Eugene Robinson rants against Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law in today’s Washington Post. The most polite thing ‘Puter can say about Mr. Robinson’s argument is that it betrays a schizophrenia on the issue.
You see, Arizona is “racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, [and] unjust” for requiring its peace officers to enforce federal law at the state level. Mr. Robinson conveniently omits from his initial critique that Arizona’s law is a direct result of federal inaction. Thank goodness we have Rich Lowry writing in today’s New York Post to provide sufficient context to set the record straight.
Contrary to Mr. Robinson’s assertions, Arizona authorities will not be conducting Gestapo-like midnight raids on innocent victims. The Arizona statute requires that there be a “lawful contact” with the person, and that the officer have a “reasonable suspicion” of that person’s illegal presence in the United States. This is hardly onerous. First, legal immigrants are already required to carry on their person proof of their legal status at all times. Second, cops have to have lawful contact with the person to be searched, such as a traffic stop or arrest. Third, cops must have reasonable suspicion that the person is present illegally, such as the person speaks no English and cannot produce identification on demand.
Mr. Robinson goes on to admit that Arizona is correct. Federal refusal to enforce immigration laws have forced border states to bear unsustainable burdens. See, e.g., 460,000 illegals currently in the state, skyrocketing crime associated with illegals, higher taxes to support illegals, etc. It’s just that deporting illegals is, well, mean. What Mr. Robinson seems to want is open borders, with individuals coming and going (or staying) as they please. Oh, Mr. Robinson will deny this, but that’s where his argument inexorably leads. Not defending our border + refusing to determine immigration status = open borders.
Mr. Robinson then recognizes Arizona’s need to protect itself, but refuses to reach the logical conclusion. Federal authorities must enforce the immigration laws on the books, or stand aside when states seek to do the same. And if the federal government for whatever reason is going to ignore current immigration law, then Congress should at least be honest and repeal the laws altogether.