Targeting People

From what I am reading across the country from other bloggers, people are wearing star of David badges and showcasing fascist’s symbols to protest the state of Arizona.

I have spoken to a number of Hispanics, and all of them will tell you that they do not favor illegal immigration; in essence, it works against the plight of legals. But, to enact legislation empowering the state to ask people for their papers due to race, is borderline Fascism.

I hear all too often that people do not want too much federal government intervention, but the governor of Arizona stated herself that states such as hers have no choice due to the inactivity of the federal government. I think Ms. Brewer is about to get her wish; I suspect the Obama administration will act quickly to usurp that of states by enacting comprehensive immigration reform. As a black American, I tend not to trust the notion of states’ rights. Historically, states have discriminated  against minority populations. Thanks to Interstate Commerce, the federal government used various tactics to remove Jim Crow. This does not mean the federal government does not discriminate. The United States has a history of implementing immigration acts and quotas against various groups: Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, and Jews.

As noted in The Huffington Post:

Arizona lawmakers approved a sweeping immigration bill Monday intended to ramp up law enforcement efforts even as critics complained it could lead to racial profiling and other abuse.The state Senate voted 17-11 nearly along party lines to send the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has not taken a position on the measure championed by fellow Republicans. The House approved the bill April 13.

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23 thoughts on “Targeting People

  1. As a Holocaust educator, one of the questions I get asked all the time is, “How does something like the Holocaust get started?”

    Really? It gets started like this. Little things – the withdrawal of a right here, the limitation of a freedom there, and always against the signified “other” – get put in place in the name of nationalism and security. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first – so a police officer wants to see my driver’s license or passport, so what? – but eventually, the “non-othered” public gets so used to being able to limit the freedoms of those vilified “others” that enacting tougher and more stringent laws and limitations becomes acceptable.

    There is a better way to handle our immigration problem. This is racism in action, and it’s deplorable.

  2. When I got a breaking news update on my phone about this a few days ago, I had to re-read it multiple times – I was so shocked. This bill is completely unjustifiable. President Obama’s inaction in fighting this bill is also unjustifiable.

    It is times like these that I am very thankful for the ACLU…

  3. Arizona can pass race base laws, pass Birthers laws and the state can continue to boycott Martin Luther King Day, well the rest of the Country can boycott the state of Arizona and spank them where it hurts them the most their pocket book. Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat War profiteering contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

  4. Hmm…I’d be shocked if Arizona just started walking up and asking people for their papers. Let’s be honest, though: the border situation is a travesty, perpetuated by both Democrats and Republicans. Until the Federal government fixes the problem properly, expect states to pass their own laws as a shot across the bow.

    Inside the Arizona legislation:

    “…WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES…

    “…THIS STATE MAY NOT SOLELY CONSIDER RACE, COLOR OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IN IMPLEMENTING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBSECTION…

    “A PERSON IS PRESUMED TO NOT BE AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IF THE PERSON PROVIDES TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
    1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.
    2. A VALID ARIZONA NONOPERATING IDENTIFICATION LICENSE.
    3. A VALID TRIBAL ENROLLMENT CARD OR OTHER FORM OF TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION.
    4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.”

    While it is common sense that a state that borders Mexico would discover that the bulk of its illegal alien problem involves people of Mexican decent, the language of the bill does not target Hispanics specifically. It tries to raise enforcement while declaring race will not be the only criteria.

    Is that just a smoke screen? Perhaps…but by its own words, the bill says a law enforcement official cannot walk up to a person based on how they look and ask for identification. If Arizona starts arresting U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent, they will experience blowback of epic proportions.

    Anyone who gets pulled over for a traffic violation is asked to show their drivers license. Is that a police state? No. Should we keep an eye on how Arizona enforces this new law? Absolutely.

  5. Montana: I cannot believe I forgot about Arizona’s unwillingness to accept MLK day as a holiday. You have presented a few patterns that are worrisome.

    Matt: Put yourself in the shoes of a Hispanic person. Think, there is now a law that contends the police can stop and ask you question just because of your race. That is the issue. Most Hispanics are okay with the state dealing with immigration issues. But to say they can do this due to race is a Constitutional violation.

  6. Ed, the law specifically states they CANNOT check you out only because of your race. It must be a reasonable search, and it cannot be due to profiling. I’ll grant you this: what is a law-enforcement officer to make of this? What can they do or not do?

    Dillon, as noted above, I agree that the “reasonable suspicion” part is vague.

    Too funny: progressives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable suspicion” (racial profiling, abuse of the system), while conservatives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable health care” (genetic and biological profiling, abuse of the system). Big government is big government.

    I’m no apologist for Arizona. I think it is CRAZY not to just build a border fence and stop the cycle. If aliens (of any nationality) find it harder to get in illegally, then there is less need for the states and the government to get into our business.

  7. Matt: You are right in that how will a police officer make such a call? This has racial profiling all over it. Race is and will be a major factor.

    No offense Carson, but Matt S has the best thing I have read in a while. Great point here:

    “Too funny: progressives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable suspicion” (racial profiling, abuse of the system), while conservatives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable health care” (genetic and biological profiling, abuse of the system). Big government is big government.”

  8. Matt – the Fourth Amendment guarantees the right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. This is an example of “specifically stating” that police officers can not racially profile. But they still do.

    I was telling Carson recently about a recent took I trip to the Galleria, Houston’s largest and most upscale shopping mall. As I walked out, I saw a police officer turn away from a conversation he was having to “scan” an African-American walking by. After the police officer determined that the man had not stolen anything, he went back to his conversation and failed to ignore that I, a white man, could have also stolen something.

    Officers are not stopped, and are often encouraged, to do this. Who would prevent officers in Arizona from racially profiling Hispanics?

  9. I don’t think the idea is for Arizona to frisk people at random. What they are saying is, “No more looking the other way. Now when anyone gets in a position where law enforcement traditionally has asked for identification, we are going to be more proactive about checking for citizenship.” Easily abused? Perhaps.

    Would it be acceptable to set up random checkpoints for citizenship, like they do for drunk drivers? What if during a drunk driving checkpoint, a non-intoxicated person was found to be an illegal alien?

    Arizona may have opened up Pandora’s Box here…lol. There is some speculation is this is a gambit to spur the federal government into action.

  10. Matt S:

    You stated:

    “Now when anyone gets in a position where law enforcement traditionally has asked for identification, we are going to be more proactive about checking for citizenship”

    The sad thing is that people will still face constant abuse tactics by abusive officers. Sad, but I do think too many officers seek power — be it artificial. Think of the many issues that will take place but not make it to court?

  11. I am not only worried by the “reasonable suspicion” clause, but by the fact that law enforcement officer cannot rely “solely” on race — Doesn’t this mean that race can be a factor?

  12. The thing that bothers me is that the whole “reasonable suspicion” thing falls to pieces because there’s no consequence for it. I’m hearing proponents of this bill jump all over the “well, if they’re here illegally, who CARES how they were caught?” The fact of catching an illegal nullifies the fact that the search was illegal, too.

    I can’t get behind this law; there’s nothing about it that feels right to me.

  13. What does this say about Americans? I recall a point in time after 1831 when a free black person in the American south could be enslaved. Interesting historical trends here; I realize I am making a stretch (and I am folks –a big one), but I just do not think this is how we should deal with it. We need security, but not this way.

  14. After listening to some of this feedback, it looks like Arizona is going to make some of the legislation less vague:

    PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers have approved several changes to the recently passed sweeping law targeting illegal immigration. If Gov. Jan Brewer supports the changes, they will go into effect at the same time as the new law, 90 days from now.

    …Changes to the bill language will actually remove the word “solely” from the sentence, “The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.”

    Another change replaces the phrase “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest” to apparently clarify that officers don’t need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.

    A third change specifies that police contact over violations for local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on immigration status.

    …The follow-on legislation approved Thursday also would change the law to specify that immigration-status questions would follow a law enforcement officer’s stopping, detaining or arresting a person while enforcing another law. [The governor’s] spokesman said that makes it clear that police cannnot question people just on the suspicion they’re illegal immigrants.

    …the change doesn’t require a formal arrest before questioning but helps make it clear that racial profiling is not allowed.

    If a purple alien broke into your home, I would vote to expel him. I would not be anti-purple or a purple-hater, I just believe in property rights and trespassing laws. All this polling shows is that Americans are fed up with a porous border and lack of immigration enforcement.

    Consider that Mexico’s laws expect anyone traveling through the country to have their papers in order. Amnesty International is calling the treatment of immigrants passing through Mexico a crisis as they are robbed, killed, raped, and kidnapped on their way to try to run across the US border. It’s a headache all around, and everyone is trying to figure it out the best they can. Why is it anti-ANYONE for the United States to secure its borders? It’s not personal, it’s business.

  15. As an immigrant, I personally have no problem with laws that, if used correctly, will curb illegal immigration. I know the arguement will be from Carson and Dillon, but James you’re a WASP. True, however, if I was caught without my green card at some point while I was over here, I would also be accused of being illegal and arrested. Illegal is illegal. I will agree that race will be a large issue especially with the “sole factor” clause. If there was a way to be able to both check illegality while also not profiling, I would be all for it.

  16. Pingback: I Do Not Teach Politics « The Professor

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