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Three Major Myths Surrounding Arizona Immigration Law

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It amazes me that there are such vehement protests over the new Arizona immigration law. It is modeled after the federal law that has been in effect for about 70 years and pol pot victimswas passed to protect our country and our citizens. Since the federal government has been unable or unwilling to enforce the law, it is up to the states to protect its citizens especially when citizens are being killed by illegal crossings. There have been a lot of myths perpetuated by and hysterical media about this law. My job today is to debunk three of these myths.

los suns jerseyMyth #1: Arizona is the new Nazi Germany. I have heard this over and over again. The Left and even some conservatives claim that a Phoenix police officer examining one’s immigration status, so one can deport an illegal alien is akin to an SS storm trooper forcing a Jew to document their inferior status with papers so one can be marched to a gas chamber. Even the Phoenix Suns jumped the bandwagon as their team doned "Los Suns" jerseys in protest and their General Manager Steve Kerr likened the Arizona Immigration Law to Nazi Germany.  This is a ridiculous comparison and hampers any reasonable discussion on the matter. It is such a knee jerk reaction for some to throw out the Nazi label just because one disagrees with the opposing side. Do you want to know what is like Nazi Germany? There are so few parallels of such evil-- Soviet gulags under Stalin, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and the Armenian genocide in Turkey. That’s it. Any rational person agrees Arizona should not be lumped in the same category with such atrocities. Even Chris Matthews agrees with the foolish nature of the overuse of the Nazi label:

Myth #2: The Arizona law is racist and will lead to racial profiling. Even President Obama stirred up this hornet’s nest when he told a crowd in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to get harassed — that’s something that could potentially happen… That’s not the right way to go.

This is a blatant lie, Mr. President—unless you steal the ice cream or commit some other crime while doing so, and are here illegally, in which case, you have every reason to expect the federal government to “harass” you.

President Obama is either uninformed about the new Arizona immigration law or, as is almost certainly the case, he is playing politics with the situation in order to win the highly coveted Hispanic vote for the Democratic Party. In either case, his statement about Latinos being afraid to attend ice cream parlors in Arizona now that the new immigration law has passed border on the absurd, and his use of the phrase “don’t have your papers” can only be intended to hearken back to Nazi Germany, which goes back to Myth #1.

There is nothing in Arizona’s new law that would allow police to randomly stop by an ice cream parlor and begin harassing Hispanic patrons. The Arizona law specifically forbids racial profiling. Officers ask about immigration status only if people have been detained for a crime or pulled over for a traffic violation such as speeding. An officer would then ask for driver’s license and registration (just like they do whenever I, or anybody else, is pulled over for speeding) and when the driver produces no legal residence in the nation--- viola! There is now reasonable suspicion that the driver is possible an illegal alien. I’m quite sure that eating ice cream does not constitute reasonable suspicion that someone is in the country illegally, and unlike the President, I have confidence that police officers can make reasonable decisions about difficult issues just like they did every day before this law passed.

Myth #3: The Arizona Law is unconstitutional because ONLY the national government can enforce immigration law. The idea that foreign affairs is exclusively the province of the federal government is commonly asserted. But this not necessarily true-- at least if one respects the Constitution’s text and original understanding.

Although Article I Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to make naturalization laws, nowhere does the Constitution specifically mention which level of government enforces immigration policy. One could make the argument that states have the right to enforce immigration policy, especially if the federal government has been negligent, due to the Tenth Amendment.

Let me explain. The Constitution gives the federal government supreme authority over foreign policy. Congress and the President can pre-empt an issue by exercising one or more of their enumerated powers. If Congress dislikes a state action in that realm, Congress can pass a law overriding it. However, if Congress has not acted or acted incompletely, the states have certain reserved powers, thanks to the Tenth Amendment, to act on their own. In other words, the Constitution acknowledges concurrent, although subordinate, state authority over foreign affairs – including immigration.

So, due to the federal government’s inaction to secure the border, Arizona feels compelled to take action where the Feds have failed. Undocumented people are a drain on the precious resources of Arizona—there are about half a million in Arizona.

This is especially concerning in times of state budget cuts. In 2006 it was estimated that Arizonan taxpayers were burdened with annual costs of about $1.3 billion because of illegal aliens residing in the state due to incarceration, health care and education costs. It is little wonder that Arizona has decided to take action.

Hopefully, with some of these myths debunked, America can have a rational and sensible immigration debate. I look forward to it.