Skip to comments.Arizona Calling: The brewing immigration backlash.
Posted on 11/09/2004 9:19:58 AM PST by xsysmgr
Slate recently featured an article on the "unteachable ignorance" of the Bush red states, in light of the dismaying (from its perspective) election results. On immigration, we should talk about the "unteachable ignorance" of America's political and media elites. Nothing will convince them to take the issue seriously.
The latest sign that the public wants the kind of immigration enforcement that politicians simply won't give them comes out of Arizona. Proposition 200, a measure to tighten up enforcement of existing laws relating to illegal immigration, passed with 56 percent of the vote. It requires that someone provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote and valid ID when voting or applying for public benefits. Since it is already against the law for illegals to register and vote, and illegal for them to receive welfare, it is astonishing that Proposition 200 became as the media always puts it "controversial."
What Proposition 200 exposed is this: Our elites have very little intention of enforcing immigration-related laws, and they are outraged at the notion that they should. All the great and good in Arizona lined up against the proposition. Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, Republican Sen. John McCain, the Service Employees International Union, the Catholic bishops and the Chamber of Commerce all opposed it.
They were universally outraged at an initiative aimed at getting the public officials among them to do their jobs. "We haven't changed any law," says state Rep. Russell Pearce, a supporter of Proposition 200. "We're changing the verification process to make sure that the current laws are enforced."
Opponents took to complaining that the proposition would unfairly burden state and local workers with verifying the citizenship of the people they deal with. But is asking for an ID really such a burden? The clerks at Blockbuster somehow manage to do it. Proposition 200 backer Rusty Childress recalls that within an hour of publicly announcing the initiative, opponents held a rival press conference denouncing it as what else? racist. "All they can do is name-call on this issue," says Childress, "because we are on the right side of the law." And the racist argument didn't wash. Childress explains: "Most people said: 'Showing ID? That's not racist. I show ID all the time.'" According to exit polls, 47 percent of Hispanics voted for the initiative.
Thanks to tightened enforcement elsewhere along the border, most illegal immigrants now come across the Arizona-Mexico border. Proposition 200 won't have much effect on that flow, but might have a mild deterrent effect if illegals were to realize that the laws on the books won't be ignored, according to Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies. Proposition 200 gets at an enormous part of the illegal-immigrant problem, which is the welcoming environment created for illegal immigrants by lax enforcement. So long as illegals know they can live as quasi-citizens here, they have every incentive to keep coming.
Special interests want to keep it that way. "There are two groups who benefit from illegal immigration," says Pearce. "Those groups who benefit politically because new immigrants vote Democratic. And those business groups that benefit from the cheap labor." The public in general is the loser. Estimates of the costs to Arizona of illegal immigration go as high as $1.3 billion a year. "People say to me, 'Immigration is a federal responsibility,'" says Pearce. "But I say, 'It's our health-care system, it's our schools, it's our neighborhoods.'"
That populist sentiment is very real, and elites ignore it at their peril. President Bush recently said that he wants to spend political capital in his second term. If he tries to spend much of it on his misbegotten proposal for a quasi-amnesty for illegal aliens, he will risk political calamity. The message from Arizona and elsewhere on Election Day, when immigration-skeptics picked up strength is to try increased enforcement first. Who knows? Once we begin to enforce the law, we might even learn to like it.
Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.
Cuz the demoncraps know their grip on power
is slippin' away...
JMO, these people intimidate more people than they help. I have that opinion of the BP too. If they were out there doing their job they wouldn't have to harass American citizens constantly. I have been harasssed by these bullies more than once because I live near the border although they leave me completely alone since some rookie pulled his gun on me. BTW, I'm a 100 lb, blond, American woman who has never been in any trouble with the law.
I don't know what the answer is but vigilantism isn't it.
Well, looks like passage of Prop. 200 has given us our opportunity to take a place on the national stage. Hopefully our Congresscritters are listening. But I'm not relying on just this, the letters are still being sent to Kolbe, Kyl, and Rino McCain.
It's disheartening that a full 44% of the electorate thinks - or "feels," I should say - otherwise. (Kerry received around 44% of the vote in AZ, not coincidentally). Only hopeless socialists or illegal aliens themselves would be against providing proof of citizenship and valid ID when voting or applying for public benefits.
Isn't it interesting how we're now seeing some mainstream publications and commentators have become suddenly aware of the illegal immigration problem? Their silence over this issue has been deafening despite the displeasure voiced by Americans across the country the last few years over this issue. The lack of media attention to this situation has allowed a number of problems to fester under the radar screen for the vast majority of American taxpayers, some of whom are in a football-Kobe-M. Stewart-S. Peterson induced stupor and in the meantime giving cover to politicians bent on sacrificing our sovereignty on the altar of open borders/ free trade / FTAA.
BS. The Republicans are up to their butts in aiding and abetting this epic lawlessness.
Its a natl issue; not a state issue at this time.
The point wuz if the demoncraps were in agreement
wrt/ something needing to be done re the illegal
immigration, ie, a bipartisan approach, then
somethign would likely get done. The Dems
however believe that flooding the country w/ immigrants,
legal or otherwise, is their ticket to coninued
power. And they may be right esp as 2010 demographics
look to be favoring a transfer of EVs to the
south and maybe the western areas as well as house reps.
See #10. This bull sh*t don't fly anymore.
No it isn't, but that's what you end up with when government officials won't enforce the law.
Read up on the FTAA.
Yep, I'm a bit surprised that the "neocon" Rich Lowry/NRO expressed these thoughts in public.
Maybe, given that GBush had fairly solid, widespread support among Hispanics.
Bull sh*t. The Republican are as responsible as the leftist for this never ending flood of lawlessness.
Do you always feel the need to repeat yourself?
If these folks are looking for illegals,it sounds like they just wanted a closer look. ;)
What are you saying? Bush has wide spread support of criminal illegal aliens? Are you referring to American citizens? If so, that aint the issue here Fred.
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