Alton Illinois Politics and Issues
Right Turn – Left Turn Weekly Topic

Illegal Immigration

Arizona has passed a recent illegal immigration reform legislation.

What should or shouldn't be done about illegal immigration?


Right Turn

righty

A vehicle barrels through a four way stop without even a pause. Tires squeal as the motorist whose turn it was stomps on the brake pedal. The policeman who happened to be monitoring this intersection begins pursuit. The pursuit ends and the policeman walks up to the open window of the offender’s vehicle. Should the officer immediately ask for a driver’s license and proof of insurance or should he first assess the offender’s physical characteristics with a particular focus on pigmentation? Perhaps common sense would suggest that the answer is obvious, but in the politically correct world of the liberal activist, common sense has no place.

If those who object to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 had their way, the officer might want to make sure the driver he stopped is not likely to be a member of a politically targeted ethnic group before inquiring about identification. If the driver appears to have physical characteristics that are shared by residents of Central or South America, the officer might want to send him on his merry way… lest he be guilty of racial profiling! Regardless of the ethnic heritage of the officer, if he were to ask for identification, he would be engaging in the worst type of profiling based on xenophobia. This officer might be reminiscent of one of those bitter bumpkins Barack Obama spoke of at the posh San Francisco fundraiser. The cop, especially if he is white, might be one of those bitter bumpkins who cling to those trite things such as The Bible or guns and have “antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment”.

Those who argue against a secure southern border seem to contradict themselves feigning righteous indignation over the Arizona law. Regarding southern border security the cry arises that not all illegals are from south of the border. There are white European illegals among us! Then, with a change of direction so sudden whiplash might result, the thought of ascertaining the immigration status of someone stopped or detained for another reason is racist! I suppose that if the driver previously mentioned is white and has a European accent it would be acceptable for the officer to ask for identification.

Here is a selection of the offensive, racist, oppressive, unconstitutional Arizona law:

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

How dare they seek to identify a person stopped or detained for an infraction? The next time I get stopped for driving above the speed limit and the officer asks for my license and proof of insurance, can I say, “What do you think this is, Arizona? Don’t you know that you are violating my constitutional rights by asking for ID?” I will then complain to the police department and demand that they take a cluster of diversity and constitutional penumbra (as the right to not show a driver’s license is just beyond the right to an abortion in that particular penumbra of the Constitution) courses.

Of course, the dudgeon may be based on immigration being a federal issue and Arizona is usurping federal authority by assisting in enforcing federal immigration law. Make sense? I thought not.

Sam Pierce
Sam is a conservative father of 6 who would like to leave my children the free country our founding fathers established! Individual liberty requires individual responsibility!

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Left Turn

lefty

Nothing works conservatives into a lather easier than the issue of immigration reform. In an era of fiscal shortfalls, it is a bit alarming to see the alacrity for calls for more spending on countermeasures to the tide of illegal immigration into this Country. Arizona, which like most states is facing a budget crunch, is purportedly spending $1 Billion on this fight. Arizona has also passed the most stringent immigration reform legislation in the nation. Not only are Arizona's efforts unconstitutional, they are also ineffective.

The United States Constitution grants Congress the sole power to set the standards for a unified system for naturalization. (Article I, Section 8, Clause 4). Arguments that this is a matter of state's rights as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment ignore that states do not have any powers that are expressly conferred to the federal government. It is reasonably well-settled law that state efforts to legislate in the area of immigration and naturalization policy are preempted, meaning that Constitutionally, only the federal government can act. References to cases where states have been permitted to supplement the policies and laws of the federal government do not apply, as these case concern implied preemption, meaning the power has not been expressly conferred to the federal government, but even in this areas, often the power of the state's to act have been found precluded even though there is no expressly conferred federal right of action.

Even if the power to enact the Arizona immigration reform measures were not expressly preempted, such an approach is not a cost-effective means for preventing illegal immigration. Allocating law enforcement resources which are presently being stretched too thin, would add to the already overcrowded, overtaxed criminal justice system: more arrests, more jail and prison incarceration, more congested court dockets, and less responsive law enforcement efforts for serious and violent crime. All these efforts without the slightest hope this would actually work. If anything, the removal of millions of illegals, assuming they could be found, would likely create a perverse incentive for yet even more illegal immigration to replace those workers. On and on goes the myth of Sisyphus.

I do agree that illegal immigration needs to be addressed, and that its continued practices have a serious effect of depressing wages of legal workers which has a rippling effect throughout the economy. Further, the liberal in me also finds the practice unseemely in that it leads to extraordinary human exploitation, placing workers in dangerous working conditions, often compounded by substandard living conditions and unconscionable employment arrangements akin to workers at the turn of the last century working for the company town. I am also gravely concerned by the massive amounts of disinformation employed by proponents of immigration reform. A comprehensive rebuke of the evidentiary claims by illegal immigration reform groups is set forth in detail by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at http://factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants/. Any group that deliberately conflates numbers, including the cost of legal immigration in its calculus of the cost of illegal immigration, merits very close scrutiny of its methods and proposals. Also, often ignored in this debate is the billions of dollars paid by illegal immigrants in sales taxes, SSI withholding, and other taxes for which they will not receive services, and ignores the cost of human capital brought to this country by illegal immigrants. See http://www.chron.com/disp/ story.mpl/editorial/ outlook/ 7062142. html.

We already have the most cost-effective method for solving this problem with a law that is already on the books, and a law that faces no serious constitutional challenges. Prosecute employers of illegal immigrants. These efforts would add no new level of state or federal government bureaucracy, but rather could be handled in the existing criminal justice system in Arizona and elsewhere with only a modest impact on criminal dockets and little impact on incarceration rates. I concede that these efforts have been largely ignored by the federal government, and I am even sympathetic to Arizona's frustration at the lack of effort in this regard to the point of wanting to take matters into its own hands. But rounding up several million people, booking them, incarcerating them, holding a trial, appointing legal counsel, and paying to transport said illegals back to their country of origin (assuming all of this could be done which is a big assumption) is not the solution. When employers see meaningful numbers of others serving jail time for employing illegals, the problem will be solved. Illegals come to this country for jobs, and without jobs, they will migrate to where work is more plentiful.

If one wants to bolster the existing legislative arsenal to combat illegal immigration, there are effective means of doing so. There needs to be reform on a national basis of requiring biometric proof mechanisms for documenting legal work in this country. Biometric equipment, once cost-prohibitive, is now reasonably affordable, and will become more so if required by federal law. That is not to say that such protective measures cannot be countered, but it would provide an effective deterrent much the way changes to the $100 bill reduces the frequency of counterfeiting. A biometric proof program would excuse the innocent employer who rightfully relied on objectively reasonable data of lawful work eligibility, and provide sound grounds for prosecuting employers who ignored such requirements. The Department of Labor should provide worker documentation stations available to employers to verify worker eligibility for small employers that cannot otherwise afford their own biometric measuring system.

Conservatives love walls. Build a wall. Round up the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, send them back and build a wall. Problem solved. Really? Apparently, those of you who yearn for such a wall have not ventured to the U.S.-Mexican border in southern Arizona, as I have—one of the most desolate places on Earth. The notion that a wall could be constructed, monitored, and enforced without a breach is ludicrous. The cost of the wall itself is cost-prohibitive, let alone the manpower necessary to stand guard over it. The cost of such a program would eclipse the actual cost to society by illegal immigration itself. The cost of such a wall would be in the billions, and the cost of monitoring and enforcing the security of the wall would cost as much or more over time. Tunneling would circumvent any supposed security, rendering the wall completely useless. Anyone who has monitored the efforts of drug cartels to import drugs into this country know that sophisticated tunneling efforts are not idle speculation.

Immigration is one of those “red meat” issues which make conservatives apoplectic. But rather than foaming at the mouth, a more considered approach of placing a biometric burden on employers to verify employment eligibility is more effective, less expensive, and is constitutional.

John J. Pawloski
Mr. Pawloski is a lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri and an an unapologetic liberal, progressive. He can be contacted on Facebook and his blog can be found at Tumblr.com.



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