Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Laws

It's been an incredible couple of weeks with the signing of the new Arizona immigration laws. They were revised just yesterday to include changes that would require police officers to question legal status ONLY if they are stopped for some reason (ie. traffic violation). Before that change, it was encouraged to seek out illegal immigrants, ask for their papers and if they didn't have them, to deport them. Most will say, "there is no difference" in Friday's change. I tend to agree. Unfortunately, law officers are not always the most honest people in the world, and tend to use their power unlawfully. So I am sure many illegal immigrants will be pulled over for "traffic violations", who were doing nothing wrong.

There are many people who have some fierce opinions on this issue, but instead of blatantly telling you mine, I just want to bring up some facts/issues/point that have been weighing heavily on my mind and my heart in regards to this issue. I am going to keep religion out of this one, and base the following statements on history and little facts.


#1 - When people do things that are classified as "illegal" in America, they are punished. Whether it's with jail or a ticket that must be paid, most of us have had to pay the price for doing an illegal act over the time of our lives. But for some reason in America, no one is ever really punished for living in America "illegally".

>>>I think of my friend Simone who is from South Africa - she had to go through A LOT of trouble to get into America legally, and is finally taking her citizenship test in a couple months. She has done everything right, paid a lot of money for it, and has gone through many trials to get there, but she did it.

#2 - I checked out California's medi-cal benefits, and Arizona's medi-caid benefits, and was surprised to find that anyone (even if you are an illegal immigrant) could get health benefits and welfare if you lived in California. In Arizona, you HAD to be not only a US Citizen, but an Arizona resident. When it comes to this matter, Arizona's laws make sense to me... Especially because California illegal immigrants are pushing $3 Million, and Arizona has a measly $500,000.

#3 - Is the US being hypocritical? The US is FOUNDED on illegal immigration. Unless you are full-on American Indian, then you have no right to say anything about illegal immigrants not getting a fair shot. Unfortunately, it seems as if anger over immigration is tied to racism and greed. Even in the 1930's, when white people immigrated it wasn't much of a problem. But at one point between the years of 1929 - 1930, 500,000 Mexicans were deported back to Mexico from the United States.

>>>>The first American law in regards to immigration was the Naturalization Act of 1790, which stated that "any free white man" with "good moral character" could become a legal citizen of the US.

>>>In 1913, the American Indians were stripped of their legal status and land.
This was overturned in 1952

>>Immigration was shut down during the Great Depression

#4 - In the 80's, there were only 500,000 illegal immigrants migrating to the US on a YEARLY basis.

#5 - In 1990, President Bush signed an Immigration Act that allowed 700,000 more illegal immigrants enter the US, per YEAR. Since 1986, congress has passed SEVEN amnesties for illegal immigrants.

>>>>>How is it fair that the US seemed to have an "open door" policy since 1990,
and now one state just wants to change their mind?

#6 - Illegal immigrants pay about $7 billion into social security every year.

#7 - Most children from illegal immigrants are citizens of the US because they were born here. It's the parents and grandparents who are illegal. And if they are deported in Arizona, looks like they will need to hire more social workers to place all these kids in foster homes, as they literally rip families apart.

#8 - This issue is too closely related to "genocide", and it makes me very nervous. Jews were always allowed to live in peace until Hitler came along and changed the rules around. What was first - they were required to carry around their papers, and wear a Jewish star on their clothes to identify who they were. We all know what happened from there...


Joel said...

I generally agree with most of what you are saying but I think the "genocide" comment is a little too far. This issue is very closely related to a "police state" where people have to carry around papers. I think the analogy is still as inflammatory as needed yet is a little more stable.

Carrie said...

Joel, too scared to join the crazies commenting on my facebook? Don't worry, I would be as well... ;)

Ummm, I say "genocide" to help people think about the wording people are using when they speak of illegals (very similar to the wording used in genocide's), and also because there is an obvious and blatant hate against Mexicans when it comes to this area.

Also, if everyone could check out what exactly the definition of genocide is, as it doesn't always include the act murder.

Thanks for reading!!!

Andrew Faris said...


Your clarification comment about "genocide" is helpful, but I still think it's a bit needlessly inflammatory, mostly because of the Hitler comparison. The reality is that we aren't even in the neighborhood of Nazi Germany, no matter how bad one might think the whole thing is.

I'd also say that #3 is a bit of a red herring at this point. There's not much we can do about that anymore.

In general though I found this post really helpful. Some of the historical stuff in particular was enlightening, as I know almost nothing about this.

The reality is that illegal immigration is a massive problem for almost everyone involved. On the one hand, it really does have terrible effects on economies. There is no such thing as a free lunch, but there are a lot of tax-funded lunches that illegals get without paying any of their own taxes on. And when you start adding these sorts of things up, the economic consequences are serious- California's economic mess is great evidence for this. We're not just talking about someone in Beverly Hills who no longer can afford to buy an extra Rolls.

Further, illegal immigration is simply not the best situation for immigrants. Illegals are often underpaid, undereducated, and under-cared for in general. Legal citizenship is simply better for them, though I recognize it's a difficult process. Of course, it is really saying something that for all of that, people still want to come here illegally. Life is better here than there for them, and we should take that seriously.

Arizona's laws make some sense to me because of #1. Why have the law if we're not going to enforce it? That doesn't seem right.

It seems to me that the biggest difficulty is figuring out what to do with illegals. How can we help them enjoy the benefits of America without simply turning a blind eye to their being illegal? I'm not sure what the answer is, but if nothing else, hopefully Arizona's policy will begin to push people to think more urgently about this.

Andrew Faris
Christians in Context

Carrie said...

Again, I like the point on "enforcing laws on something that is illegal". I don't like how the term "illegal" has become less than what it should hold. But THIS is why I also want to make my point about Bush's laws in which he lets A LOT of illegal immigrants into our country. Though they do this "legally", they are still costing Americans a lot of money. And with California's laws, we tell people - hey it's illegal to come here without the proper paperwork... but, if you make it in, we will hand you lots of money. no one is being consistent, and I would really like to see some consistency.