Si se puede ser un pais de leyes (Yes we can be a nation of laws)

I know I said I was going to write about flushing my Social Security Insurance savings down the drain or the effect that power has on government, but I can’t remain silent on the Arizona craziness. I was fuming most of the last 2 days as “friends” of mine on Facebook compared the new law in Arizona to Nazi Germany and called those who support it racists. I guess the term “racist” is the go-to slander now for all things not in alignment with Progressive thought. But be warned race-baiters, the more you throw that term out willy-nilly the less effective it will become and the less attention people will pay to actual instances of racism, a la “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
But it’s not just lefty kool-aid drinkers on Facebook hurling these slanderous and fallacious comparisons. Here’s just a few gems that I picked up from news stories this week:
* “There is now a racial reign of terror spreading across the country and it has to be stopped,” Joshua Hoyt, director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and one of those arrested, told the Chicago Tribune.
* “We cannot go back to the slave trade, slave patrol era, where … free men or African Americans that were free were arrested, put in jail and then sent back to the plantations,” said Juan Carlos Ruiz, advocacy director of the Latino Federation of Greater Washington. – Reuters
* Even some Republicans joined the bandwagon: “This law of ‘frontier justice’ – where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on ‘reasonable suspicion’ that they may be in the country illegally – is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause,” said Rep Mack (R) Florida. – The Hill

I feel like I woke up in the Twilight Zone (not the one with Edward Cullen), where a law that makes something illegal a crime is suddenly the same thing as slavery and the Jewish Holocaust.

So let’s all calm down, take a deep breath, and look at the facts.
1. The new AZ law does not allow for race to be a determinant in asking to verify someone is here legally. Matter of fact, it expressly forbids it.
2. The officer has to have had some other lawful reason for coming into contact with the person before asking to verify legal status (i.e. pulled over for a traffic violation or detained for another crime).
3. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in Arizona are from South of the border. So therefore the majority of illegal immigrants affected by this law will be from south of the border. It doesn’t mean that the law targets Hispanics, it means that the majority of the people being affected are Hispanic. A HUGE difference. If I was pulled over and couldn’t provide a driver’s license, green card or visa and spoke little English, I would expect the officer to inquire on my legal status as well. Equal justice means that nobody is too white, black, brown, rich or poor to be subject the law equally.

Roughly 65% percent of Americans support this law according to a Rasmussen Poll. But Rasmussen found in another poll this week that also 65% favor “a welcoming immigration policy”.
Let me ‘splain.

We want our laws enforced. We want all people to be equal under the law. The white, brown, black, or polka-dot person here illegally needs to be treated the exact same way. It has nothing to do with the hue of their skin.

If we are not going to apply the law equally to all people and expect our laws to be enforced, then what the heck do we have laws for? I want people from Mexico and anywhere else in the world who want to be able to come here and pursue the “American dream” to do it legally and I want a system that makes that possible. Illegal immigration hurts EVERYONE – both citizens and illegal immigrants. I have seen it first hand with my good friend who is here illegally. She lives a restricted life because of her illegal status. She can’t fly home to visit her family in Guatemala. I can’t even take her on a plane trip with me because she has no proof of US Identification. She is also one of the hardest-working, self-reliant, driven people I know and she would make a welcome addition to the melting pot of heritage that we call “Americans”.

Arizona was driven to this law by a federal government that for decades has been unwilling to address the politically tenuous topic of border security and immigration. Republicans and Democrats alike have done nothing because either they don’t want to upset millions of potential future voters or millions of current voters. Drug and border violence is out of control and our borders are a weakness that terrorists, criminals, and drug traffickers use against us. Did you know that Arizona is now 2nd largest kidnapping capitol of the world, behind Bogata Colombia. Phoenix averages 1 kidnapping per day. An Arizona Rancher was killed on his property by an illegal. Just today, a sheriff’s deputy was shot in the stomach with an AK-47 by illegal human or drug traffickers along a corridor known be be used for both. What racists we are for wanting to put an end to the insanity!

So when you see rallies this Saturday with signs that say “Si se puede“, let’s ask “yes we can…. what?” Ignore the law? Call people who support the law racist Nazis?
I say Si se puede to being a nation of laws applied equally to all and enforced for all. Si se puede secure our border and keep the criminals, vagrants and terrorists out. Si se puede create a welcoming system of legal immigration to allow the law-abiding, hard-working people of the world aspiring to become Americans a better, easier path to that goal.
1. Secure the border, 2. enforce the law, and 3. have a good legal way for people to enter our country that are decent, hard-working people wishing to become Americans. That is the proud heritage of this country: people coming from all over the world to join our land and culture of freedom, hard work and values begetting success and happiness. That is what it means to become an American. The more the merrier.

Yes we can.

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15 Responses to Si se puede ser un pais de leyes (Yes we can be a nation of laws)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let's just hope there is a path to legalization, not necessarily citizenship that we can come up with to see that these hard working, law abiding hispanics can be visible, pay taxes, learn English and contribute openly to this great country. They should be put in line for full citizenship ahead of those who did everything by the book. JEANNE Guzman

  2. Anonymous says:

    oops, they should NOT be put in line ahead of those doing things by the book. so sorry………..

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think you are funny and cute… : )Cooks

  4. And I truly don't understand those who are who are calling for a boycott of Arizona, which will only hurt the people of Arizona and cost jobs and wages of citizens, legal immigrants and illegal immigrants alike.

  5. Anonymous says:

    And this is where I stray from the left. Totally don't agree with things like National Day of Prayer, but I wholly agree with this law. :)Jen B.

  6. Jen – I have always respected you as a person that thinks through your positions on things, not a kool-aide partisan. I hope that, even though we disagree on some things, that you see me the same way. I know that you will challenge me to think and know why I believe as I do. Like with the day of prayer thing, we both interpreted what the constitution said differently, but we both read the language and analyzed it looking for the truth.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Of course I respect you, Jamie. Funny thing is, the day we were debating the day of prayer thing, I was touring a summer camp for my daughter that is religious-based. The illegal immigration debate is a difficult one but I think it's a national security issue and I don't think it's fair to show an immigration preference to one group of people simply because they can walk over the border.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was stopped by the police one day and didn't have my wallet with me. They cuffed me and sat me on the curb until they could verify that I was who I said I was. Then they gave me a ticket and sent me on my way. I didn't like it, but it was my fault for leaving home with my wallet on the kitchen table. I didn't have a race card to play.The very fact that these people are here illegally means they are willing to break the law. Is it any wonder that many continue to break the law after they get here? We are creating a disregard for the law in this country. How do we decide which laws to enforce and which ones not to? That will drive a citizen crazy!

  9. Chris Perez says:

    I agree with Desmond Tutu on this issue: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/desmond-tutu/arizona—-the-wrong-answ_b_557955.htmlReminds me of an old nursery tale about a woman who has a problem with mice, so brings in a cat which causes more problems, so she brings in a dog, and the problems escalate. Legitimate problem but the wrong solution that is (already) causing more problems.

  10. Chris, I don't think that the AZ law will solve the entire problem either. But I think that it's a cry for help. And I desperately hope that the attention and emotions that it has raised accross the political spectrum will cause Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress to finally do something about the problem. The fact is that the current situation works for nobody not citizens, not legal immigrants, and not illegal immigrants. Matter of fact, the only people it works for are drug and human traffickers and industries that run off of illegal immigrant cheap labor.Congress needs to stop worrying about the politics of this and do something to fix it.

  11. FAIR research suggests that "between 40 and 50 percent of wage-loss among low-skilled Americans is due to the immigration of low-skilled workers. Some native workers lose not just wages but their jobs through immigrant competition. An estimated 1,880,000 American workers are displaced from their jobs every year by immigration; the cost for providing welfare and assistance to these Americans is over $15 billion a year." The National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, found in 1997 that the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime. The average immigrant with only a high school education creates a lifetime fiscal burden of $31,000.8 80% of cocaine and 50% of heroin in the U.S. is smuggled across the border by Mexican nationals. Drug cartels spend a half-billion dollars per year bribing Mexico's corrupt generals and police officials, and armed confrontations between the Mexican army and U.S. Border Patrol agents are a real threat. There have been 118 documented incursions by the Mexican military over the last five years. Illegal aliens have cost billions of taxpayer-funded dollars for medical services. Dozens of hospitals in Texas, New Mexico Arizona, and California, have been forced to close or face bankruptcy because of federally-mandated programs requiring free emergency room services to illegal aliens. Taxpayers pay half-a-billion dollars per year incarcerating illegal alien criminals. Immigration is a net drain on the economy; corporate interests reap the benefits of cheap labor, while taxpayers pay the infrastructural cost. FAIR research shows "the net annual cost of immigration has been estimated at between $67 and $87 billion a year. The National Academy of Sciences found that the net fiscal drain on American taxpayers is between $166 and $226 a year per native household. Even studies claiming some modest overall gain for the economy from immigration ($1 to $10 billion a year) have found that it is outweighed by the fiscal cost ($15 to $20 billion a year) to native taxpayers."

  12. Jamie,First, let me say that I agree with your premise that the AZ immigration law is being unfairly cast as "racist" and that frivously using the term ultimately dilutes its usefulness for actual cases of true racism. Words matter and we should be careful how we use them.Second, I applaud your conclusions that we should 1. Secure the border, 2. enforce the law, and 3. have a good legal way for people to enter our country that are decent, hard-working people wishing to become Americans. This job, in my opinion, falls squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration and the Legislative Branch of government.Third, regarding the AZ immigration law, while I agree with what it is trying to implement in principle, I am concerned regarding its implementation. As a member of a minority group, I am concerned that certain aspects of the law are too vague and thus prime for potential abuse. For example, what exactly constitutes "proper proof of citizenship?" Exactly what criteria is law enforcement to apply as "probable cause" to question someone regarding their citizenship? Without these specifics, I'm afraid the implementation will lead to racial profiling. For example, Prince William County, Virginia has a somewhat similar posture regarding illegal immigrants. As a matter of course, a White House staffer, who was born in the United States, but whose parents are orginially from another part of the world, is routinely stopped in Prince William County and asked to prove his citizenship, notwithstanding the fact that he was born in the USA and works for the Federal Government. On the surface, it seems that law enforcement "pulled" him based on his physical appearance. This raises another question, what is considered "proper proof of citizenship" for people born in the United States? Many state driver's license do not have any indication of "citizenship" and U.S. citizens are not given any special identification identifying their citzenship. How does a person, immigrant or US citizen, actually prove, at a road side stop in AZ, that they are legally in the country? "The devil is in the details" as they say. I merely point these things out as real problems that are fueling the rhetoric in this debate.Fourth, I do think the root of the problem is the failure of a comprehensive immigration reform bill from the Federal Government. It is somewhat oxymoronic that illegal immgrants can serve in the United States Armed Forces and are used as cheap labor, while at the same time we claim there is an immigration problem. I do not pretend to have the answers, but I do think that is the biggest part of the problem.On this particular issue my friend, at the end of the day, I think you and I are closer on this issue than I would have originally thought.Keep up the blog. I like it…even if I am an left leaving, independent voter. 😉

  13. I am not very worried about racial profiling because the law says that the cops can't just randomly ask people that look mexican for their papers. Matter of fact, they have to have stopped them for some other reason and have a basis for asking that cannot be race. But mostly I just don't think most cops are racicist. A good portion of the AZ police is hispanic, and even those who aren't, they are good men, not Nazi Gestapo. With occassional exceptions I think that our police and military are made up of the best of us. Arizona can't solve this problem though. It has to be the federal government stepping up to do their job of protecting our national borders.Still, I understand that Arizona is just trying to protect itself and doing what the congress has been unwilling to do for political reasons, for decades.

  14. I would only point out that the law and law enforcement policy, in every state, for quite sometime has banned racial profiling, but yet racial profiling still exist. Law enforcement has been "pulling people over" for years, ostensibly for some justifiable reason, but in reality because of racial profiling criteria. I do not mean to imply that many or even a majority of law enforcement officers engage in this type of behavior. The reality is, however, that some of them do and it only takes a few bad incidents to fuel a national perception of unfair treatment under the law. Just because the AZ law says that law enforcement can't randomly ask people for "their papers" (which we have yet to define), doesn't mean that they won't. I agree that AZ has a right to protect itself, but this particular solution needs some refinement.

  15. I just don't have a better suggestion for AZ right now than this law. I think they have refined it to try to prevent any racial profiling. Which is why they amended it last week to say that the police have to have detained the person for another infraction or crime before they can even ask for proof of being here legally. So I think that AZ is doing the best they can. But even those in AZ have to recognize that the best possible outcome of this law would be motivating those in Washington to do something about their dereliction of duty to protect our borders and enforce our laws.I also hold the federal government responsible for making it so difficult to come here legally. We need a much wider front door so people stop coming in the window and so that we can know who is entering our country. Everyone wants the hardworking immigrants to come. They renew us and remind us to appreciate what we have in America. We need a new "Ellis Island" mentality. But when the window is open, those folks are accompanied by drug smugglers, human smugglers and, I fear, even terrorists.This will also stop the business who literally feed off cheap, illegal immigrant labor in a way, not as bad as, but reminiscent of slavery. It leads to a class of workers somehow less valued and respected than their citizen counterparts. And that is unconscionable.

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