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Phoenix gay group accuses HRC of putting “coalition” interests ahead of gay businesses

Timothy Kincaid

June 29th, 2010

The Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is not pleased that the Human Rights Campaign is discouraging gay individuals and couples from traveling to Arizona or doing business with Arizona gay businesses. And they have been frustrated in their attempts to get HRC to consider their concerns. (FoxNews)

“They haven’t even read SB 1070. … They don’t even really know what’s going on around here,” Joseph Gesullo, chairman of the Phoenix gay chamber, said of the organizations calling for boycotts. “It’s really just hurting the people of Arizona.”

Gesullo has been able to negotiate with another group, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber, who has expressed support for Arizona’s gay business operators.

But Gesullo said the Human Rights Campaign has “absolutely” resisted requests to tone down the boycott. He accused the group of kowtowing to Latino advocacy groups as well as the Service Employees International Union and expressed concern that the move would discourage gay and lesbian couples from visiting Arizona. That, in turn, hurts the hundreds of Phoenix businesses that count themselves as chamber members, he said.

And Gesullo may not be completely incorrect.

[Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz] denied that the Human Rights Campaign launched the boycott just because the SEIU wanted it, but said there’s nothing wrong with working as a “coalition.” He said there’s a strong connection between those who support Arizona’s immigration law and those “who would bring similar harm” to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

While I’m not sure a boycott will have any effect on businesses or interests that oppose gay equality, it is likely to keep away many who might shop in a gay business or contribute to a gay cause.

It is always fascinating when gay organizations put the interests of outside members of a coalition ahead of the interests of gay individuals and organizations. I wonder if those coalition partners would do the same?

Comments

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Eddie89
June 29th, 2010 | LINK

Kincaid wrote:

…I wonder if those coalition partners would do the same?

Perhaps this is the whole point.

By standing with our Hispanic brothers and sisters, gay, straight or otherwise, during this time of increasing anti-immigrant fervor, perhaps they will see that the LGBT community is just like them, a minority. And that we have to stick together.

HRC is on the right track with this one.

NO SB-1070!

Jim Burroway
June 29th, 2010 | LINK

For me, this isn’t a matter of quid quo pro. It’s a matter of standing up for what is right. SB-1070 is wrong. It will do nothing to stop illegal immigration, but it will justify Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Arpaio’s well-documented habit of placing anyone with brown skin under the burden of proving their citizenship.

This is wrong is so many ways it makes me want to scream. Not the least of which is the impulse to blindly lash out at people who are different — the same impulse that led the very same legislature and governor to rescind domestic partnership benefits to state employees earlier this year, despite assurances during the Prop 102 campaign that they would do no such thing. The same threads of bigotry and disingenuous assurances run through both actions. The LGBT citizens of Arizona were just the canary in the coal mine.

Bryan J Blumberg
June 29th, 2010 | LINK

Arizona SB 1070 Says the following:
FOR ANY LAWFUL STOP, DETENTION OR ARREST MADE BY A LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN
OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF ANY
OTHER LAW OR ORDINANCE OF A COUNTY, CITY OR TOWN OR THIS STATE WHERE
REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN AND IS
UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE
MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON,
EXCEPT IF THE DETERMINATION MAY HINDER OR OBSTRUCT AN INVESTIGATION. ANY
PERSON WHO IS ARRESTED SHALL HAVE THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS
DETERMINED BEFORE THE PERSON IS RELEASED. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS
SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES
CODE SECTION 1373(c). A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE
OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY
NOT SOLELY CONSIDER RACE, COLOR OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IN IMPLEMENTING THE
REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBSECTION EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY THE
UNITED STATES OR ARIZONA CONSTITUTION. A PERSON IS PRESUMED TO NOT BE AN
ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IF THE PERSON
PROVIDES TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.
2. A VALID ARIZONA NONOPERATING IDENTIFICATION LICENSE.
3. A VALID TRIBAL ENROLLMENT CARD OR OTHER FORM OF TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION.
4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED
STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL
GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.

The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution says the following:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It appears that the definition of “lawful stop” is very broad. Furthermore “reasonable suspicion” is not defined. So, basically the police can stop you for just about anything and then if they decide to suspect that you are undocumented, they are required to hold you until your immigration status can be verified. Certain papers can be presented to avoid detention.

To boil this down, the police can pretty much detain anybody at any time for any reason and demand that they show their papers. The detained person is not secure in his papers and the police are not required to get a search warrant.

This is a violation of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. If you think this law is a good idea, then you should change the Constitution before this law can be enforced.

I think that this law has a tremendous potential to be abused by certain bigoted law enforcement officers. Many gay people “look illegal” and furthermore, gay people face discrimination by our nation’s immigration laws.

Someone who “looks illegal” could potentially be stopped and coerced into showing ID every day in violation of that person’s freedom and constitutional rights to be secure in his papers.

Arizona was the last state to adopt Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday, and they only enacted the holiday after a boycott of their state. Immigration reform is definitely a gay issue, so I agree with HRC’s boycott of Arizona.

Eric in Oakland
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

First of all, some gay people are also Latino. I am somewhat offended by the implication of this article that the LGBT community does not include members of other minorities.

I am also upset by the apparent insensitivity toward the plight of those discriminated against for other reasons than orientation. A very common criticism that I heard from black acquaintances after the passage of Prop 8 was that they could not get passionate about gay rights issues when LGBT organizations showed no inclination to fight discrimination in other areas. This reaction seems to validate their point. I am pleased that HRC at least appears to have learned something from the Prop 8 debacle.

Furthermore, my partner is a Mexican who has lived in this country for most of his life but does not have US citizenship. Because immigration laws unfairly discriminate against LGBT couples, we are at much greater risk of being harmed by movements such as that in Arizona. I wish that more people appreciated just how badly gay people are being harmed by current immigration laws and anti-immigrant sentiment. In my opinion this is just as much a gay rights issue as the struggle for marriage equality.

jake
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

HRC is quite right. It is also right that we support trade unions. My unions (3, plus 1 professional association) stand by us in New York, let’s try to help them in AZ. It’s a dreadful law representing the worst aspects of US xenophobia.

Ben Mathis
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Glad to see all the comments siding with the HRC. Businesses run by GLBT members should be understanding of the HRC decision, not whining about loss of dollars. The boycott is because of an extremely discriminatory law passed by AZ, and if they weren’t putting their bottom dollar over the value of human rights, they’d see that.

And it’s absolutely the same people who deny gay rights that are creating the racist policies and laws like this.

Ben Mathis
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Also I was unaware the HRC was only a gay rights group. I thought it stood for “human rights” of which our Hispanic and brown looking american friends belong (those racially targeted by the new law).

I find this post incredibly insensitive and myopic.

Mike Camardelle
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

For once, I’m siding with the HRC. While I’ve blasted them recently for basically turning their backs on the LGBT community as far as taking ‘progress’ to the next level, they are on target with promoting, directly or indirectly, a boycott on AZ. It’s a ‘Human Rights’ issue, not a LGBT one. The unlawful profiling that this SB-1070 encourages is a direct violation of ethical code.

I’m against illegal immigrants as much as anyone. I just don’t think this law in AZ is the right way to go about handling the situation. We have Mexican men framing and bricking our home. They are working their butts off from morning to night. ALL are documented. ALL are drug-tested by our contractor. ALL are the most polite individuals I’ve ever met. There’s a certain enjoyment trying to communicate with the couple who struggle with English and I struggle with Spanish.

The stereotyping by the AZ governor is absurd and about as racist as our governor here in MS. It’s so sad to think that all of this is a product of right-wing, ultra-conservatives driving the Tea Party movement. When President Obama was elected, I thought for once we’d bridged the span of our past civil rights history. All that has happened is a nation more divided than ever, which is extremely saddening.

Swampfox
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Can someone craft a law that will stop the illegal immigration across the Mexican-Arizona border and not step on someone’s toes? Can King Solomon step forward on this one?

andrew
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

I guess my question is how many Latino groups are standing up for LGBT interests to the same extent? I hate to put it in those terms, but I’m a little tired of being “old faithful” — whether in expected party loyalty, “coalition” loyalty, or just being the guy family looks to.

The HRC seems to be better at advocating against this legislation than they are for LGBT issues, frankly, and I’ve concluded that they are the tool of the Democratic party to placate the gay community, rather than the non-partisan advocacy group they claim to be — which is why I no longer donate.

Lastly, my opposition to the law in Arizona isn’t to “stand in solidarity with my Latino brothers” or over questions of “human rights”, but with both the pragmatic effects of the law, and with the blatant violation of 4th Amendment principles (which apply to everyone).

Justin
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

This article pretends that there are no undocumented gay or lesbian people. It is offensive that the gay community would even consider not standing up for our more vulnerable members.

Timothy (TRiG)
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Solidarity is good. Right is right; wrong is wrong. This law is wrong; the HRC is right. It’s as simple as that.

TRiG.

Chris McCoy
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

This recent University of Washington Tea Party poll shows that the same people who overwhelmingly support Arizona’s anti-immigration law (88% support) are also overwhelmingly anti-gay (only 18% support SSM – 82% oppose).

Neon Genesis
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

“It is always fascinating when gay organizations put the interests of outside members of a coalition ahead of the interests of gay individuals and organizations. I wonder if those coalition partners would do the same?”

Since when is it wrong for the LGBT community to care about other minorities besides ourselves? Frankly it sounds like these gay businesses are demanding they be given special privileges to avoid being effected by the boycott. It’s ok to hurt straight people’s businesses with a boycott, but not gay people’s who are for an unlawful bill?

Eric in Oakland
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

@Swampfox,

If you consider violating basic rights and freedoms as a mere “step on someone’s toes” then perhaps you would consider a Soviet style ban on relocation as a proper solution. In for a penny, in for a pound…

TonyJazz
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Ben,

HRC is an organization whose focus is on gay rights issues. Yes, the name is a little confusing….

Of course, there are other organizations with a broader focus: Human Rights Watch, ACLU, etc….

Mark
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

“We have Mexican men framing and bricking our home. They are working their butts off from morning to night. ALL are documented. ALL are drug-tested by our contractor. ALL are the most polite individuals I’ve ever met.”

Great, then they realize that U.S. law already requires them to carry their green card at all times and they will have no problems with the police. And anyone else will have no problems with the police if they carry their proof of legal status with them when in public as most already do. I have no problem showing the police my I.D. Why should you? Unless you are here illegally.

“Not the least of which is the impulse to blindly lash out at people who are different”

Ridiculous. This is about enforcing our immigration laws.

Mark
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

“And it’s absolutely the same people who deny gay rights that are creating the racist policies and laws like this.”

Then Mexico must be racist, as they have some of the strictist immigration laws on the books of any country.

Jim Burroway
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Of course, there is no law requiring Americans to carry identity cards with them everywhere they go. So what do you do if you’re out jogging without your wallet in your brown American skin and get picked up in one of Sherrif Arpaio’s infamous sweeps? What do you do if you carpool to your construction site and leave your wallet at home because you’re not going to need it?

Every argument in support of this law supposes that only illegals will be stopped by police and hauled off to detention if they don’t have I.D. on them. We’ve already had cases where legal immigrants and citizens were detained by Phoenix sherrif deputies because they can’t prove they belong here — and that was before the law was passed.

This law is racist, proposed by bigots. Gov. Brewer recently said that “most” undocumented immigrants were carrying drugs, a charge that is hogwash. In her latest tirade, she claimed that there have been beheaded bodies found in the desert, a claim that has law enforcement scratching their heads.

This is the SAME brand of hysteria that drives anti-gay politics. But I guess as long as that hysteria is directed toward someone else, well that’s just fine and dandy in some quarters.

Chris McCoy
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Mark said:

Ridiculous. This is about enforcing our immigration laws.

If SB1070 came close to doing anything about illegal immigration, I would agree with you.

This law does not stop anyone from crossing the US border illegally.

Please point me to the section in SB1070 that stops people from crossing the border.

Swampfox said:

Can someone craft a law that will stop the illegal immigration across the Mexican-Arizona border and not step on someone’s toes? Can King Solomon step forward on this one?

This statement implies that all opponents of SB1070 are in favor of unrestrained/unmonitored cross-border activity. This is not the case.

This law (SB1070) is not a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. This law is racial profiling aimed at Hispanics.

Chris McCoy
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Mark said:

Then Mexico must be racist, as they have some of the strictist immigration laws on the books of any country.

If little Jimmy jumps off the bridge, must we also?

Mexico also uses Guilty untill Proven Innocent system of law.

But then, SB1070 effectively makes all Hispanics Guilty of illegal immigration untill Proven Innocent.

Timothy Kincaid
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

As I have said in the past, I am not sure that this law is a good decision. (Okay, read that again… I’m not defending the law so don’t accuse me of that)

Now having gotten that on record, I think that some of the comments here are not about the merits of this law at all. Instead of discussing exactly what provisions are objectionable and what would be a reasonable approach, it seems that we have lapsed into group-think and efforts to shut down communication.

Rather then discuss what is a reasonable approach to enforcement of immigration laws, this discussion seems to consist solely of accusations of racism, bigotry, and evil.

But that is neither productive nor reasonable. To assert that everyone who does not actively oppose this bill is a racist is preposterous. To claim that the sole motivation for the legislation is anti-Mexican bigotry is simply not a believable claim.

Most of those who oppose this bill have been quick to assert that they believe in enforcing the immigration laws. I’m not sure I believe that.

If you are in favor of enforcement, then let’s discuss what you would support.

I think it is reasonable to assume that all drivers in Arizona must have a valid drivers license. So a provision that checks the legal status of a driver who is stopped for traffic reasons but who does not have a license would seem not to be racist – rather, it would seem obvious.

Can you support that?

Secondly, as a provision for citizenship, one is required to display an ability to read, write and speak ordinary English. There are some exceptions (the elderly and the infirm), but in general can we agree that if someone is neither elderly nor infirm but yet they cannot speak even the most limited and basic of English, that they are overwhelmingly not likely to be a US Citizen.

This isn’t to say that this is a good way of measuring Citizenship. Obviously not everyone who speaks English is a citizen. But virtually all of those who cannot are not citizens.

We also know that current Federal law requires that those who are in the country legally – but not citizens – to carry with them at all times proof of their legal status.

So it is not completely unreasonable to expect that those who are not elderly or infirm and who do not speak even the slightest bit of English may be asked from time to time to show their green card just as visitors to every other nation on the planet have to prove their right to be there from time to time.

Can we agree on that?

And considering that the IRS has systems in place by which the legal right to work in this country can be fairly easily checked, it is reasonable to assume that employers who have hundreds of illegal immigrants on the payroll are flouting the law for their own personal gain. And as the gain can be considerable, the penalty should also be of sufficient size as to truly discourage this practice (for example, losing your right to operate as a business for three months comes to mind – but, if not that, then something substantial).

Can we agree that crackdowns on corporate scofflaws should be common and severe?

Can we agree on any enforcement provisions? Because if you disagree with every enforcement technique, then assertions of support for policy ring awfully hollow.

And, while I’m on the subject, I want to address the accusations of racism.

We don’t want racism as an immigration policy. I’m sure you don’t, and I know that I certainly don’t.

But it is not racism to insist that those who immigrate to this nation be diverse and from a broad range of cultures. To say, “no, we will not let 90% of all immigrants be from one country” is not racism. In fact, to insist that La Raza be allowed without exception – but others not be allowed – is racism.

To enforce immigration rules against Slovakia and Estonia and Moldova but not enforce them against Mexico IS racism. And when it’s a matter of Latino interest groups pushing for unfettered immigration from Mexico while not for Eastern Europe then it is insidious racism.

So for those of you seeking to shut off differing opinions by claims of racism, you may wish to consider who is making their decisions based solely on race and who is not. And if you want to call me a racist, you loose all credibility with me.

Yes, we do need to revisit our immigration policies. Because if more immigrants are needed to the country then it’s stupid to have such limiting restrictions. And if we need guest workers, then it should be formalized.

The era of ‘make laws which are unreasonable but just don’t enforce them’ has to come to an end. We need honesty, reasonableness, but also an expectation that the laws will be honored by citizens, families, employers, landlords, and police. If they are respectable decisions that are in the best interest of this nation, then we can respect them.

But I’m not on board with the demonization of either immigrants or of Americans.

And not to jump to a knee-jerk opposition to a bill that does not seem to many legal Americans to be unfair or unreasonable does not make the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce deficient in any way. And to expect them to give up their livelihood does not make one honorable in any way.

Neon Genesis
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

“But it is not racism to insist that those who immigrate to this nation be diverse and from a broad range of cultures. To say, “no, we will not let 90% of all immigrants be from one country” is not racism.”

Likewise claiming that boycotting a business that happens to be owned by someone who is gay for a reason that has nothing to do with their sexuality is not persecution.

“But I’m not on board with the demonization of either immigrants or of Americans.”

Likewise we would appreciate it if you didn’t demonize anyone who boycotts Arizona as being homophobic.

Timothy Kincaid
June 30th, 2010 | LINK

Nope, sorry Neon Genesis, but you don’t get to put words in my mouth.

I didn’t claim that any one was “persecuted” or that anyone was “homophobic”. I did not say it, I did not insinuate it, and I did not suggest it. Now if you have anything to say about what I actually did say, then please do so.

This thread has spent far too much time in accusation and far too little in substantive conversation.

Ben Mathis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

I like how it took you a multi paragraph essay to try to waltz around the issue that AZ is possibly the most racist government in the US and this law is just more evidence.

HRC made the right decision, the law is racist, made by racists, and does nothing to address illegal immigration.

I won’t shed a single tear for any business in AZ that loses money from this boycott, be they GLBT owned or otherwise, because by choosing to do business in AZ, they pay taxes and have the most amount of say in what the government does, and they share culpability and deserve some of the harm until it’s changed. That’s how the glorious “free market” and “invisible hand” is supposed to work, isn’t it?

Ben Mathis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Box turtle bulletin is great when it focuses on bringing to light gay issues, but whenever it veers political it’s depressingly myopic and right wing.

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

“Nope, sorry Neon Genesis, but you don’t get to put words in my mouth.

I didn’t claim that any one was “persecuted” or that anyone was “homophobic”. I did not say it, I did not insinuate it, and I did not suggest it. Now if you have anything to say about what I actually did say, then please do so. ”

You accused the HRC of putting other issues ahead of gay issues by supporting the Arizona ban. Please correct me if I’m wrong but this gives the impression that you think anyone who supports the Arizona ban doesn’t care about gay issues and that gay people should never be boycotted if they support unjust laws ever.

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Typo, *who supports the Arizona boycott*

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Neon Genesis,

Please correct me if I’m wrong

You are wrong.

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

I apologize for misunderstanding your meaning but would appreciate further clarification as to what you meant then when you said this “It is always fascinating when gay organizations put the interests of outside members of a coalition ahead of the interests of gay individuals and organizations. I wonder if those coalition partners would do the same?

Jason D
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

A question left unaddressed throughout any discussion on this issue.

Illegal immigrants.

I order for something to be illegal, there would have to be a law against it, yes?

Given that there are thousands of illegal immigrants in this country, the laws dealing immigration must be
a) useless
b) not enforced properly

This new Arizona law, on top of it’s obvious license to racially profile our citizens does not solve either situation. If we’re not enforcing the laws already on the books, what is one more? If those laws aren’t effective –this law neither strengthens nor fixes that ineffectiveness.

Timothy, your driver’s license check during a stop makes sense, however this:

“This isn’t to say that this is a good way of measuring Citizenship. Obviously not everyone who speaks English is a citizen. But virtually all of those who cannot are not citizens.”

Doesn’t.

With bilingual forms, subtitles, and ethnic specific neighborhoods someone can indeed move to this country, learn enough english to pass the citizenship test, but forget it at some time afterwards. I used to be somewhat fluent in japanese, haven’t needed to use it in years, and now I can barely remember a few random phrases.

They also don’t specifically state what disabilities qualify just that they may be mental, learning, or physical. So someone could very well be 25 and have a learning disability exemption for English and look perfectly fine. Would you be able to identify a speech impendiment in a language you don’t speak? What about deaf immigrants? Would an officer be able to recognize “No really, I’m a citizen” in sign language?

The IRS has stated that illegal immigrants actually DO pay into social security, bizarre that they’re not using that to crack down—-but I absolutely agree that businesses should be scrutinized. Many of the manual labor fields that attract illegal immigrants have safety and other checks run by government agencies, why not make citizenship part of that check? I absolutely think this would be the best angle to fight illegal immigration. After all, if there are no jobs for illegals, they won’t be as enticed to cross that border, now will they?

Chris McCoy
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

I think it is reasonable to assume that all drivers in Arizona must have a valid drivers license. So a provision that checks the legal status of a driver who is stopped for traffic reasons but who does not have a license would seem not to be racist – rather, it would seem obvious.

Can you support that?

Only if it is enforced at every traffic stop, for every person regardless of race. The problem with SB1070 is the poorly worded and not-at-all defined “reasonable suspicion” clause which effectively gives racist law enforcement officers a blank check. As Jim Burroway has several times noted, law enforcement in Arizona are many times guilty of selective, race-based enforcement of the law.

Secondly, as a provision for citizenship, one is required to display an ability to read, write and speak ordinary English. There are some exceptions (the elderly and the infirm), but in general can we agree that if someone is neither elderly nor infirm but yet they cannot speak even the most limited and basic of English, that they are overwhelmingly not likely to be a US Citizen.

This isn’t to say that this is a good way of measuring Citizenship. Obviously not everyone who speaks English is a citizen. But virtually all of those who cannot are not citizens.

The Supreme Court outlawed literacy tests as a determination for voting eligibility decades ago. I am sure a similar literacy test would likewise be considered racially motivated, and therefore against the law.

And considering that the IRS has systems in place by which the legal right to work in this country can be fairly easily checked, it is reasonable to assume that employers who have hundreds of illegal immigrants on the payroll are flouting the law for their own personal gain. And as the gain can be considerable, the penalty should also be of sufficient size as to truly discourage this practice (for example, losing your right to operate as a business for three months comes to mind – but, if not that, then something substantial).

Can we agree that crackdowns on corporate scofflaws should be common and severe?

I agree with this. I think e-Verify should be Federal Law, and not an opt-in situation. I think all businesses, should be subject to random periodic screenings by law enforcement, in addition to anonymous tips from citizens.

I think this is the real avenue to combat illegal immigration. If there is no Demand for illegal workers, the supply will dry up.

But it is not racism to insist that those who immigrate to this nation be diverse and from a broad range of cultures. To say, “no, we will not let 90% of all immigrants be from one country” is not racism. In fact, to insist that La Raza be allowed without exception – but others not be allowed – is racism.

To enforce immigration rules against Slovakia and Estonia and Moldova but not enforce them against Mexico IS racism. And when it’s a matter of Latino interest groups pushing for unfettered immigration from Mexico while not for Eastern Europe then it is insidious racism.

I think we should eliminate immigration quotas entirely. For two centuries people came to our great nation for any reason, and the only question they were asked when they got here was “How do you spell your name?” I am tired of the draw-bridge syndrome in this nation – where what was good enough for our ancestors isn’t good enough for you.

And not to jump to a knee-jerk opposition to a bill that does not seem to many legal Americans to be unfair or unreasonable does not make the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce deficient in any way. And to expect them to give up their livelihood does not make one honorable in any way.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

Thank you for actually addressing what I said.

Your point about speaking Japanese is well taken, but I dare say that if you lived in Japan you would have retained your remedial skills.

We can look for the tiny exceptions for why some very few people might not speak English, but I’m sure you will agree that the case holds true for virtually everyone.

Your idea to have citizenship (or legal status) be part of safety checks is an example of looking for a solution (hint, hint, legislators). But employers don’t do it because they’d rather keep costs low, sell more, and make a higher profit.

I agree that crackdowns on employers (and landlords) would eliminate the vast majority of all non-crime related illegal entry. (Ummm… Hello, politicians of either stripe??)

And it isn’t just Mega-Corporations or Big Agriculture that is making enforcement difficult.

About the third time that ‘Joe the Discount Construction Guy’ was fined $50,000 for using guys at Home Depot instead of skilled American labor, he might decide that there really are Americans who “are willing to do the job” provided he pays them a wage they can live on. Especially with this economy.

And if Mrs. McMansion found that fines for hiring a maid who isn’t legal cost her a new Lexis this year, she might be willing to go with someone who really isn’t willing to take verbal abuse or work bizarre hours.

For some reason those who do the illegal hiring don’t seem to suffer the social cost of a vastly increased under-skilled economically-disadvantaged population. The ER in their neighborhood didn’t close. Their neighbors didn’t suddenly become ten single men living in a two bedroom apartment. Their streets don’t have cars without smog checks or mufflers. Their schools don’t struggle with language and culture barriers and an influx of children dependent on school subsidy programs for everything.

Hiring under the table saves them a lot and costs them nothing. Perhaps it should.

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Given that there are thousands of illegal immigrants in this country, the laws dealing immigration must be
a) useless
b) not enforced properly

c) a lot of both

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Chris,

Only if it is enforced at every traffic stop, for every person regardless of race.

I’m good with that.

I am sure a similar literacy test would likewise be considered racially motivated, and therefore against the law.

I didn’t mention literacy tests not did I say anything that suggested literacy tests. The language I used, (“required to display an ability to read, write and speak ordinary English”) was taken from the Department of State website.

I’m talking about those folks who speak only Romanian or only Swahili or only Spanish or only French and no English. That is a pretty clear clue that they aren’t citizens.

I think we should eliminate immigration quotas entirely. For two centuries people came to our great nation for any reason, and the only question they were asked when they got here was “How do you spell your name?” I am tired of the draw-bridge syndrome in this nation – where what was good enough for our ancestors isn’t good enough for you.

Here we can have disagreement.

When my ancestors got here (the ones who had not been here for 10,000 years) they did not have a safety net designed to protect the less fortunate. We have a better, more caring society today.

But we can’t really care for the entire world’s poor. I don’t think we could absorb all of those who would like to be covered by such a safety net.

Sadly, I think that having no limitations at all would require that the safety-net we currently provide be eliminated for everyone. Or, that we go completely broke.

Jim Burroway
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Only if it is enforced at every traffic stop, for every person regardless of race.

That’s fine with me. However, what about Arpaio’s famous sweeps where he picks up abuelitos walking to the corner market without ID. That’s a very real occurrence here in the barrios.

I’m talking about those folks who speak only Romanian or only Swahili or only Spanish or only French and no English. That is a pretty clear clue that they aren’t citizens.

Not necessarily. Many of those abuelitos don’t speak English, and they were born and raised here, making them US citizens. Not to mention the fact that Arizona has tons of Tohondo O’odam, Pascua Yaqui, Apache, Hopi, Navaho, and many others who are more American than any of us here who still only speak their mother tongue. An ability so speak English is not a reliable indicator, especially in the locales that some in local law enforcement like to target.

Let me be clear. My complaint is not against what inconveniences may befall those who are here illegally. It is the suspicion of being unAmerican that is directed toward American Citizens that I think we all ought to find deeply offensive, as well as the burden that some of us (but not me, of course; I’m white) must go through to prove we belong here even though there is no legal requirement that we carry ID everywhere we go.

The only way to make this work is to have a national ID card with a legal requirement that we must carry it with us at all times, whether we are driving or not. Anyone want to sign up for that?

Chris McCoy
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Tim Kincaid said:

I didn’t mention literacy tests not did I say anything that suggested literacy tests. The language I used, (“required to display an ability to read, write and speak ordinary English”) was taken from the Department of State website.

What is a literacy test if it is not a test to determine the ability to “read, write and speak” a specific language?

Our country has no official language. I disagree with the belief that people should be required to speak English to live in the US. I feel that English-only arguments are racially biased. It implies that non-English speakers are less than English speakers.

I agree that speaking English is beneficial, but I disagree that it should it be required. One of my disappointments in our National Education system is the lack of a foreign language requirement for all high school graduates. We require all immigrants to learn a 2nd language, English, but we can’t even require the same of our own citizens? Besides, many of the limmigrants (my landlord, and my gardener, for example) I know speak English better than many of my own relatives.

When my ancestors got here (the ones who had not been here for 10,000 years) they did not have a safety net designed to protect the less fortunate. We have a better, more caring society today.

But we can’t really care for the entire world’s poor. I don’t think we could absorb all of those who would like to be covered by such a safety net.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Not necessarily. Many of those abuelitos don’t speak English, and they were born and raised here, making them US citizens. Not to mention the fact that Arizona has tons of Tohondo O’odam, Pascua Yaqui, Apache, Hopi, Navaho, and many others who are more American than any of us here who still only speak their mother tongue. An ability so speak English is not a reliable indicator, especially in the locales that some in local law enforcement like to target.

Thanks for the clarification. Here in Los Angeles, it is a fairly reliable indicator. We don’t have any indigenous peoples who speak their own language.

The only way to make this work is to have a national ID card with a legal requirement that we must carry it with us at all times, whether we are driving or not. Anyone want to sign up for that?

It sounds to me like you are saying that there is only one way to enforce immigration and that no one wants to sign up for that one way. So it’s hard for me to see much support for enforcing immigration policies in that statement.

People are looking for solutions. And they will come up with answers, whether or not we like the answers they come up with.

But if the only counter proposal on the table is “NO!” then their solutions will be the solutions that are used.

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Chris,

You can believe anything you like about language requirements. English is a requirement to become a naturalized citizen. It seems to me that your real objection is not with the way in which immigration policy is administered, but that there is an immigration policy at all.

About that we will just have to disagree.

And by the way, all of my ancestors were here before that poem was ever written. It’s a lovely sentiment, but we can’t pay for it.

Emily K
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

And by the way, all of my ancestors were here before that poem was ever written. It’s a lovely sentiment, but we can’t pay for it.

Thank god you’re one of the “purebred” Americans who were here before all those dirty irish, jews, russians, and mexicans got here! ..not to mention anyone ELSE who isn’t protestant.

Timothy Kincaid
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

You crack me up. My family heritage is a Mutt. I don’t know of any russians or mexicans, but I have both Irish and Jewish ancestors among my American family.

Others include English, Welsh, Dutch, Cherokee, Alsatian, Scottish, and I’m sure a lot else. I don’t know my mother’s ethnic mix that well, she was a secretive woman and the historical records for poor people in Arkansas are not particularly good – especially if you were native.

(now your backwards way of calling me a bigot didn’t play out so well, did it?)

Emily K
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Since nearly all of what you mentioned falls into one small section of Northern Europe (where the hair is fair and skin even fairer), I believe it is your use of your ancestry to release you from your bigoted remark falls apart.

Which makes you a WASP. a WASP who, since their ancestors arrived at the dawn of this great nation, doesn’t need to “pay for” the mistake of having the poem tacked on to the statue of “liberty.”

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

“Can we agree on that?”

Governor Brewer stated that she doesn’t know how to tell what an illegal immigrant. If this bill is supposed to target people who look suspiciously illegal, we should have a plan in place to determine who is illegal. Can we agree on that?

Republicans have stated we can tell who looks illegal by the clothes they wear. It is absurd to be suspect someone based on the mere fact that they don’t dress “American.” Can we agree on that?

Russell Pearce, the main sponsor of the Arizona immigration law, has also previously sent out racist emails from a white supremacist group. If a politician is trying to convince people that a draconian immigration law that presumes everyone who doesn’t look obviously American is an illegal citizen has no racism involved, it is a bad idea to send out racist emails that deny the Jewish Holocaust to the politician’s supporters. Can we agree on that?

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

Typo, *what an illegal immigrant looks like

Emily K
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

I don’t know what to do about illegal immigration. All I know is saying things like “my ancestors got here before the poem on the statue of liberty, so i shouldn’t have to pay for it [it being its invitation to people seeking to become American]” does not help one’s cause, or lend them credibility.

Mark
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

“This law is racial profiling aimed at Hispanics.”

False, the law prohibits racial profiling. The police just can’t stop someone because they look Hispanic. However, if the police make a lawful stop or arrest they can ask for proof of legal residency. Oh, the horror! This is not Nazi Germany, folks, but the way it works in most Western countries.

Mark
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

But let’s just suppose that the police, in disregard of the law, just stop anyone who looks Hispanic and demand identification. Well, I don’t know about you, but I carry I.D. every time I go out in public. So, if you have proper I.D. this will be nothing more than a couple of minutes of inconvenience.

Neon Genesis
July 1st, 2010 | LINK

It says they can’t pull you over solely for race. It didn’t say it couldn’t pull you over for race if you have another trumped up cause to excuse your actions with.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

Which makes you a WASP. a WASP who, since their ancestors arrived at the dawn of this great nation, doesn’t need to “pay for” the mistake of having the poem tacked on to the statue of “liberty.”

In addition to misquoting both my words and my intent, your comments are unquestionably racist, extremely offensive hate speech, and completely out of line.

One more derogatory comment about the race of anyone here – including me – and I’m going to ask Jim to ban you.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

And, for what it’s worth, Emily, no one would ever mistake me for Northern European. I have neither fair hair nor fair skin so your bigoted assumptions are entirely without basis.

But were I fair haired or fair eyed or fair skinned or with facial features common in Northern Europe, I still would be entitled to be judged on my character rather than on my pigmentation.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Mark,

I certainly don’t want a policy of “just stop anyone who looks Hispanic and demand identification.” That’s not the kind of country I want to live in.

Ben Mathis
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Too bad, because that is the type of country you live in. The US police system supports racially biased profiling in every single state, AZ being the worst offender, and this law is codifying it even more.

Emily K
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

You let Quo troll this site for months at a time, hijacking threads left and right, and I argue with you twice, and i get threatened with a ban if I make “one more racist comment?”

What a ridiculous double standard.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

It sounds to me like you are saying that there is only one way to enforce immigration and that no one wants to sign up for that one way. So it’s hard for me to see much support for enforcing immigration policies in that statement.

People are looking for solutions. And they will come up with answers, whether or not we like the answers they come up with.

But if the only counter proposal on the table is “NO!” then their solutions will be the solutions that are used.

I think the way we enforce immigration laws is the same way we’ve always enforced the entirity of our legal code. There are two main ways to do this:

1) When a law enforcement officer witnesses a law being broken in the act, the officer intervenes immediately to the best of his ability, apprehends to suspect, issues citations or makes arrests as appropriate, and turns the suspect over to the appropriate prosecutorial authorities following a thorough investigation.

or —

2) A complaint is made to the police department. This complaint can be as formal as a written complaint or it could be an anonymous tip phoned in. The details of the complaint are forwarded to appropriate investigators who interview witnesses, gathers evidence, etc. When they determine the likelihood that a suspect may be guilty of a crime, they obtain necessary warrents where required by law and apprehend the suspects.

This is the American way of criminal justice. It is the way we have always operated as a Western civilization. We don’t send police officers out into the street and stop people who look and speak in a manner similar to a class of people who are believed to be breaking the law and demand that they prove their innocence.

That is how third-world countries and dictatorships perform law enforcement, and it is un-American in every way. It is deeply offensive to every human rights value that we hold dear in this country and that we expect other countries to follow.

Tea party activists maliciously claim that Obama is leading this nation into fascism. And yet here we have a law enforcement methodology that is applauded by tea party activists here in Arizona that more closely resembles what they fear than anything we’ve ever done before in law enforcement — at least since the days of Jim Crow. Every American ought to be concerned about where this attitude leads. We keep saying that we ignore history at our peril, but I fear that we’ve grown too accustomed to reciting those words without heading their warning.

Priya Lynn
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “And by the way, all of my ancestors were here before that poem was ever written. It’s a lovely sentiment, but we can’t pay for it.”

What does your ancestors being in the States before the poem have to do with anything? Having early ancestors doesn’t entitle you to anything people with later ancestors are entitled to – all white people’s ancestors were immigrants and if anything should be under the rule of the original inhabitants of North America.

Jason D
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“However, if the police make a lawful stop or arrest they can ask for proof of legal residency.”

Mark it doesn’t have to be during an arrest. A woman can be raped, go to the police to report the crime and in the midst of her horror asked to prove her citizenship.

“Papers, please?”

“Gee officer, my dress is torn to shreds and I’ve no idea what happened to my purse, I was kinda trying to get away from the rapist.”

“Papers, please?”

Oh, the horror! This is not Nazi Germany, folks, but the way it works in most Western countries.

How naive. The law gives the police carte blanche to question anyone at any time. Try reading it. It simply says that while they’re on the job (which is arguably 24/7) they can check someone’s citizenship.

And while YOU may carry ID wherever, not everyone does. My grandmother didn’t even have a driver’s license. She was from a generation, especially in Chicago, where men did all the driving. There was no reason for her to have a driver’s license.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim

First I think you’ll agree that in many cases there is no formal complaint; violent public crime comes to mind. Further, in Los Angeles, gay task forces do conduct crime investigation in a manner similar to the way you state is not done.

But, setting that aside, I think we may be looking at “crime” differently here. Just to be clear, I don’t think the illegal activity is restricted to just the act of crossing the border. I believe that it is also illegal to stay in the country without authorization.

Considering that being here without permission is committing a crime, your first definition seems to encompass the language (if perhaps not the intent or spirit) of the Arizona law.

Again, I’m not defending this law, per se, but unless I’m misunderstanding you, you do not support the enforcement of immigraton law provided the immigrant is able to cross the border undetected

I do not share that interpretation of immigration enforcement.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

Quo did not make racial or ethnic slurs against you. He would have long since been banned had he done so.

You can disagree with my ideals all day long, but you cannot assert hateful assumptions about my skin color or what having my skin color says about my character.

Eddie89
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Problem: Employers need the cheapest labor they can get so they can maximize their profits.

Solution: Hire people that are willing to do a job for any amount of money.

Problem: People not born in the United States hear about these jobs and will do anything it takes to get to where the jobs are.

Solution: Black market run by criminals helps to get these people into the United States by any means necessary. Dead or alive.

Problem: Lots of dead immigrants in the Sonoran desert. Lots of crime as gangs fight with each other over turf to monopolize their territory.

Better Solution: Have the United States government create a “guest worker” type of program where these good people can enter our country legally for a specified amount of time and for a specific fee. Instead of paying the criminal “coyotes” hundreds or thousands of dollars to smuggle them into the United States, these immigrants could pay these monies to the United States government.

After “legally” working in the United States, the guest worker can return to their country of origin or they can extend their guest worker permit by paying a renewal fee.

Also, while the guest worker is working in the United States, they will be paying taxes. ALL taxes! Even if they will not be qualified for retirement benefits, they should still pay into the system as a courtesy for being allowed to live and work in this nation.

Including paying for their own health insurance benefits, should they get sick or injured while working in the U.S.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

What does your ancestors being in the States before the poem have to do with anything? Having early ancestors doesn’t entitle you to anything people with later ancestors are entitled to – all white people’s ancestors were immigrants and if anything should be under the rule of the original inhabitants of North America.

My point was just about timing. The New Colossus, while a lovely sentiment, is just a poem. It is not a founding document of our country. It wasn’t even enscribed on the statue until 1901.

While many folks who came by the statue and through Ellis Island may revere the idea of “bring us your poor”, it is not our nation’s formal invitation for the entire world’s poor to come.

That’s it. Nothing more. It wasn’t an assuption of privilege. And it definitely wasn’t a “race” thing, like Emily assumed (most African Americans are from families that were here before the poem and they certainly haven’t enjoyed centuries of privilege in this country).

..if anything should be under the rule of the original inhabitants of North America.

Woo-Hoo. Yeah!! I get to make the rules (or, at least, my mother’s family does)

Priya Lynn
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “Again, I’m not defending this law, per se, but unless I’m misunderstanding you, you do not support the enforcement of immigraton law provided the immigrant is able to cross the border undetected.”.

You’re reading into his post something he didn’t say.

Priya Lynn
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “My point was just about timing.”.

I fail to see the point. If you weren’t trying to say that your ancestors being in the States prior to the poem makes you better or entitles you to something people with more recent ancestors aren’t then your statement was irrelevant to anything that was said.

Priya Lynn
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “Woo-Hoo. Yeah!! I get to make the rules (or, at least, my mother’s family does)”.

As the vast majority of your ancestry is something other than native american, no you wouldn’t get to make the rules.

Emily K
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Tim, you were the one using your racial history to try to justify your comment, not me. I only have your own comments to go on: “I was here before the poem was written so I don’t have to ‘pay’ for it by letting the poor into my country.”

You tried to claim racial “diversity” by saying you are descended from several ethnicities, which turned out to mostly be several British peoples, plus one German and one Cherokee, and maybe someone Jewish somewhere down the line. You were the one who used race in defense of being called a bigot, not me. When I said “purebred American,” I meant the original colonizers of the northeast – British subjects – which you admitted makes up the largest part of your known history.

And actually, I grew up believing immigration was largely about escaping your circumstances, no matter how dire, to reach this land. Even if you had to leave half your family behind, travel with one suitcase in the steerage part of the ship, with only the clothes on your back. And the American dream, “you too can be rich,” is about people rising up, working hard, and making their fortune – wherever it might be. Whether this is actually possible is beside the point. It’s what’s perpetuated in the culture.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

First I think you’ll agree that in many cases there is no formal complaint; violent public crime comes to mind. Further, in Los Angeles, gay task forces do conduct crime investigation in a manner similar to the way you state is not done.

Actually, I believe both cases you describe fall into my description #1 where no formal complaint is made. I’m not sure if, by “gay task forces” you mean patrolling public spaces for case of public indecency and sex. Again, #1 applies: The police witnesses a crime or the specific intent to commit a specific crime and apprehends the suspect. This is different from stopping people and demanding that they prove that they haven’t had public sex or participated in an act of public violence when there is no other evidence to the contrary.

But, setting that aside, I think we may be looking at “crime” differently here. Just to be clear, I don’t think the illegal activity is restricted to just the act of crossing the border. I believe that it is also illegal to stay in the country without authorization.

No, we’re seeing crime the same way. As I understand it, it is as much a crime to stay as it is to enter.

Considering that being here without permission is committing a crime, your first definition seems to encompass the language (if perhaps not the intent or spirit) of the Arizona law.

What the law does is introduce a third method of law enforcement that we do not allow for any other law in this country that I can think of. It compells police to inquire of an individual’s citizen/resident status if there is “reasonable suspicion,” a phrase that is undefined. I can think of no other law that compells police to demand that citizens prove their innocence.

And this is where we get to the meat of the problem: What is reasonable suspicion to someone like Sheriff Arpaio?

You cannot separate the language from the intent or spirit of the law. In fact, Courts often turn to the “intent” of the law as articulated by legislative debates and governor’s statements in order to interpret the law. And the statements made by Gov. Brewer and legislative backers make the intent of the law abundantly clear.

In fact, that intent is reinforced by another provision of SB-1070. It allows any citizen to sue a police department if they think their local police aren’t enforcing this particular law — and no other law — as aggressively as they think they should. In other words, the standard is now no longer an officer’s determination of “reasonable suspicion,” but the standard of the most nativist outraged citizen in the local community.

The laws that required reading comprehension as a qualification for voting were very easy to defend based on the language of the laws, but we all know what the intent of those laws were. We live in a real world of biases and prejudices, and where our laws aid and abet those forms of bigotry especially among our public servants, it is our civic duty, if not our humanitarian duty, to oppose them.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

You are entitled to your opinion, however baseless it may be.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

I started to write a response refuting your false claims, your deliberate misquotes, your bizarre ideas about what I “admitted” and your astonishing lack of knowledge about history, but why bother. Just know that every assumption in your last comment was false.

So knock it off.

And if you really think you have to win your point by putting quotes around words and claiming I said them when I didn’t, you really need to think about exactly why you believe what you believe.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Actually, I believe both cases you describe fall into my description #1 where no formal complaint is made.

Okay.

I’m not sure if, by “gay task forces” you mean patrolling public spaces for case of public indecency and sex.

Oh, dammit, I meant GANG task force. Ugh.

(Side note: I think that you may be misreading one provision. I rather suspect that the intent of the ‘sue the police’ provision is to counter situations like that in Los Angeles where the city has declared itself a sanctuary for immigrants in the nation illegally and has banned the police from inquiring or even for turning those that the absolutely know to be here illegally over to immigration authorities. I very much doubt that the level of “aggressive enforcement” is up to the most nativist outraged citizen. But I may be basing that on California’s “sanctuary cities”, so that is just my assumption.)

OK, now to the meat of the conversation. I’m glad we are in agreement that immigration enforcement includes apprehending those who are in the country without authorization. So our question becomes one of methodology rather than one of principle.

What the law does is introduce a third method of law enforcement that we do not allow for any other law in this country that I can think of. It compells police to inquire of an individual’s citizen/resident status if there is “reasonable suspicion,” a phrase that is undefined. I can think of no other law that compells police to demand that citizens prove their innocence.

Setting aside Arpaio and his use/misuse of the law for just a moment, let’s just look at that statement and compare it to your rule 1 of law enforcement:

When a law enforcement officer witnesses a law being broken in the act, the officer intervenes …

I think we would agree that if an officer is certain that a person is illegally in the country then he is “witnessing a law being broken.”

But law enforcement is not limited to only those times in which you are absolutely certain that a law is being broken. We know that police stop individuals in suspicious circumstances and ask “what are you doing here?”

But what are legitimate suspicious circumstances as opposed to abuse of power?

A policy that legitimately was based on real reasonable suspicion is not outside your definitions of law enforcement.

And I hope that we agree that if an officer were legitimately reasonably certain that the person he was confronting was not in the country legally that he would take action.

The questions then are what is a legitimate reasonable suspicion, how did he become suspicious, and why was he confronting them?

I wonder, Jim, would it be possible to craft a policy of enforcement of immigration laws that would meet your approval? I’m not being facetious or snarky.

Any enforcement will predominantly catch people from Mexican – the quotes I’ve heard are that 80-90% of all persons here illegally are Mexican nationals.

Will that fact cause you to presume that any any enforcement measures are defacto racist? I do hear that argument from some people and I find it personally to be offensive for the reasons I’ve stated above.

And it is simply a fact that language, mannerism, clothing and other factors can at times lead one to know immediately with a great deal of certainty that someone is not acclimated to the culture around them. I know that someone will cut and paste this and imply that I’m a racist for saying it, but you do know this to be true, don’t you?

Is there any language whatsoever that could be put into a bill that would be acceptable, or does the fact that much of “reasonable suspicion” is based on observation make it a tool that cannot be used?

In short, is there anything that can be done to enforce immigration policies? Anything at all?

Because, as I said, absent any other options, “no!” is not going to be an effective argument to those who are trying to deal with what they see as a problem.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I wonder, Jim, would it be possible to craft a policy of enforcement of immigration laws that would meet your approval? I’m not being facetious or snarky.

I know you’re not being snarky. And while I sometimes am, I know it is not one of my more admirable qualities. That said, policy is the perogative of local law enforcement agencies. It is the job of each police chief and sherrif to determine how best to deploy his ever-shrinking resources according to the priorities of his community. The job of the legislature and governor is to craft and sign laws, and to provide budgets for law enforcement among other things.

In short, is there anything that can be done to enforce immigration policies? Anything at all?

Of course there is. It’s using the existing body of laws which define how our law enforcement agencies operate, with more than 200 years of case law guiding officers on what constitutes “probable cause,” rather than an undefined notion of “reasonable suspicion.” It’s how we enforce all laws as a nation that values justice and human rights.

It is also, ironically, what separates the United States of America from other countries like Mexico. I know others have mocked me by saying that Arizona’s law is mild compared to Mexico’s law. That is irrelevant. Besides, I’m much happier defending American values of due process and justice than Mexican ones. SB-1070, as its own supporters have pointed out, more closely resembles the latter than the former. It’s Mexico where it is more common for police to stop you and demand that you prove your innocense.

The fact is, immigration laws have been and are being enforced by Arizona police departments, including by those headed by chiefs and sheriffs opposed to SB 1070. When they encounter undocumented immigrants in the course of their normal police work, they routinely turn them over to the INS. This happens all the time. They get tips on safe houses, they investigate, get the necessary warrents, conduct raids, and make the appropriate arrests. We wake up to this in our morning papers all the time. We also see reports in the paper and on television where there are car accidents and illigal immigrants are found in the process. Existing law already allows for enforcement of immigration law.

And all of this goes on without a law which is easily predictable, based on recent history, to give cover to officers and departments which decide to go on fishing expeditions and race-based sweeps. And all of this goes on without a law which allows citizens to sue if they think police are being insufficiently vigilent in enforcing SB-1070 — and no other law.

You keep citing L.A. as your basis of experience, so let me give you Arizona as mine. In today’s paper, I saw a Rassmussin poll that says that 23% of Arizonans identify with the tea party, compared to 16% nationwide. That speaks to what state politics are like here, which has taken on a tenor that is frankly, quite frightening to those of us who remember a time when loyal opposition wasn’t tantamount to treason.

Arizona is also plagued by border “militia” vigilante groups which have taken the law into their own hands, including a murder of a family in Arivaca that I wrote about several months ago. For context, the same legislature and governor that has and continues to demogogue SB-1070 — even going so far as to raise the spector of non-existent headless bodies in the desert — are the same people operating out of the same motivations and similar demagoguery which shoved Prop 102 onto our constitution last year and went back on their pledges and eliminated domestic partner benefits for state workers this year.

And you cannot set aside the experience of Joe Arpaio. He has jurisdiction over 60% of the state’s population.

As it was with literacy voting requirements in the South, it is impossible to separate this law from its intent and motivation and Arizona’s current atmosphere of bigotry and abuses.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim,

As an Arizonan, you are better placed to evaluate the culture. I defer to you on that.

I am not trying to put words in your mouth. So correct me if I’m wrong. But, based on the above, it appears to me that your proposed immigration policy would be:

1. Take no pro-active steps to identify immigrants in the nation illegally.

2. Should police run into immigrants engaged in crime, then they may choose to turn them over to INS. Or if they receive tips related to the actual smuggling of immigrants they may choose to respond.

3. Otherwise law-abiding immigrants in the country who are here illegally should be left alone.

4. Allow those police and sheriffs who do not want to enforce the nation’s immigration laws the option of simply not doing so. (But we should assume that any who do take pro-active steps are motivated by racism).

However, if I have identified your position correctly, this is not the position of a large majority of Americans. And that matters, because “more of the same” is being increasingly rejected. And if that is the only solution offered to what many see as a problem, then it will be rejected and replaced by something else and – being perceived as part of the problem – your concerns will not be taken credibly.

Personally, I think that more pragmatic solutions dealing with employment and renting are probably the best approach. But I am not opposed to efforts to identify immigrants here illegally – provided that they are not based in racism or animus.

The problem that opponents to this bill have is that while you see this law as being a tool to justify racism, many non-Arizonans do not. They see the words of the law as being reasonable. They assume good intent on the part of the police rather than start from a position of suspicion.

And it is not fair to assume that those across the nation who do not know Joe Arpaio are obviously racist because they see one state finally doing something about immigration in the face of a federal government who is refusing to make any real concerted effort to enforce the law.

Were there a real enforcement, was illegal immigration held down to say, a few hundred thousand instead of eleven million, then “more of the same” would be a reasonable approach. Then those who ranted about ‘them furriners’ really would pretty much all be racists.

My objection is not to those who oppose this law. I hear your concerns and fears.

And while I think it is short-sighted to take a “oppose this, offer no alternatives” approach, that isn’t my objection either. Although I’m arguing against a “more of the same” policy, I don’t see ill will there.

Rather, my objection is to those who accuse anyone who does not oppose this law of being racist. It isn’t true. It isn’t smart. And it serves only as a tactic to shut down conversation about what really should be done.

(Just a note to Jan Brewer: The headless bodies in the desert were caused by rogue vampires. Watch True Blood, it will clear up everything.)

Ben Mathis
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Just wanting to point out that border towns of mostly hispanic population have lower crime than border towns of mostly white population (on the US side of the border of course). This over-concern for immigrants at time when those in power are destroying social systems, entrenching wealth ( to the conveniently all male white elite) and reducing the US to one of the countries with the lowest class mobility, shortest life spans, highest obesity, highest infant mortality, and largest prison population per capita is nothing more than scape goating, and it’s only people with innate racism that fall for it.

If there is a problem in the US, it’s not immigrants, it’s those in charge, especially those of Arpaio and this bill writer’s ilk.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

I’m afraid you are putting words in my mouth. Nowhere have I said that nobody should not be pro-active in enforcing ANY law. I also pointed out that law enforcement is already enforcing immigraition laws here in Arizona using the same constitutinally-correct methods that they use to enforce every other law on the books.

At the risk of putting words in your mouth, it appears that you would want me to define “pro-active” pretty much the same way Sheriff Arpaio defines it. Perhaps not to such a degree, but still. By that definition of “pro-active,” police are empowered to stop American Citizens and demand that they prove that they are not in the process of breaking a law. That definition of “pro-active” I categorically reject. It is un-American. And it is anathema to our system of justice.

But by the more conventional definition of “pro-active, law enforcement is already pro-active in enforcing immigration laws in the same sense that they are pro-active in enforcing any other law, at least in Arizona.

But now the legislature is carving out a specific exception in which they want to force police departments to behave differently with regard to immigration laws than they do with any other law, including auto thefts, drug smuggling, robberies, murders, etc.

And they have put in a mechanism so that if a citizen thinks his local police department is not enforcing this particular law, and no other law, to his satisfaction, he can tie up the numicipality or county with costly lawsuits. That is the text of the bill.

I have not taken an “oppose this and offer no alternatives” approach. The only correct thing to do is to follow the 200 years of case law that has made this country’s system of justice a model for the world. That should not be considered an “alternative.”

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

If “more of the same” means starving police force’s budgets and not giving them the resources they need to enforce the law, then I agree that “more of the same” is not the right solution. However, to say that following our Constitution is “more of the same” and unacceptable, well we are entering dangerous territory.

And in the bigger picture, That is what I’m really worried about. I have been alarmed at the tremendous abuses our Constitution has suffered since 9/11. It’s been a growing fear for the past nine years. We have torture — oh, excuse me, “extraordinary interrogation techniques” — which we were proud to have never done before. And now we have a mentality that wants to presume guilt until proven innocent, American values be damned. SB-1070, to me, is emblematic of a much larger problem, and it is why I am so passionate about it. And it is why I increasinly dispair over the course of our nation and the undeniable rise in prejudice and vitriol we’ve seen in the past decade.

I remember when I was little my father having a conversation with several neighbor. This was in the late 1960’s. They were talking about politics. I don’t remember the subject, but one neighbor said, “sometimes the liberals have the right answers, and sometimes the conservatives do.” And that seemed like such an obvious thing to say. It was so common-sense that everyone agreed and moved on to another topic. That was before liberal became a perjorative. Among a significant portion of the American electorate today, he would be considered a traitor. Maybe even a socialist or a secret Muslim.

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Jim

By “more of the same”, I mean using the methods that have been used over the past few decades.

These methods have proven to be a failure. Offering them as the path we should continue to follow will not be a persuasive argument.

The reason this bill is drawing support from some liberals is not due to its brilliance or its fairness. It’s because it is the only thing on the table besides “more of the same”.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Some liberals? Who?

That’s a pathetic really bad reason to support a bad bill. As I said, more of the same does not have to mean subverting our values as a nation.

I think this is where we are at an impasse.

John in the Bay Area
July 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Throughout the history of the US, immigration crackdowns or exclusionary policies, whether against the Irish, Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese or lately, Mexicans, have always been propelled by racism and bigotry. Therefore, any new laws or enforcement strategies must take into account racism. The throwaway line in this bill about racial profiling is worthless.

Only through consistent policies that are applied to everyone can you avoid discrimination. Checking the citizenship status of every person who is arrested regardless of skin color, language, etc would be a good example of that. Requiring that every person who is employed by a company to present proof of citizenship or a work permit for the United States would be another example of that.

Stopping people on the street or in their cars due to some “suspicion” that they might be illegal will result in stopping far more American citizens with brown skin than illegal aliens from Ireland, Russia and other fair skinned countries.

Our nation’s ongoing problem with pulling people over for “driving while black” demonstrates just how difficult it is to remove insidious racism from the way we enforce our laws.

It is also patently unfair to require brown skinned Americans to carry their passport (which most Americans don’t have) or their birth certificate along with some other form of picture identification, while essentially not requiring their lighter skinned fellow American citizens to do the same.

Timothy Kincaid dismissed out of hand a national ID card. Why was that? If you are looking for a way to actually do something different about immigration enforcement, it would be to require all American citizens to carry national ID cards. Any traffic stop or other official encounter in any state, would result in presenting the national ID card. You can enforce that without discrimination accross all ethnic and language groups. American citizens of course would never go along with that, but on a defacto level, I think this law is making just that requirement of brown skinned American citizens in Arizona.

By the way, my fundamental concern with this law pertains to the way American citizens are treated. I think many anti-immigrant activists often ignore the effect their actions have on law abiding American citizens in the zeal to go after the illegal alien.

Priya Lynn
July 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “You are entitled to your opinion, however baseless it may be.”.

If your point about your ancestors being in the States before the poem was something other than what I suggested how about you explain what it was without some vague reference to “timing”.

Timothy Kincaid
July 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Some liberals? Who?

I’ve heard some. But, if you prefer, I’ll rephrase the statement.

The reason this bill is drawing support not only from Republicans but also from a majority of independents and a third of Democrats is not due to its brilliance or its fairness. It’s because it is the only thing on the table besides “more of the same”.

Timothy Kincaid
July 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

My point was what I said my point was. You are entitled to whatever opinion you care to contrive of it however far from the truth it may be.

Timothy Kincaid
July 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid dismissed out of hand a national ID card.

That is not true. I gave no opinion whatsoever about a national ID card, though I don’t see how it would much differ from a DMV indentification card.

Priya Lynn
July 4th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy said “My point was what I said my point was. You are entitled to whatever opinion you care to contrive of it however far from the truth it may be.”.

Your reluctance to explain what your point is leaves a rational person conclude my thoughts are the truth. If you didn’t say your ancestors were here before the poem because you think that makes you better than immigrants with more recent ancestors or entitles you to extra consideration there was no reason for you to make that statement at all.

Timothy Kincaid
July 4th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

My “reluctance” to explain to you further than I already have already clarified is based in two facts:

1. You don’t really care what my point was, you just want to fight.

2. I don’t respect your opinion or care what you think.

John in the Bay Area
July 4th, 2010 | LINK

US Border Protection does not accept driver’s licenses at proof of citizenship unless the driver’s license is “enhanced” or accompanied by other documentation of citizenship such as a birth certificate. Of note, Arizona has applied for the “enhanced” driver’s license, but I don’t know of what their current status is on that. Further, I haven’t heard that Arizona has instituted a law requiring all adult US citizens to obtain and carry an Arizona “enhanced” driver’s license or ID card with them at all times.

So, carrying a driver’s license, in most cases, is not the same as a national identity card that specifically denotes citizenship status.

Priya Lynn
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, your suggestion that I fight with you for the sake of fighting with you is not remotely true. I find some of the positions you take counterproductive to a fair and just society and that is extremely important to me and its extremely important to me to emphasize what is conducive to a fair and just society.

I hear a lot of americans bragging about how their ancestors were in the States before other people’s ancestors and the implications of that are very offensive and unjust. Unlike you I care what everyone thinks because that has an effect on the rest of us.

I doubt very many BTB readers are going to find your “explanation” for your statment to be plausible.

Emily K
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, I’m also curious as to what your point was. I don’t understand “it is what i said it was.” It looks like someone trying to say the US should not offer the “American Dream” to people deemed “undesirable.” When someone says, “why should I have to pay for it?” (it being some statement made, or action taken) usually that means “i do not support that statement or action.” In this case, the statement or action is one made by declaring, at the gates of America, that those whom people often label “undesirable” in other countries – think communist refugees, or maybe even gays trying to escape Uganda or Zimbabwe – are welcome to find a safe place in the Land of the Free.

Someone saying “it’s a nice sentiment, but why should i have to pay for it, my family was here before that statement was made” APPEARS to be in opposition to it because they do not want to have to deal with the “undesirables.”

Now, perhaps my opinion, like Priya’s, doesn’t matter to you or this site. But I do not have any desire to fight. I don’t have a record of making snipey comments about religion any time something remotely religious is posted on the blog.

Timothy Kincaid
July 5th, 2010 | LINK

Here is the actual flow of discussion. It does not include any nonsense about “undesireables.”

Chris McCoy:

I think we should eliminate immigration quotas entirely. For two centuries people came to our great nation for any reason, and the only question they were asked when they got here was “How do you spell your name?” I am tired of the draw-bridge syndrome in this nation – where what was good enough for our ancestors isn’t good enough for you.

Me:

When my ancestors got here (the ones who had not been here for 10,000 years) they did not have a safety net designed to protect the less fortunate. We have a better, more caring society today.

But we can’t really care for the entire world’s poor. I don’t think we could absorb all of those who would like to be covered by such a safety net.

Chris:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Me:

And by the way, all of my ancestors were here before that poem was ever written. It’s a lovely sentiment, but we can’t pay for it.

My previous explanation:

My point was just about timing. The New Colossus, while a lovely sentiment, is just a poem. It is not a founding document of our country. It wasn’t even enscribed on the statue until 1901.

While many folks who came by the statue and through Ellis Island may revere the idea of “bring us your poor”, it is not our nation’s formal invitation for the entire world’s poor to come.

Select one sentence out of context and change the words, and you can come up with about anything. But read it in context and all of the nonsense about “undesirables” just goes away.

And that’s the last time I’ll be explaining this.

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