Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picking the Wrong Battle
© 2010 Ross Williams

Boy, Arizona sure stepped in it, didn’t they?

The nerve of them, wanting to have their southern border controlled so badly that they are willing to do it in place of the Feds. How dare they!

And of course, a portion of the rest of the country – including the Feds – are falling all over themselves in histrionic panty wetting because what Arizona has done is “immoral”.

Well, that may be, but if so then the federal law that the Feds should be enforcing [and aren’t] is immoral too, because Arizona passed a law that simply duplicated one of the many federal requirements for resident aliens in this country: you must carry the proof of your legal residence with you at all times and present it on demand. Whose demand? any law enforcement officer or government agent requiring identification. …such as a city cop making a traffic stop, or a college admissions clerk needing to know if the student qualifies for in-state tuition rates. For example.

Few critics of Arizona’s law understand this; most believe that resident aliens have no special requirements whatsoever and are indifferentiable from citizens. They are not. When asked, they must supply proof of legal residence.

Those critics who do understand this are merely complaining that Arizona’s law is a state confiscation of federal jurisdiction. It is only the Feds’ authority to ask for proof of legal residence. But that’s not what the federal law says. The federal law says any government agent can demand proof of legal residence. Any.

Which means that Arizona’s law doesn’t do anything new and every critic of the law is wrong.

Oh, but! it means that Arizona has usurped the authority of the Feds to do something about it when they find someone who doesn’t have proof of legal residence.

Incorrect. Arizona’s law only allows them to do what federal law already says they can do: look. It specifically requires Arizona to turn over the non-legal resident to federal authorities for proper handling. Critics are wrong again.

Alright, so if the law doesn’t do anything new, and all the objections are made of fart gas, then why did Arizona pass the law? Dunno, why does anyone sick and tired of something do anything futile about it?

Because they’re sick and tired and want to make a point.

What are they sick and tired of? Having illegal immigrants in their state using state services [which costs money] and committing crimes [which the state has to prosecute … which costs money]. Arizona doesn’t have money growing on their mesquite trees any more than Californians have money growing on their sequoia, or New Yorkers do on their sugar maples.

But this brings in a second round of criticism. Arizona’s stated expenditures on services provided to illegal immigrants is down, and crime is way down; Arizona is inventing reasons, they claim, to target Mexicans. This, though, only means that these critics are desperate to miss the point. Whether the cost is up, down or sideways doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it exists at all and that the taxpayers in Arizona are tired of paying for it.

The fact that it exists at all means the Feds are not doing the job they have the authority to do, the duty to do, the obligation to do. The fact that it exists at all means that the Feds are not merely not doing their job, but they are leaving Arizona with the bill for the Feds not doing their job.

Yabbut… yabbut…. yabbut… Arizona is targeting Mexicans! That’s racist!

First, “Mexican” is not a race; second, neither is “Hispanic”; and third, while Arizona might use its Do Nothing New law in improper ways, the same can be said about every law ever written, and the hissy fit is therefore entirely premature if not altogether misplaced. You are required to wait to see how, and even if, Arizona uses the law before you start up with this argument.

Arizona may not actively enforce the law. That is, actually, a very common response to new laws. And old ones, too. It is, in fact, the reason Arizona passed this law in the first place: the Feds were not enforcing federal laws, and leaving the southern border states holding the bag. Of course, that’s only when the Feds were not busy making everyone else – including state and local law enforcers – enforce the federal laws that the Feds weren’t enforcing themselves.

Yes, the Feds often pawned off the responsibility of enforcing federal immigration law onto Arizona anyway. They were often already doing what they just passed a law to do – because the Feds told them to.

When the Feds weren’t failing and refusing to enforce their own immigration laws or foisting the enforcement onto state and local police, they were ordering secretaries with two-year degrees in Microsoft Office to control the borders from behind their Human Resources desks the nation over. Compulsory deputization of untrained, unqualified persons; non-compliance and unsatisfactory compliance is punishable. “We can’t do our job, so you do it for us. If you can’t, don’t or won’t do what we already can’t, don’t and won’t do, you’re under arrest.”

The sad part of this is that most Americans – around 80% – blithely accept the government handing out to everyone else the duties it’s too incompetent to handle. We’ve been conditioned to such outsourcing from decades of federal ineptitude and officiousness.

Arizona, in fact, has a state law which requires all employers in the state to verify citizenship of all job applicants. This law requires the use of the E-Verify system, created by the Department of Homeland Security and which all federal contract employees – such as myself – have to endure. No one held a nationwide hissy fit about that.

DHS wants to get everyone in the country to participate in E-Verify, and few are having a hissy fit about that, either. My state – Illinois – actually passed a state law that said E-Verify cannot be implemented in the state of Illinois because it would violate the state’s right to work laws. The Feds sued Illinois and won. The courts have declared that a state can voluntarily adopt federal authorities as their own, but cannot prohibit the use of federal authorities even if they aren’t currently being exercised.

Which means you cannot be an illegal immigrant if you want to do something responsible – like get a job and earn some money. But try to find illegal immigrants who are IRresponsible and committing crimes…? liberals and other idiots come unglued.

Brilliant. And we wonder why we have an illegal immigration problem in this country. Hell, we wonder why we’ve got any of the problems we’ve got in this country. The answer is no farther away than the ballot box. …which is how Arizona determined that they should be doing something about the illegal immigration costing them more money than they want to spend.

And what exactly is Arizona so cruelly doing that legions of panty wetters are wetting their panties in fits of pique? In 2008, Arizona embarked on a program in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security – the same DHS of E-Verify fame – to make the Arizona driver’s license among those which convey citizenship or legal residence… which DHS wants everyone to have, and can mandate under the Real ID Act of 2005.

Arizona – under their onerous law and about which so many are weeping – requires people to …

…wait for it …

show their driver’s license.

I know! It’s appalling! No one else is required to show a driver’s license! Ever! For any reason whatsoever!

Who has ever heard of such a thing?