By: Amy Lutz
In high school, I attended classes with teenagers from all over the world. As a student at an international boarding school, I rubbed shoulders with classmates from China, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, and several other nations. I tried different foods, learned words in Chinese and Korean, and made friends who grew up half way across the world. I loved it. I enjoyed seeing people from different nations taking advantage of the blessings of freedom. Whether they stayed after graduation or went back to their home nation, we welcomed them with open arms in the small town of Atchison, Kansas. I learned quickly that in the United States, we love taking in immigrants and visitors to our nation who aim to create a better life for themselves and for their families. It’s the American Dream after all. Today, I am personally offended when I hear liberals call conservatives anti-immigration or against people of different skin colors. I learned to embrace my classmates in high school and enjoy interacting with immigrants to this day. I discovered long ago that “anti-immigrant” labels are far from the truth when it comes to conservatives.
Liberals often labels conservatives “anti-immigrant,” or worse, “racist” because we take a hard-line stance on illegal immigration. However, the fallacy in this type of statement is that liberals rarely separate “legal” and “illegal” immigration. Most Americans, conservatives and liberals alike, are strongly in favor of the former. Opinions on the latter category, however, produce divisiveness. Conservatives often preach the dangers of poorly-guarded borders and the economic damage illegal immigration creates. Liberals weave stories of hard-luck illegal immigrants who “live in the shadows” and work low paying jobs at dangerous locales. My answer to this type of commentary: It’s time for a little personal responsibility. Who is really to blame for their predicament? If you don’t respect the rule of law and enter this country the right way, there are consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences extend far beyond individual illegal immigrants.
Please read more at The College Conservative
Are You Ready for Some Political Correctness? Arizona, Hank Williams Jr, and the Left's Hijacking of the NFL
By: Amy Lutz
Every Sunday afternoon during the fall and winter, I expect to curl up in my apartment in my Drew Brees jersey and Saints gear to watch football all day long. My laptop usually sits beside me with my fantasy football lineup on the screen so I can keep track of my ever crumbling, yet still exciting, team. Fox News, President Obama, and the turmoil of politics rarely cross my mind. First downs replace elections and polticians become quarterbacks...at least for a few hours. My emotions depend not on political bickering or congressional bills, but on third downs and Hail Mary passes. Sports (in my case, football) are supposed to provide an escape from the controversies of the real world. Yet somehow in the past couple weeks, political correctness has found its way into the NFL.
It all started with Hank Williams Jr. The Monday Night Football icon got into a bit of hot water with political pundits when he stated that President Obama playing golf with John Boehner is analagous to Benjamin Netanyahu hitting the course with Adolf Hitler. The instant Williams spoke the name of the Nazi dictator, left leaning public figures went crazy. Based on the reactions of various media outlets, including both the Huffington Post and Fox News, you would think the singer had adovocated assasination. Sure, Williams has a big mouth and should have certainly been more careful with his choice of words, but in the grand scheme of things, it's really not something we should be focusing on. Aren't we on the brink of another economic disaster? We really shouldn't be putting our focus on a controversial statement from a usually well-loved musician and football icon. And honestly, I could just as easily argue that Williams was comparing Boehner to Hitler instead of the President. The media needs to take a chill pill and remember that he used an analogy, not a direct comparison. Seriously, the only thing Hank Williams Jr. is guilty of besides having a big mouth is not receiving the memo that Hitler analogies were only acceptable to the left when George W. Bush was in office.
After Hank Williams Jr. was ejected from ESPN, politically correct worshipping Americans set their sights on the NFL's Holy Grail: The Super Bowl. This week, the league annouced that the 2015 championship game will be held in Arizona, the site of SB 1070, the nation's most controversial immigration law. Liberal Hispanic activists immediately attacked the NFL for being insensitive and demanded that the game be moved to a more "tolerant" *cough* liberal-leaning *cough* locale. “In light of Arizona’s hate-based legislation, the action taken by the NFL serves as an endorsement of the state’s abhorrent actions against the Latino and migrant communities,” said Margaret Moran, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Really Margaret Moron...ahem...I mean Margaret Moran? First off, please refer to previous blogs for arguments against such claims of "hate" and "racism." SB 1070 actually explicitly prevents racial profiling, but I digress. Additionally, since when does the location of the Super Bowl imply political opinion? If playing football in a state where a controversial law has been passed is now politically incorrect we're all doomed. We might as well outlaw all sports and merry-making activities so as not to offend anyone. That principle worked in Footloose, right? Wait...And, for those of you who are actually offended by the NFL's action, the free market has already provided you with an out. Just DON'T GO. Don't watch the game, buy NFL merchandise, or take part in the most wonderful day of the year (second only to Christmas and Black Friday). If everyone agrees with your complaints, then the ratings will take a nosedive, the NFL will go bankrupt. Thankfully, I doubt that will happen simply because Americans are smarter than that. We know that the location of the Super Bowl does not mean a political endorsement. We also know that a controversial statement made by the guy who sings the Monday Night Football theme shouldn't interfere with our enjoyment of a good NFL matchup. So, I'll say it again...To the lefties who are bringing political correctness into the football arena...get over yourselves and out of the NFL. You already have the Presidency, the univerisities, Hollywood, the media, and just about everything else. You can have soccer, but please leave football in the hands of common-sense Americans.
By: Amy Lutz
Last year in Iowa, President Obama made this statement regarding the Arizona immigration law SB 1070: “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.” Theoretically, the President was correct in saying that the situation he painted would “not be the right way to go” but his facts were way off base. Personally, I would be surprised if Mr. Obama had read the law before making this statement. The first error in the statement lies in the word “suddenly.” The President implied that the provision in the Arizona law requiring immigrants to always carry documentation was a new, draconian idea. Not so. Actually, it has been a federal law since 1940. The President’s biggest error; however, resulted from his falling into the trap to which many who have not read the Arizona law succumb. Such people often claim that under SB 1070 or Utah’s recent illegal immigration bill HB 497, law enforcement officers will be able to question and “harass” anyone who “looks” illegal, basing their judgment on race or ethnicity alone. This error arises from a misinterpretation of the term “reasonable suspicion” and its relation to practices of questioning and arrest.
The Arizona bill, SB 1070, states: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person." In addition, the Utah House bill, HB 497, requires that an officer, when making a traffic stop, have reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle is smuggling or transporting illegal aliens. Often, the opposition assumes that “reasonable suspicion” simply requires a law enforcement agent to have a “feeling” or “hunch” that someone is illegal. Not so. Reasonable suspicion is a legal principle that has been historically defined. This legal principle allows law enforcement agents to question suspects when they have a "reasonable suspicion" that a person has been or is about to be engaged in criminal activity. The Supreme Court case, Terry v. Ohio, established that reasonable suspicion does not violate the fourth amendment to the Constitution, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the reasonable suspicion standard, law enforcement agents are also not allowed to arrest a person without a higher standard of proof--probable cause (sometimes referred to as reasonable cause). So for example, a police officer would not be able to question someone standing by a car at 2AM, but they would be allowed to question someone under reasonable suspicion if that person was standing by a car at 2AM with a bent wire coat hanger in his or her hand. In that case, the police officer would have "reasonable suspicion" to believe that the person had or was about to break into the car. Additionally, both the Arizona and Utah bills state that law enforcement officers cannot take “race, ethnicity, or national origin” into account when building reasonable suspicion, which denies the claim that such illegal immigration laws will promote racial profiling. In actuality, since this provision is verbalized in both bills, it can be claimed that they do more to prevent racial profiling than promote it.
Reasonable suspicion, as required by SB 1070 and HB 497, actually takes two steps as well. A law enforcement agent must have reasonable suspicion that a suspect has, is, or is about to engage in criminal activity in order to question the suspect. Then, they must also have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, a police officer can pull someone over and question them if they are speeding, but cannot ask about the person’s immigration status unless they have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. As the law states, a law enforcement agent cannot ask for someone’s immigration status in the process of a routine traffic stop (or other situation) simply because of race. They must have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, reasonable suspicion would probably exist if a law enforcement officer were to legally pull someone over for speeding only to find that the driver did not have a valid license or other identification, could not speak English, and wasn’t familiar with the procedure of a traffic stop. Only after having reasonable suspicion that the driver was committing a crime (in this case, speeding) could the officer even begin to develop the second step of reasonable suspicion, which, if obtained, would allow the officer to request the driver’s immigration status. This two step practice, along with the provision banning racial profiling, makes it difficult for President Obama and his supporters to claim that “harassment” will become commonplace in Arizona or Utah.
With an understanding of SB 1070 and HB 497, citizens of Arizona and Utah can rest easy, knowing that they will not be “harassed” about their immigration status while taking their children out for a hot fudge sundae. President Obama’s claims, like those of most who have not educated themselves with SB 1070 or HB 497, are without merit. The Arizona and Utah bills do not promote racial profiling and require a solid legal basis of “reasonable suspicion” for questioning. So I encourage all citizens of the two states in question to not only go out for ice cream without fear of law enforcement officials, but to simply go out for ice cream more often. Although the illegal immigration debate is far from over, nothing alleviates such contentious debate like a double scoop of mint chocolate chip and rocky road with a cherry on top.
By: Amy Lutz
During his campaign, then candidate Barack Obama promised the end of “politics as usual,” and wanted to end the “politics of the past.” Almost two years into his term, states are literally boycotting one another, the voice of the American people is barely more than a whisper in the turbulent storm of Washington politics, and bipartisanship has simply become a myth. This culture of dissent and harsh disagreement has brought out the extremes on both sides of the aisle. Unlike on our southern border, there is an impassable wall separating Republican and Democratic politicians, and that barrier has begun to creep into the private sector. Seemingly, Obama did actually maintain one of his campaign promises. He was successful in ending the “politics of the past” that he viewed as detrimental to the legislative process. To the chagrin of the American people, the “politics of the present” are much more turbulent and staunchly partisan than ever.
According to Ronald Reagan, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.’” Once again, The Gipper has been proven right. Like all big-government progressives, Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of solving a laundry list of issues through the government, failed miserably, and made the original problems much, much worse. There’s health care, illegal immigration, congressional partisanship, and energy just to name a few. In each case, Barack Obama’s response has done nothing more than exacerbate the already volatile situation in Washington. Most politicians will sell their soul to at least say that they are going to please everyone, but something has changed. Since the Obama administration has taken power, no longer are most politicians even cognizant of their constituents. Most of this is due to President Obama and the Democrats’ perpetual decisions to enact legislation or make comments that alienate a majority of Americans. This phenomenon is plainly evidenced in the administration’s handling of health care, the Arizona illegal immigration law, and simple partisan debates themselves. Therefore, the political establishment is almost fully detached from the American people, and if we are not wise in November, the Obama Express is going to take us far down a track that will create and unrecognizable America.
After the stimulus packages, TARP, auto bailout, and cash for clunkers, President Obama and the Democratic supermajority put their foot on the gas and rammed Health Care reform down the throats of the American people. A broad piece of legislation that took over 1/6 of the economy was passed even though only 33% of Americans were (and are) favorable towards Universal Health Care. Too make matters worse, 34 Democrats and every single Republican voted against the bill. What happened to bipartisanship, Mr. President? After all, wasn’t it you that said we could not pass such sweeping legislation without a broad consensus? During the campaign, candidate Barack Obama said:
“And what I believe that means is we've got to break out of what I call, sort of, the 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Which is, you have nasty primaries where everybody's disheartened. Then you divide the country 45 percent on one side, 45 percent on the other, 10 percent in the middle -- all of them apparently live in Florida and Ohio -- and battle it out. And maybe you eke out a victory of 50-plus-one, but you can't govern. I mean, you get Air Force One, there are a lot of nice perks to being president, but you can't deliver on health care. We're not going to pass universal health care with a 50-plus-one strategy.” Barack Obama was trying to make the point that Hillary Clinton would have been a “50 plus-one” president, and that he, Obama, would not. Considering that the Democrats had to pull out a reconciliation bill in order to pass heath care reform, I am having a hard time seeing how Obama is not a “50-plus-one” president. Now that health care has been passed, in Obama’s own words, can he “still govern?” Obama also made a point to note during Bush’s presidency: “What I worry about would be that you essentially have still two chambers, the House and the Senate, but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that's just not what the Founders intended. You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there's a broad consensus before the country moves forward.”
The President’s analysis is correct, but his application is not. The Founders intended for bipartisan consensus, not a consensus of Democrats. Republicans and conservative Democrats are being ignored and criticized right and left in Washington. Is this the change we could believe in? The “politics of the past” that Obama campaigned to change have been replaced by this “majoritarian absolute power.” Starting with health care, President Obama has gone against the will of the people time and time again, thus creating the volatile “politics of the present” that we see today.
President Obama’s most polarizing decision that has sparked the most outrage is perhaps his decision to stand against the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070. Without even reading the law, Obama claimed that it would cause people to be “harassed” by the police when “taking their kids out to get ice cream,” in other words, it would allow for racial profiling. Not only is the law written specifically to prevent that from happening, it’s also supported by 60% of the American population. Many people feel that it does not go far enough. Yet, the President and his supporters continue to criticize the law with baseless accusations. The longer the President takes such a position, the more support he loses. The DOJ is even suing Arizona for the law based upon the fact that is opens the door to racial profiling, even though 56% of Americans oppose such a lawsuit. The President’s remarks as well as the potential lawsuit have caused more actual violence than any other issue, even health care. Countless “pro-immigrant” rallies have been held around the country, some of which have become dangerous. Twenty four people were arrested after clashing with the police in Chicago and three people were beaten by protesters in San Francisco. Rocks and bottles have been thrown at police. What makes matters worse is the fact that the Federal government is doing almost nothing to stop the violence or disagreement, actually, it can be said that they could be accelerating it. The Department of Education and the U.S. Border Control have both cancelled events in Arizona due to the controversy. The entire city of Los Angeles has started a boycott against the state of Arizona. Is it possible that Los Angeles would be boycotting Arizona if the liberal establishment and the President were not making such a fuss over SB 1070? Of course not, considering that the laws on the California border are very similar to those that will soon be enacted in Arizona. This controversy has become “politics as usual” times ten.
Outside of any specific issues, President Obama has not held back in causing fierce political disagreement by publically chastising Republicans and his opposition multiple times. In his most recent State of the Union Address Obama stated, “What frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day… a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of- I’m speaking to both parties now”. This message seems to be a call for increased bipartisanship, but in actuality, it appears to be a direct reference to the Republicans in Congress, which does nothing but create more partisanship. Although Obama says that he is speaking to “both parties,” it can be assumed that he is speaking to Republicans with the addition of the latter portion because of the Republican Party’s across-the-board opposition to the health care reform bill. At the time of his speech, the only party that seemed to be “obstructing” a bill in his mind was the Republican Party. The Democrats’ supermajority allowed them to pass bills with little or no Republican support. In this one instance, the rhetoric weaved by a “great rhetorician” such as Barack Obama actually failed to deliver the message desired. In a more recent example, President Obama blasted Republicans in his weekly radio address for voting against ending debate on the new “jobs bill” (aka Stimulus), saying that he was disappointed to see “dreary and familiar politics get in the way of our ability to move forward on a series of critical issues that have a direct impact on people's lives." I would like to first point out that this vote was bipartisan…in the dissent. All of the Republicans AND some Democrats voted to continue debate. President Obama has not seemed to grasp the fact that people can actually have legitimate reasons to oppose measures that he supports. It is the president himself who has not broken away from the “politics as usual.” The fierce partisanship that President Obama apparently supports fuels the “politics of the present.”
As we near the midterm elections, the political landscape of the United States is tumultuous at best, most of which can be attributed to the administration’s handling of each “crisis” they face. I truly believe that Obama sees himself as a one-term President, considering that he has done nothing to cool tempers and increase bipartisanship in Washington. Time and time again, the President has taken the position that alienates the greatest number of Americans for every issue, from health care to illegal immigration. Real bipartisanship does not seem to be in the cards for the President, despite his promise to end the “politics as usual.” The “politics as usual” that were evident during the Bush administration and his predecessors were filled with disagreement, but Washington was on more of a “Partisan Light” track as opposed to the current single-party rule we see today. President Obama has done the opposite of what his supporters voted for him to do. He promised “hope and change” and gave us hopelessness and unwanted change. The question is, why? Why has the president fueled the volatile partisanship time and time again? I suppose Rahm Emanuel can answer that one based upon his quote: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Since the Obama administration has taken power, they have seized even more control with each successive “crisis.” The supposed health care “crisis” gave us health care reform, illegal immigration gave us boycotts and rumors of amnesty, and the BP oil spill gave us a drilling moratorium that will prove to destroy the oil industry if it stands. Utilizing a “good crisis” seems to be this administration’s priority, and as such, the “politics of the past” that Obama sought to end have only been replaced by a political landscape that is more bitter than ever.
By: Amy Lutz
Arizona Senate Bill SB 1070: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2930/sb-1070.pdf
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog concerning the Arizona illegal immigration law (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684510454&v=box_3#!/note.php?note_id=389217497343
) and did extensive research proving that the law neither promotes racial profiling nor is unconstitutional. After educating myself about the law and situation in Arizona, I assumed that anyone who had actually read the bill would certainly approve of it. Based upon a recent Rasmussen report, concerning the American people as a whole I was correct. 60% of people nationwide are supportive of the law and 55% welcome such a law in their own state. I am proud to say that Kris Kobach, the drafter of the Arizona law, is considering drafting a similar law in Kansas. 71% of Arizonians support the law, which is up from 64% in late April. Governor Jan Brewer, who has sometimes been compared to Hitler by the very far, radical left, has seen a 19 point gain in the Republican primary. Even with the national support for the law, it seems as if a boycott or rally against the law takes places every other day. As far as the boycotts go, 68% of Americans see these boycotts as a bad idea and 40% would actually avoid doing business with organizations that boycott Arizona. The situation is quickly becoming out of control, which is why even further clarification is necessary in regards to the law.
The most common argument from the left is that this law will promote racial profiling. This is simply not logical regarding the Arizona law (See previous blog post for further clarification). The law actually specifically bans racial profiling SIX times. In sections 2, 3, 4, and 5, the law states: “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not 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.” Not only does it prevent racial profiling in these sections, the law also mirrors the Arizona and United States Constitutions. In sections 6 and 8, the law states: “the attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color, or national origin.” There is even a provision in the bill to clarify the procedure that occurs when an officer does use racial profiling in the questioning of a suspect. In section 2, the law states: “Except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith, a law enforcement officer is indemnified by the law enforcement officer’s agency against reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred by the officer in connection with any action, suit or proceeding brought pursuant to this section in which the officer may be a defendant by reason of the officer being or having been a member of the law enforcement agency.” This means that if an officer is sued for racial profiling and is deemed innocent, his legal fees will be paid by the law enforcement agency he/she belongs to. If the officer is found guilty, not only will he/she likely lose his/her job, but he/she will also be required to pay all legal fees. That sure sounds like an incentive to avoid racial profiling to me.
The Arizona law also prevents racial profiling because it requires reasonable suspicion for an officer to question a person about their immigration status. This reasonable suspicion actually takes two steps as well. A law enforcement agent must have reasonable suspicion that a suspect has, is, or is about to engage in criminal activity in order to question the suspect. Then, they must also have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, a police officer can pull someone over and question them if they are speeding, but cannot ask about the person’s immigration status unless they have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. As the law states, a law enforcement agent cannot ask for someone’s immigration status in the process of a routine traffic stop (or other situation) simply because of race. They must have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, reasonable suspicion would exist if a law enforcement agent were to pull someone over who was speeding across the Mexican-American border with about fifteen people in their back seat. In that case, the law enforcement agents would be able to reasonably suspect that the person driving, as well as the people in the back seat with all of their belongings are illegally present in the country. For a more commonplace example, according to Stephen Saltzburg, law professor at George Washington University, law enforcement agents would be allowed to ask for a person's immigration status if the suspect had an invalid driver's license, did not speak English, and did not cooperate with officials.
Ironically, the Arizona law does more to prevent racial profiling than the Federal law does regarding the questioning of a person’s immigration status. In the case Muehler v. Mena, Derin Muehler and his team received a search warrant to search a residence they believed to be the “safe house” for a gang that had recently perpetrated a series of drive-by shootings. Upon entering the house, they found 18 year old Iris Mena in her bed, handcuffed her, and questioned her about her immigration status (without reasonable suspicion mind you). She stated that she was a legal immigrant and revealed that her documents were in her purse. Without Mena’s permission, Muehler searched through her purse and verified her immigration status. After the ordeal, Iris Mena and her father sued Muehler and his officers for violating the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the 9th circuit court (the same circuit in which Arizona is located; a very liberal circuit), a jury ruled with Mena, and Muehler and his partner were ordered to pay damages. The two officers promptly appealed to the Supreme Court, where a unanimous vote reversed the circuit court’s decision. Therefore, the detainment and questioning of Mena’s immigration status, according to the Supreme Court, did NOT violate the 4th Amendment. According to this 2005 precedent, under Federal law, it is legally acceptable for officers to question a person about their immigration status without any sort of reasonable suspicion. As compared to the Federal law, the Arizona law is much stricter and does more to protect legal and illegal immigrants alike. According to the Obama administration’s complaints about the law, they should be celebrating Arizona’s decision, not attacking it. For me, the real question is, why? Why is the left attacking such a rational, fair law without even reading it? Personally, I believe that it is an effort to cause civil unrest and fierce debate in anticipation of the 2010 elections, but at this point that is simply speculation. The unfounded, harsh attacks not just on the law, but Arizona itself confuse me because they are unnecessary. I could potentially see where someone might have a problem with the current Federal law, but why is that not the law these supposed “pro-immigrant” (illegal immigrant actually) rallies are protesting?
There is currently at least one lawsuit against the Arizona law pending in the 9th circuit, but I am completely confident that the law will remain standing, mostly because three similar illegal immigration laws in Arizona drafted within the past decade have gone through the courts and remained on the books. These court cases relied on the precedent set in the 1976 case De Canas v. Bica, in which the Supreme Court ruled that states (California in that case) may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration as long as Federal law does not explicitly forbid the law in question. Since the Arizona law almost completely mirrors the current Federal law, the precedent applies. Another case in the 9th circuit Gonzales v. City of Peoria, in 1983 stated that “although the regulation of immigration is unquestionably an exclusive federal power, it is clear that this power does not preempt every state activity affecting aliens.” It goes on to say, when “state enforcement activities do not impair federal regulatory interests concurrent enforcement is authorized.” The Court accordingly held “that Federal law does not preclude local enforcement of the criminal provisions” of Federal immigration law.
Despite all of the legal precedent backing up the Arizona law, countless Obama administration officials have come out and attacked the law. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the law “has the possibility of leading to racial profiling.” He did not back up his point, mostly because he did not actually read the law, which was revealed as Holder was being questioned by Representative Ted Poe. How is it that Holder knows so much about the law when he has not even read it? As an attorney, I would assume that Holder would know to be prepared before he gives his opinion on a legal matter, but apparently he has yet to learn that lesson. Soon after Holder’s statements, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, stated that the Arizona law was “misguided” and that it was a “bad law enforcement law.” What I find almost laughable is that not only did Napolitano admit to not reading the law herself when questioned by John McCain, but that she was formerly the governor of Arizona. This means that she signed into law the three previous anti-illegal immigration laws that the state has passed in the last decade. Has her opinion suddenly changed since she’s joined the Obama administration? Even the president himself did not appear to have read the law when he stated, “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” Do I even need to explain how many things are wrong with this statement? No President Obama, as far as I know, getting ice cream with your kids is not a crime. Even if a law enforcement agent were to do what President Obama is suggesting, they would lose their job and be sued by the people they “harassed.”
Now it is time for the “hypocrisy section” starring Mexico and China. Last week, when Mexican president Calderon visited President Obama, he had a few things to say about the Arizona law. He stated that the law “introduces a terrible idea that uses racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement,” and further perpetuated the ignorance of the argument against the law. What I find absolutely disgusting is the fact that the Democrats (and maybe a few Republicans, I am not sure) gave him a standing ovation! A foreign leader comes to our soil and attacks our laws in the House of Representatives and we applaud him for it? That’s like praising a dinner guest who attacks your food, home, and choice of decorations while defying the unwritten rules of common courtesy. President Calderon revealed himself as a complete hypocrite when he later participated in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Blitzer asked: “Do Mexican police go around asking for papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants?” Calderon replied, “Of course. Of course, in the border, we are asking the people, who are you?” Blitzer went on to question: “So in other words, if somebody sneaks in from Nicaragua or some other country in Central America, through the southern border of Mexico, they wind up in Mexico, they can go get a job…?” Calderon replied, “No, no. If- if somebody does that without permission, we send back- we send back them.” I had to read the transcript a few times to fully understand the ramifications of Calderon’s statements. According to Calderon, illegal immigrants in Mexico are questioned without reasonable suspicion and then deported if they do not have the correct documents. Wait…isn’t that what he attacked Arizona for? After reviewing Mexico’s laws regarding illegal immigration for myself, I have come to the conclusion that Calderon is nothing more than a hypocrite. I hate to speak ill of a foreign leader, but Calderon’s own words speak for themselves. The illegal immigration laws in Mexico are draconian at best. Unlike in the United States, in Mexico, it is a felony to be in the country illegally. An illegal immigrant can be imprisoned for two years without due process on the first offense, and up to ten years on the second offense. A person guilty of a Visa violation can be held up to six years. Let’s just say that, if you cross the border into Mexico illegally, you are not heard from for a while. Mexico also deports foreigners who are detrimental to “economic or national interests” or do not have the “necessary funds for their sustenance.” They can also be barred from entering or deported if their presence “upsets the equilibrium of national demographics.” If a person is found to do the latter, wouldn’t such a finding require investigation into the person’s race? Under the Arizona law, that is certainly not legal, but in Mexico, it’s fair game. Additionally, 67% of Americans feel that Mexico does not want to halt its citizens from entering the United States illegally, further worsening the problem of illegal immigration.
After Arizona’s immigration law became a joke in Mexico, what was next? China of course! Yes I said it, China now is aware of the “problem” Arizona law. It’s nice to know that a country such as China which has a great devotion to human rights has taken an interest in illegal immigration in America (not). Recently, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner (who has also not read the law by the way; I am starting to see a trend here), stated that while in China, he brought up the Arizona law “early and often” as an example of our “civil rights violations” (I use that term very lightly). He also saw the law “as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination.” Not only did Posner attack American laws in a foreign country, but he chose to mock our legal system in CHINA. Need I mention the laundry list of human rights violations China is guilty of? China boasts most likely the highest number of abortions in the world, treats female children with distain, gives little to no freedom of anything, and controls all religion. Unlike in Mexico, where illegal immigrants are only temporarily detained, China’s immigration laws are much more severe. Let’s just say, if you cross over the border into China illegally, it is likely you will never be heard from ever again.
Lastly, there is the issue of boycotts and rallies to be addressed. Currently while I am writing this, there is a story on the news about rival rallies (pro-sb 1070 and anti- sb 1070) going on right now in Phoenix. I am sincerely worried that this situation is going to spiral out of control very quickly. The tension is high everywhere, and to me, it does not make sense considering the nature of the Arizona law. The entire city of Los Angeles has started a boycott against Arizona and the Phoenix Suns have made their displeasure known in regards to the law by wearing “Los Suns” jerseys during their recent games. A fan wearing a t-shirt supporting SB 1070 was actually kicked out of the arena despite the fact that he legally bought a ticket. I personally would like to know what the arena security would do if a fan were to illegally enter the arena and watch a game without buying a ticket. According to the principles of the Obama administration, Los Angeles (and probably all of California for that matter), and the Phoenix Suns, that would be a perfectly just thing to do.
By: Amy Lutz
Note: The full text of SB 1070 can be found here: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf
Recently, the newly passed Arizona immigration law (SB 1070) has been getting a lot of negative media attention, though most of it is undeserved. It has been called a racist measured and likened to tactics of the Gestapo in World War II. After reading and researching the bill for myself, I have come to the conclusion that such criticism is undeserved. The following analysis should serve to prove my point.
The first question that begs to be answered is, why is this needed? Why did Arizona pass this bill in the first place? It's needed because the situation in Arizona is dire. Phoenix is currently the kidnap capital of the United States and hosts the second most kidnappings in the entire world. An Arizona rancher, Rob Krentz, was shot to death last month and his suspected killer, a drug smuggler, fled over the Mexican border. The situation is depressing the economy and Arizonians, as well as citizens of other border states, are becoming less safe by the day. It's also important to note that 60% of Americans and 70% of Arizonians favor this bill, statistics that have been neglected by the main stream media.
Exact provisions of the bill are as follows. SB 1070 states, "No official or agency of this state of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may adopt a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law." Basically, the entire point of this bill is to strengthen current federal laws on illegal immigration by including and additional, but less severe, state sanctions on illegal immigration.
The portion of the bill that has caused the most controversy is as follows, "For any lawful contract made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person." Pay attention to the words REASONABLE SUSPICION. Reasonable suspicion is not simply based on the color of someone's skin or their country of origin, it's actually a specific legal term that has been backed up by years of legal precedence. Therefore, the concept that people will be questioned simply because of their race because of this bill is untrue and naive.
So, what exactly is "reasonable suspicion?" It is not simply a hunch or intuition from law enforcement agents, it's a legal principle that has been historically defined. This legal principle allows law enforcement agents to question suspects when they have a "reasonable suspicion" that a person has been or is about to be engaged in criminal activity. The Supreme Court case, Terry v. Ohio, established that reasonable suspicion does not violate the fourth amendment to the Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the reasonable suspicion standard, law enforcement agents are also not allowed to to arrest a person without a higher standard of proof, probable cause. So for example, a police officer would not be able to question someone standing by a car at 2AM, but they would be allowed to question someone under reasonable suspicion if that person was standing by a car at 2AM with a bent wire coat hanger in their hand. In that case, the police officer would have "reasonable suspicion" to believe that the person had or was about to break into the car. Simply questioning someone because of the color of their skin is illegal both under present day federal law and the Arizona bill. Where this law will most likely come into play is during traffic stops.("Notwithstanding any other law, a peace officer may lawfully stop any person who is operating a motor vehicle if the officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe the person is in violation of any civil traffic law and this section.") It is ridiculous to believe that law enforcement agents will constantly patrol the streets looking for people who "look like" illegal immigrants.
The fact that aliens will be required to carry registration documents is also not all that shocking. Since 1940, it has been a federal offense for an alien to not carry the required documents with them. Therefore, the Arizona bill is simply reinforcing already present federal law. And think about it, would any American walk through any foreign city without a passport on hand? Laws such as this are global and certainly not new. According to President Obama, "you're going to be harassed" if you do not carry the required papers with you. This is simply untrue because, to reiterate previous statements, law enforcement agents cannot simply walk up to any person on the street and ask for their "papers" in a way similar to the methods of the Gestapo in WWII. It is a complete exaggeration and honestly, likening our legal system to that of the Nazis is incredibly insulting. Although citing the Nazis as an example is hopefully not a common source of argument, it still needs to addressed. Any law enforcement agent who does so (asking for "papers" without reasonable suspicion) would be violating current federal and state laws unless he/she had "reasonable suspicion." And trust me, reasonable suspicion is not an easy thing to be obtained. Reasonable suspicion must be strong enough to argue in court if the time ever comes. Cases are thrown out every day because law enforcement agents did not have reasonable suspicion to question a suspect or probable cause to arrest them.
Later on, the bill states, "A law enforcement officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States." Remember, probable cause is much more specific than reasonable suspicion; therefore, it is difficult for a law enforcement agent to arrest anyone, legal and illegal alike, without legitimate evidence that a crime has occurred.
Law enforcement agents also have the right to ask for anyone's information regarding their immigration status if:
(1) They are "Determining eligibility for any public benefit, service or license provided by any federal, state, local, or other political subdivision of this state."
(2) They are "Verifying any claim of residence or domicile if determination of residence or domicile is required under the laws of this state or a judicial order issued pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in this state."
(3) They are "Confirming the identity of any person who is detained." or
(4) "If the person is an alien, determining whether the person is in compliance with the federal registration laws prescribed by Title II, Chapter 7 of the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act."
Therefore, it is evidenced that there are strict guidelines for questioning any suspect, regardless of his or her immigration status or even what they look like. These same laws apply thoroughly to American citizens as well. This bill is NOT going to allow for law enforcement agents to prowl the streets at night looking for people of Hispanic descent and harass them for their information. That is illegal, and if the bill did call for it, I would be the first one in line to protest.
As an additional note, it is also immature that some Americans (from what I believe, a very select few) have campaigned to boycott the Arizona Diamondbacks because of this recent law. These baseball players had nothing to do with the legislation and politics and sports should be kept separate.
As to the constitutionality of the law, in 1976, the Supreme Court set precedent in De Canas v. Bica when they ruled that states my enact laws to discourage illegal immigration as long as Federal law does not explicitly forbid the law in question. In 2007, Arizona's law that forbid the hiring of illegal aliens knowingly stood because it fell under the 1976 precedent.
In conclusion, this bill, SB 1070, might not be the perfect solution to the illegal immigration issue in this country, but it is certainly not racist. It's rational.
Kris Kobach, a law professor at UMKC, wrote an article in the New York Times from which I started my research. The full article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/opinion/29kobach.html?src=me&ref=general