Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Arizona Illegal Immigration Law

The law was clarified on Friday:
[L]awmakers have removed “lawful contact” from the bill and replaced it with “lawful stop, detention or arrest.” In an explanatory note, lawmakers added that the change “stipulates that a lawful stop, detention or arrest must be in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”

“It was the intent of the legislature for ‘lawful contact’ to mean arrests and stops, but people on the left mischaracterized it,” says Kris Kobach, the law professor and former Bush Justice Department official who helped draft the law. “So that term is now defined.”

Don't know when I've seen such ado about nothing as is coming from those who oppose the state of AZ declaring they will enforce existing federal law. That's it. That is all AZ is doing: enforcing existing federal law which the feds are mostly failing to enforce. The sky is not falling. AZ's simple law has been mischaracterized about as badly as anything could be. My comments at another blog:

A nation is not a nation if it cannot control it's borders

If the borders become controllable, then we can look for solutions re illegal aliens. Unless the borders become controllable, there will be no solutions, and here's why: illegal immigration is truly a problem. A few examples:

1. A nation cannot condone the flaunting of it's law without weakening itself (including immigration law, enforcement law, employment law).
2. Illegal immigrants increase crime rates across the board.
3. Illegal immigrants increase the stress on social services.

Comprehensive reform is the wrong way to go (and is even unethical, imo). The right way to go, the ethical way to go, is bite by bite - beginning with the huge yet necessary bite of controlling the borders. After that, solutions may be discussed - one small bite, followed by consideration which leads to another small bite, followed by consideration which leads to another small bite. Small bite example: confer citizenship upon those who complete a military commitment. Small bite example: consider appropriate and enforceable sanctions upon businesses who hire illegal aliens. Small bite example: allow illegal aliens to retain lawyers and sue businesses or individuals for employing them at less than minimum wage. See how such small bites work, and progress towards amnesty as a last ditch solution. However, unless and until borders are controlled, no solutions are possible.

Summarizing the open borders argument and the racism accusation

Here is the open borders argument: the cure (for illegal immigration) is worse than the disease. It is an interesting argument, yet it is not a self-evidently correct argument. It is not a winning argument in this nation at this time: Grandma and Little League coaches and small business owners currently believe in controlling the border, plus 1,2,3 above. Open borders is an argument which must be sold, marketed, effectively argued: must win over Grandma, et al.

I see (not heavily in the comments to this series of blogposts, but some) this "argument": the cure is worse than the disease, and if you disagree with me then you are a racist. I've zero respect for that "logic". Sometimes that "logic" is soft-served, like this: those who disagree with me don't see the underlying racism. Okay, so: I'm ignorant, instead of racist? Thanks. Very much. Am so relieved to know that.

The "the cure is worse than the disease" argument must be won the merits. It's really the only hope of having open borders win the day. Racists will be with us - at least in this portion of this millennium - yet racism is not driving the big numbers who disagree with the "the cure is worse than the disease" argument. The "control the borders" logic of Grandma, Little League coaches, and small business owners are driving those numbers. The dynamic is similar to the Tea Parties, actually. Racism will always be with us, yet racism is not the driving force behind the big numbers; and, therefore, an accusation of racism will not win the day. Such accusation will lose the day; will only allow the accuser to nurse their grudges as they age.


Re the Casual Observer/Tidbits discussion, which Casual Observer began with these three points:
  1. the AZ law does not require but rather empowers
  2. the demand for proof of citizenship is empowered only within the context of a precedent stop for another violation of law
  3. the immigration violation must be referred to federal authority

The third point hinges on the arguments I reference at top, i.e. which is better: controlled borders or open borders? Enforce the law or ignore the law?

The second point was clarified today by AZ legislators.

The first and second points may be considered together, as both hinge on this: is profiling good or bad?

My opinion: skilled profiling is good, unskilled profiling is bad.

Profiling is police work; police work is profiling. We cannot legislate a utopia in which only highly skilled, perfect, mistake-free, prejudice-free police officers exist. And we cannot have police without also having profiling.

Racial profiling is only one component of profiling. If Marco Rubio is stopped for a traffic violation, and if Marco Rubio is dressed in crisp clothing and is driving a newish auto, then a police officer will profile Marco Rubo differently from three Mexican roofers driving home in beat-up pickup.

This is the flaw with condemning profiling: profiling concerns a bunch of elements, not just one element. Race is one element amongst 20 or even 40 factors which a human being instantly and instinctively considers, both consciously and unconsciously. It's all well and good to make every effort to encourage Americans to be more racially sensitive, yet it does not follow that considering race as one of 20 factors inside an instantaneous profile of a situation equates to racism or to unfairness.

Jesse Jackson famously said, in so many words, that he profiles. When he walks down the street and hears young men behind him: Jesse said he is relieved if they are white. There's a lot more to his statement than maybe even Jesse understands: if Jesse saw three Urkels behind him, he would be equally relieved. If Jesse saw three skateboarding, rap music loving, tatooed white kids behind him(plus about 15 other factors which Jesse would instantly and humanly assess): then Jesse might be very concerned. Much more than race goes into instant profiling assessments.

Therefore: racial profiling is a good thing if it constitutes one profiling factor amongst many profiling factors at work when making a skilled judgment about a situation. Skilled profiling is good. Being shrewd is good. Good police work is good. Unskilled profiling and bad police work are bad.

Both good and bad police work will always be with us. We cannot be rid of them. In a metaphysical sense: bad policemen are a feature, not a bug - though we rightly make every sensible effort to reduce their number. And: life is not fair. Which is also a feature, not a bug - though we rightly make every sensible effort to be as fair as possible to our fellow human beings.

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