Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Wants To See Your Papers, Citizen!

Ill-conceived, thoughtless and dangerous, Arizona's new law on targeting illegal aliens is prompting much discussion. I doubt any resolution or repeal will occur short of a lengthy court battle. Still, a couple of blog posts from Washington Monthly raise some critical questions.

Here's one post:

Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, isn't known for writing provocative opinion pieces. But the new, odious immigration measure in Arizona appears to have genuinely outraged Greenhouse. Good for her.

...I'm not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into.

What would Arizona's revered libertarian icon, Barry Goldwater, say about a law that requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from any person with whom they have made "any lawful contact" and about whom they have "reasonable suspicion" that "the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?" Wasn't the system of internal passports one of the most distasteful features of life in the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa?

Greenhouse's question about Goldwater's reaction to such madness also reminds me that there's another group of small-government-minded folks who claim to be concerned by authoritarian tactics. Reader B.H. emailed this poignant observation last night:

Just a question I haven't heard anybody ask: Shouldn't the tea party crowd be having a cow over this new immigration bill that Arizona just passed? Doesn't that sound like big government tyranny to them? Giving the police the power to demand "papers" from someone just on their own suspicion?

Any chatter from the tea party folk to this effect? I haven't seen any.

Nor have I. It's almost as if the right-wing crowd is only offended by government abuses when they're imaginary."

And more:

As the former Republican congressman [and talk show host Joe Scarborough] put it, '...It does offend me when one out of every three citizens in the state of Arizona are Hispanics, and you have now put a target on the back of one out of three citizens, who, if they're walking their dog around a neighborhood, if they're walking their child to school, and they're an American citizen, or a legal, legal immigrant -- to now put a target on their back, and make them think that every time they walk out of their door they may have to prove something. I will tell you, that is un-American. It is unacceptable and it is un-American.'

UPDATE: In comments below, Mike Silence points to one "tea party" blogger who speaks out against the Arizona law.


  1. "Any chatter from the tea party folk to this effect? I haven't seen any."

    Well, one might start here:


    It's too easy to stereotype any side. I know. I've done it far too many times.

    And as for this: "Ill-conceived, thoughtless and dangerous."

    That's the most accurate, concise summation I've seen on the ridiculous measure.

  2. Anonymous3:45 PM

    I hope all Hispanics leave the state. That will change some minds because nothing will get done. The state will cease to function.

  3. i gather you mean as a sort of boycott?

  4. OXYMORON10:56 AM

    ""It's almost as if the right-wing crowd is only offended by government abuses when they're imaginary."

    How else do you get people clamoring for a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag desecration when the desecrations never happened? To name just one instance of their alternate universe.