Since today is Cinco de Mayo, our attention turns to Mexico in about the same way as we think of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, i.e., not much. As I see it, both of these days are just excuses to party. But I am neither Irish nor Mexican.

Your papers, please

But since our attention has turned to Mexico today, the topic of Arizona’s recent law making being in the state illegally a state crime will surely come up. And one common refrain from the left is the shock and horror of some cop demanding, “Your papers, please.” How like Nazi Germany! A quick search for the phrase and Arizona brings up many thousands of hits across the web as people hyperventilate over Arizona’s new law.

Evil, nasty Nazis! The new Arizona law must be evil incarnate, right? How could the government of Arizona pass such a terrible law?!? Even President Obama is speaking out against the cruel and unfair nature of this new law:

Indeed, our failure to act responsibly, at the federal level, will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

In fact I’ve instructed members in my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country. As a nation, as a people, we can choose a different future. A future that keeps faith with our history, with our heritage, and with the hope that America has always inspired the hearts of people all over the world.

And here goes our President again, obsessed with fairness.

But here’s the kicker: the law Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed closely mirrors the existing laws against illegal aliens that we already have, but aren’t enforcing, at the federal level. If Arizona’s new law is irresponsible and unfair, then so are the federal laws. The dirty little secret is that the federal laws are both responsible and fair. But the federal government doesn’t want to enforce it, as President Obama admits, and so Arizona decided to act.

“But how dare Arizona law-makers force people to carry documentation that they are in the state legally! That’s Nazi fascism!” Well, no. It’s just common sense. When I was recently in London, I carried with me my passport to prove I was both an American citizen and legally in the country. Mark Steyn recently wrote about the need to have documentation here in the States:

As I write, I have my papers on me — and not just because I’m in Arizona. I’m an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law-enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.

Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?

Er, well, that would be Franklin Roosevelt.

The Arizona law merely enforces the 70-year-old federal requirement. And no, the police will not be stopping people who are “too brown” and asking for “Ihre Papiere, bitte” in their best German accents. Only those people who have already be stopped by police for some reason may be asked to produce residency documentation. I guess it’s similar to seat belt laws in many states. These laws say you must have seat belts on when you drive, but the cops can’t stop you just because you aren’t wearing them. They have to stop you for some other reason first.

So on this Cinco de Mayo, drink your Corona cerveza and enjoy yourself. If you are in this country legally, you are most welcome, but please have your documentation with you as the federal law has required for many decades, and as the new Arizona law will soon require.

And if you are here illegally, don’t protest, march, or complain about how unfair the laws of this nation are. Just return to your mother country and reenter the United States legally this time. It’s that simple.