no longer be able to cheat, threaten, or otherwise take advantage of the foreigners' illegal status. Indeed, the hiring businesses would no longer be able to treat foreigners as a separate category of rightless workers. The businesses would have to remit taxes and payroll withholding to the federal and state governments. They would have to furnish unemployment and workmen's comp. At this point, the demand for foreign labor joins the general demand.

Is this fair? Moral? The current ad hoc arrangement certainly is not. The focus on illegal immigrants denies the critical role of U.S. business in this mess. If the government cannot adopt a policy such as Pat's first suggestion, then another alternative is to knuckle down on the hiring businesses. Make the penalties so severe that breaking the law puts the offending business in jeopardy. Maybe some jail time for repeat offenders to include CEOs. The Arizona law results from the pressure of angry U.S. citizens and contains penalties for the employers of illegal immigrants. At least it recognizes the important role of U.S. business in the illegal immigration issue. Indeed, the outrage over the ID checks overshadows the part of the law that targets offending businesses. This suggests businesses are going to bankroll the "grassroots" opposition to the law. The ball is on the federal end of the court. Will the U.S. Congress do anything meaningful? Probably not. Most likely the federal government will figure out a "reform" that will repeal any harsh penalties on business.

At the Virginia Capes

Reference: "...the money is what is wanted."
Can we get the money out of the equation? Is it even possible?
If we tried to take the money out of the equation, how would we do it and where would we start?
If I remember a selling point about NAFTA correctly, it was supposed to encourage manufacturers to put low skill/low wage jobs in Mexico to keep Mexicans employed, thus an increase in employment south of the border would result in less need for Mexican workers to come across the border illegally to find work. Jobs are still leaving for overseas, not south of the border, and illegal workers are still crossing the border looking for work. Is it time to abrogate the treaty, and start anew?


Col. Lang:

Wonderful stuff. If only. . . .

Letting both sides wander back and forth across a meaningless border like nomadic sheepherders for economic gain without the benefits of citizenship but with all the other responsibilities reminds me of playing baseball without keeping score! Maybe it's an idea whose time has come. Unfortunately, somebody in government would feel obligated to oversee the process if only to ensure that taxes got paid. Maybe that's the place for a national ID card.

At a practical level, I'm not so sure the Arizona law will become as awful as portrayed. The thing still needs to be enforced and short of state and local governments setting up special law enforcement agencies specifically mandated to enforce it, which they won't because of cost and because the federal government already has, existing police agencies are not likely to do it. There's not enough crime fighting associated with it. They're more likely to treat it as they do the vehicle code. Officers are permitted to stop you but they're not required to give you a ticket. Crime fighters are high status. Vehicle code enforcement is relegated to traffic wardens.

Patrick Lang


I suggested not keeping score in intramural softball at the resident course at the Army War College. My seminar mates were stunned. They had been telling each other how "laid back" they were. Actually, they were anything but that. I am a strong INTP and was the most Type B person in my class at that school. When they learned that my classmates were incredulous because of my well deserved reputation. (sorry) The "wellness" creeps in the faculty assigned me as homework for observation by the pathologically type A. This resulted in ludicrous situations in which these unfortunates would come to observe me and ask strange questions such as why I was wearing a watch. They had been forbidden to wear watches while in therapy. I told them that I wore the watch as a concession to them. Others would see me sitting idly and want to know what I was doing. The answer, "nothing" did not satisfy. These fellows were typically driven by career. I liked what I was doing. This was the highest level of army schooling and very competitive in selection by national board. pl


Merging the two countries sounds pretty extreme to me. Too bad for the racists, eh?
The legal point that may undermine the new AZ law is allowing 'reasonable doubt' instead of 'probable cause' to stop people. Didn't the AZ Association of Chiefs of Police come out against it?
Twisted Genius and others may enjoy this comedic bit from the Randi Rhodes Show last week concerning the Prince William County, Virginia, efforts along the same lines as AZ.


My guess is that we will wind up doing some sort of armed invasion of Mexico when the drug wars seriously leak across the border. The result of such an invasion would be even more unpredictable than a strike on Iran. Another neocon presidency and off we go to Mexico City. Maybe, Gov. Rick Perry can lead the charge as Texas' revenge for the Alamo.


If the Elitist/Corporation Cartels have their way, national identities (U.S., Mexico, Canada) will cease and we will be the NAU (North American Union) complete with the Amero as the currency.



If your NYT cite is correct, I suppose it will only be a matter of time before some irritated Hispanic police officer working traffic control at the mall in Scottsdale begins asking "papers, please" of retired Iowa snowbirds.

Best way to control immigration IMHO is to have mandatory minimums for employers' hiring illegals--say 5 years.


Amnesty, immigration reform; whatever you call it is just code for creating more Democrat voters.

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