Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.
One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.
The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.
I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:
The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.
Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.
Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.
Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:
The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].
With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.
As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.
When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.
And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”