Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Bill

I know I break ranks with many conservatives in supporting open immigration and immediate legalization of all illegals, but from a Catholic standpoint and capitalistic standpoint, it makes the most sense.

Let me explain briefly. As Catholics (and Americans) we should be welcoming to all, especially those who like everyone's ancestors came seeking a better future - politically, economically, etc. - for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren.

Secondly, capitalism advocated as little regulation as possible to enable the market to dictate the economy. Anyone who has taken microeconomics can tell you that the three principle parts (or factors of productions) are land (natural resources), capital, and labor. Why not let labor freely be exchanged as conservatives argue capital and land are?

Anyway, it was with great horror that I saw Arizona pass its new law . The law gives local and state officials the right to stop a person "where a reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States."

Essentially, an officer driving down the street can ask persons to prove whether they are legally or illegally in the country at any time and without warrant. Besides issues of racial profiling, the law seems eerily reminiscence of regimes who likewise demanded a person's papers upon request. I encourage everyone to fight against this law or learn more about the issues at stake here.

An online petition with other opportunities to fight against this legislation:


Tim said...

I agree completely, but allowing everyone in should be done after we make a couple tiny changes.

1. Eliminate minimum wage. Why should the government interfere with labor in such a fundamental way?

2. Eliminate the welfare state. Let private charities provide for those who are in need, instead of a bureaucrat.

3. As an adult, allow me to save for my own retirement (eliminate Social Security). If you are so short-sighted that you can't save something over the course of a fifty year working career, then convince your children or a private charity to provide for you.

4. As an adult, allow me to save and pay for my own medical insurance. Model all of healthcare on the customer pays system. Why is it that Lasik surgery has gone down in price and up in quality? Because people use common sense when shopping for it. The market can only work if consumers have incentives to save money, the exact opposite of our current system. The only insurance available should be catastrophic to cover big expenses. Having a small copay has perverted the system and created the monster we deal with today. Imagine if food or cars or any other industry ran the same way?

Once we set the system to reward those who work, instead of gaming the system to subsidize non-working, open the gates and let everyone in.

Catholic charity does not extend to allowing twenty million to enjoy the rights of citizenship ahead of the millions who have followed the rules and are waiting in line. Why should the cheaters already here receive the golden ticket while the honest people get the proverbial finger?

Daniel said...

If you want to drive, you have to be prepared to show your driver's license and insurance.

In many states, to vote at the polls, you have to show your license.

Before I get on the train to go to school, I have to show my pass and student ID.

To live in the State of Arizona, you have to be prepared to show your license.

There is no great "injustice" here, as some of made it out to be. AZ doesn't murder those who don't show the requisite paper; AZ doesn't permanently incarcerate them---as your passing reference to "regimes" suggests.

There are laws and AZ has the right to enforce them.

Of course, this law wouldn't be necessary if the Federal Government actually took illegal immigration seriously.

Kevin Donohue said...


In response to your comment, I would first say that riding a train, going to vote, or going to the movies are entrance-based activities. In order to do those activities, identification must and should be presented.

This is not the same thing as driving or living in Arizona. People can drive all the time without a license, they risk punishment if they are caught, but most likely will only be stopped if they are driving in an illegal manner - speeding, swerving, etc.

How does a police officer then determine if someone is "living" illegally in Arizona? What is a fair way that Officer Smith on patrol in his car can determine whether I or anyone else am here legally or not? This is where cries of discrimination justly come in.

Daniel said...


This law does not permit an officer to arrest someone merely on the "reasonable suspicion" that he is here illegally. It doesn't even allow him to ask for identification merely on this reasonable suspicion either. Before one can act on his "reasonable suspicious," it is a requirement of the law that the officer must already be in "lawful contact" with the person in question. "Lawful contact" means that the officer is already engaged in some sort of action with the person (traffic stop, etc.).

All people are subject to new AZ law. Only illegal immigrants have to worry.

If an officer in AZ ought to be blind to the fact that most illegal immigrants in AZ are from Mexico, if he ought not to factor this into his "reasonable suspicion," then maybe we should make it requirement that whenever one uses a state road or enters a public facility, one should present his identification.

Would that be okay in your book? No profiling whatsoever.

Kevin Donohue said...

Having read the bill, which is quite short actually, it makes no provisions in preventing profiling in the execution of this law, a gaping hole to say the least.

My understanding is that this will be determined by the police force itself in training officers to apply the law.

My largest issue - besides the complete lack of human consideration at large with the whole immigration problem - is this lack of provision, which smacks of a police state to me. So you honestly think that a police-force, who is largely non-Hispanic, is going to stop everyone?

Call me cynical, but I strongly doubt it.

Daniel said...


What is profiling exactly? I ask this question honestly, as I'm not quite sure.

For anyone who is in US legally, a simple flick of an ID card will be sufficient to calm any fears. Is this really the great injustice here?

I have been required to go through extended check-in procedures at the airport simply because my surname is also shared by many suspected terrorists, regardless of the fact that I'm the whitest Catholic guy you'd ever meet. It's a small price to pay for added security at home in my beloved country.

Making this out to be typical of a "police state" is a stretch, a false allusion to the horrible injustices that have actually occurred under countries that truly deserve the title "police state."

In particular, since you have read the bill, you also know that your allusion fails insofar as a person who, in the course of events, is detained illegally is able to appeal to a higher authority and receive monetary compensation for the unjustified detention. Would you find such a provision in the laws of true police states? I think not.

Notwithstanding all of these points, the law has already been effective in deterring illegal immigration.

Sarah said...

Daniel, can you substantiate your claim that "the law has already been effective in deterring illegal immigration"?

Daniel said...


In the grand hooplah over the merits of the bill and what the bill could achieve, many illegal immigrants have been reported to be leaving the state. Just do a google search on "illegal immigrants leaving arizona."

Arizona, just by passage of the law and not necessarily by enforcement of the law, has been effective in curtailing illegal immigration in its state.