Arizona’s new immigration law allowing police to pull over and require proof of immigration status from anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being illegally in the county, has, among other things, pretty much guaranteed that immigration will be the hot button election topic between now and November. And may force the federal government to finally pass some sort of sweeping immigration reform before the rest of the nation’s border states decide to follow Arizona’s lead and construct their own.
Today’s This Week roundtable discussion on the decision provided a fairly solid microcosm of the spectrum of the reactions nationwide. Let’s being with George Will, who more or less thinks this is a reasonable response to an overwhelming problem that the Feds should, but aren’t dealing with:
Before Washington lectures Arizonans on irresponsibility, perhaps Washington ought to attend to the central attribute of national sovereignty which is to control the borders. We are the only developed nation in the world with a 2,000 mile border with an undeveloped country and we have a magnet of a welfare state to the north. So this is not Arizona’s fault. Beyond that, this should be said however. Reasonable suspicion is going to put upon the police of Arizona a terribly difficult job.
I imagine this is going to be the line Obama comes up against from now until November from everyone defending and/or supporting this bill. And here’s the line everyone supporting and/or defending this bill is going to come up against from both Dems and civil liberty proponents courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Cynthia Tucker:
Several law enforcement agencies have actually opposed the bill. Not only for that reason because they have no idea what it means to say reasonable suspicion. A California Republican has said you can tell an illegal immigrant by the shoes they wear. Of course this is an invitation to racial profiling. Everyone with a Spanish surname, everyone with a certain look, you may or may not be Latino. There are people in my family who look as if they could be Latino. It harkens back to apartheid where all black people in South Africa were required to carry documents in order to move from one part of town to another.
Paul Krugman followed up on this line and, moreover, basically called the Tea Partiers a bunch of hypocrites:
We have these massive protests in this country about alleged authoritarian tendencies that we are going to have some kind of — inside the Obama/Hitler stuff — the idea that the government is encroaching too much in our lives.
And now all of the sudden, we have by pretty much the same people, demanding that we set up a system that will turn us into one of those apocryphal foreign authoritarian regimes where the police are saying hand over your papers, right? A world where you constantly have to prove who you are. And yes, it will be racial profiling but who knows what else?
Krugman is also upset because he is convinced that the timing of this law will push immigration to the forefront, thereby insuring that the government never gets around to dealing with Climate Change reform, something he feels is equally if not more important. At which point George Will’s head exploded. Entire exchange below. There’s also some interesting comments from Alexis Glick about why big business would push back on immigration reform that made it harder for the Chinese and Indians to come here, but likely won’t lift a finger when it comes to Latinos. Like I said, this is just the opening round of what is going to be a long summer of immigration.
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