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April 24, 2010 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, Arizona Governor (R)Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that effectively transforms police into immigration agents, giving them the power to stop people on suspicion of being in the country illegally, and making failure to carry immigration documents an arrestable offense. The bill, supported by the usual suspects, but condemned by many including the President and the Mexican government, will undoubtedly face significant legal challenges.
posted by diocletian (346 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Papers, please.
posted by jeffkramer at 11:46 AM on April 24, 2010 [19 favorites]


I have quite a few immigrants in my extended family (my mother in law immigrated when she was a teenager), and I can't imagine what life would be like if you had to constantly worry about a pissed off cop bullying you for on-the-spot documentation.
posted by jeffkramer at 11:48 AM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


My dad's Mom was an illegal immigrant - she was from Ireland by way of Canada, crossing from Windsor (I think?) into Detroit where she met my grandfather and settled down - so when she started receiving xenophobic anti-immigration rants forwarded by some of her less politically literate brood, she put them right into their place by reminding them that, ya know, their own mother was an illegal immigrant. That shut them up pretty quick, until they realized a guy named Barack Hussein Obama was running for President and - whoosh - the deluge began again in earnest.

Anyways, I mention this to highlight how obviously xenophobic and racist this bit of legislation is, not to mention its, uh, unconstitutionality. How many white, Irish-Catholic illegal immigrants are going to be stopped by the cops do you think? Yeah, I thought so.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:49 AM on April 24, 2010 [17 favorites]


And since the Tea Partiers are all about liberty, no doubt they're gearing up to vehemently---wait, this affects brown people? Never mind.
posted by Bromius at 11:50 AM on April 24, 2010 [14 favorites]


In something like 15 years Hispanics will comprise 30% of the electorate. If the GOP backs Brewer then you may never see another Republican administration ever again.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:54 AM on April 24, 2010 [28 favorites]


I have relatives in Arizona who are thrilled about this.

They weren't thrilled when I said I was boycotting Arizona because of it, but that's just too bad.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:55 AM on April 24, 2010


I personally think it's noble that Gov. Brewer is doing so much to protect undocumented workers from the daily horror of having to live in Arizona.
posted by ford and the prefects at 11:58 AM on April 24, 2010 [25 favorites]



I have quite a few immigrants in my extended family (my mother in law immigrated when she was a teenager), and I can't imagine what life would be like if you had to constantly worry about a pissed off cop bullying you for on-the-spot documentation.



That isn't something new for a lot of people (and you don't even have to have dark skin to experience it.), but it hasn't been so blatantly put into a statute for almost fifty years as far as I know.

Even the police groups are fighting this kind of crap.

Liberty is only the freedom to be like them.
posted by Some1 at 11:59 AM on April 24, 2010


I'm not surprised. After all, this is the state that made a hero of Joe Arpaio.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 12:01 PM on April 24, 2010


This reminds of the local school board who instituted a dress code and made teachers responsible for enforcing it, 'cause hey, it's not like teachers have much else to do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:02 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


People like Brewer stand athwart history, yelling Stop...as history rushes past them. Picture someone standing neck deep in a river with their arms outstretched and their palms out.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:04 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I grew up in Texas. One day, we were driving back from having visited some family members in Brownsville, which is at the very southern tip of the state. We were driving north on the highway in a giant Chevy Malibu station wagon -- with two kids and a dog, that was the vehicle of choice.

We got stopped by La Migra. (Apparently station wagons driving north on the freeway near the border are in and of themselves probable cause, because they're so often driven by coyotes ferrying dozens of indocumentados across the border.) The agent approached us and asked, "Is there anybody in this vehicle who is not an American Citizen?"

"Yes!" said my father proudly.

The agent stuck his head in our car and looked at my white parents, my white self, and my white brother, and said in a bewildered tone, "Who?"

"Me!" said my father.

Now outright stumped, the agent said "Um, do you have any documentation?"

"Of course!" said my father, and handed over his green card.

"Fuckin England? For fuck's sake, I didn't mean YOU!" said the agent, and threw the green card back at my dad and stomped off. My dad shouted back "Just answering your questions, Officer!" in his posh British accent before peeling out.

At the time it was kind of funny, but since then that incident has taken on a really sinister tone for me. What if any of us had been Latino, or anything other than giant-nerd white? What if my father had been Bolivian, or Peruvian, or Mexican, instead of from the UK? The INS agent was clearly very, very angry at us; what might he have done?
posted by KathrynT at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [129 favorites]


Go for it, Republicans. Keep pissing off the fastest growing demographic in the state and the country. Keep re-electing Sheriff Joe Arpegio. Keep forming futile militias that hope to police the border. Take a hint from your spiritual cousins in Alabama who are running on an explicitly English-only platform.
posted by fatbird at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


This horrible profiling bill may be a disguised blessing, it certainly is a good cause to rally the AX Latinos and Democrats to the polls this year, might make it even harder for McCain to survive even if he pulls through the primary. That and the treatment of Sotomayor may be the wooden stake needed this year... we'll see.

Can anyone say California Proposition 187? Yeah the 1994 anti Latino bill was a significant factor in the Republican's general dismal showing in Calf for the last several years.

Hells Bells, 1/4 of AZ is Latino, and that is just going to get larger. The Republicans are really in short term panic mode right now.
posted by edgeways at 12:07 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


How many white, Irish-Catholic illegal immigrants are going to be stopped by the cops do you think?

Is there anything in the law to stop police from using this to haul in anyone they want?

Say for some reason, whether personal and petty or professional and well-founded, an officer wants to arrest my white brother (living near the south/east edge of the Phoenix metro area), who certainly doesn't have any immigration papers, because he was born in the U.S., and probably doesn't have a birth certificate handy. Can that officer use this new law?
posted by weston at 12:08 PM on April 24, 2010


Can that officer use this new law?

With apologies to your brother, I kind of hope he does, because that is exactly the kind of thing that will lead to it being struck down as fast as is humanly possible
posted by KathrynT at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to Montana and North Dakota enacting the same laws to keep those pesky Canadians out!!
posted by contessa at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


How many white, Irish-Catholic illegal immigrants are going to be stopped by the cops do you think?

Of course this new law is pretty much a codified form of racial profiling, but it's also important to remember that the total lack of any guidelines, coupled with the fact that any officer can now arrest you simply on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant, means that basically cops in Arizona now have a legal, trouble-free way of fucking with anyone they want to fuck with. (On preview, what weston said.)

Also: What constitutes proof of legal status? A driver's license? A social security card, which nobody ever carries with them? A birth certificate, which according to this law's supporters no longer counts as proof you're a natural born citizen? When I drive through Arizona, what do I need to start carrying with me?
posted by hifiparasol at 12:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Can anyone say they're surprised? Right or wrong, this is being passed in a state with near 10% unemployment, about 8% of the state is comprised of illegal immigrants (according to Pew), and sentiment there seems that the federal government isn't doing its job.

After the failure of immigration reform, and the chance of a more cohesive policy during the Bush administration, my only shock is that this hasn't come up earlier.
posted by l2p at 12:12 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, in the midst of the forest of snark does anyone have any substantive idea how to spread the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses and children across all 50 states instead of expecting just a handful of border states to somehow provide all that's needed?
posted by jfuller at 12:15 PM on April 24, 2010


I don't know, how should we spread the burden of providing services to Nebraskans to all 50 states? What the fuck are you on about?
posted by enn at 12:15 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I spent the better part of the 2000's in Arizona, and sometimes I still feel like I don't understand that place at all.

I'm trying to take heart from all the leaders within the Arizona community who don't support this legislation. ASU President, Michael Crow, is firmly against this legislation. Phoenix mayor, Phil Gordon, isn't going down without a fight.

My suspicion is that this will eventually be ruled as unconstitutional under article 1, section 8, clause 4 of the constitution, which places immigration law under Congressional power. In the meantime, the Arizona Coalition for Migrant Rights has an excellent & up-to-date resource guide for those who want to hear and support other, more humane, voices about immigration on the Arizona-Mexico border.
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:17 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


A significant block of Republican voters are Latino, voted for Bush, most likely support the new legislation in Arizona. Just sayin'.
posted by effluvia at 12:20 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, this shit is just silly.

People with the wrong last name and skin color who were born in this country have a huge added hassle added to coming back after international travel. With the right kind of name and skin color and accent you get no problems whatsoever.

It isn't about legal vs. illegal status - the legality is a way to get away with the real motivating factor - simple racism, mixed with some good old fashioned class hatred.
posted by idiopath at 12:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


jfuller, what services are undocumented workers being given? Without a Social Security number, you can't claim a lot of state benefits; if they have a (fake) SS#, they're usually working and paying Social Security and FICA into a system that they'll never, ever pull from. Do you mean emergency medical services or public school services or what?
posted by KathrynT at 12:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


God probably told Brewer to sign the bill into law, just as God told her to take away the state's domestic partner benefits a year after they were implemented.
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised. After all, this is the state that made a hero of Joe Arpaio.

Joe Arpaio previously here on MeFi.
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on April 24, 2010


Eight years after arriving on the shores of the land of the free and home of the brave I became eligible for naturalization. That day I knew I never would, with all due respect. The principles on which this young nation was founded one were those to be admired particularly when so many of the 'old world' were still mired in their historic divisions, classes and legacies. Here, one could and did have a chance to become true to themself, regardless of history, family, heritage, clan, creed or class. Or so one believed...

the irony of carrying one's green card around, as I found out one day on the bus from Stockton to Market St on the way to the Wells Fargo to open an account, was that you could get your pocket picked and your wallet stolen. You just can't risk losing that document, you don't carry it around. Photocopies don't fly...

When will we start wearing yellow stars or pink triangles?
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


In fact I think it was in Phoenix about 5 years ago a bunch of H1B types were arrested at work for not having their papers with them but they all said they'd left them locked up in a safe place at home. No one is more law abiding and fearful than a legal immigrant, having known too many to know.
posted by infini at 12:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


The great irony, of course, is that with the low price of real estate in AZ and the current exchange rate, the state is rapidly being overrun by upper-middle-class, upper-middle-aged Canadians.

Profile that, Arizona!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


My dad got up at 3:00 in the morning and sat in line for literally fifteen hours, in the rain, in November, to renew his green card in person rather than mail it in. Six to eight weeks without proof of legality? Uh, not really on. He was pretty mad about it.
posted by KathrynT at 12:30 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


A significant block of Republican voters are Latino, voted for Bush, most likely support the new legislation in Arizona. Just sayin'.

If that's true, what a perfect example of Republican "I got mine--fuck you."
posted by applemeat at 12:31 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is going to be "great" for the Arizona economy, as they discover just how much illegal immigrant labor is being used.

When I drive through Arizona, what do I need to start carrying with me?

Theoretically, a passport would work, but the correct answer is "Never go to Arizona"

how to spread the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses and children across all 50 states

Funny, someone thinks there aren't any of "those" people in New York, California, Illinois.....

Sorry, Illinois, New York and California already do more than enough to support the other states -- see the amount they get back in spending for every federal dollar paid. (In 2005? CA 0.79, NY 0.79, IL 0.73. Arizona? $1.30.)

Personally, I'm all for dumping *more* of this on the border states. Esp. when they decide to go all Soviet on us and demand that we be able to prove citizenship *at any time.*
posted by eriko at 12:32 PM on April 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Fucking fascists.
posted by jacalata at 12:34 PM on April 24, 2010


"Jesus Christ. Fucking fascists."

ya know, you leave out that middle period and you've got a whole different meaning... but still descriptive of the interrelationships of members of the Republican Party.
posted by HuronBob at 12:38 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses

undocumented workers aren't and have never been a burden to the state &/or businesses, they're always a plus - it's great having a ton of people who:

- are mostly too afraid to use social services for fear of discovery & deportation
- are willing/forced to work for less than minimum wage
- are never recorded for payroll taxes (which go back to the state instead)
- are also too scared to report labor & human rights abuses
- and who, all the while, pay taxes every day they're here
posted by jammy at 12:39 PM on April 24, 2010 [27 favorites]


I have relatives in Arizona who are thrilled about this.

They weren't thrilled when I said I was boycotting Arizona because of it, but that's just too bad.
Truckers Plan Boycott Over New Ariz. Anti-illegal-immigration Law.

Lawyers Group to Boycott Arizona; Pulls Fall National Convention from Scottsdale Marriott.

Arizona Congressman Urges Boycott of Arizona.

Boycott Arizona | Online Petition.

Boycott Arizona Facebook page.

Poll: Should Major League Baseball Boycott Arizona?

With New Law, Outlook for Arizona Tourism Not Good.
I expect we'll see a lot more organized boycotts in the days and weeks ahead.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


A significant block of Republican voters are Latino, voted for Bush, most likely support the new legislation in Arizona. Just sayin'.

Eh, I doubt that.

For all Bush's many actual failings, the biggest reason many Republicans were anti-Bush is that he was "soft on immigration."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:42 PM on April 24, 2010


A significant block of Republican voters are Latino, voted for Bush, most likely support the new legislation in Arizona. Just sayin'.

I imagine that dedicated R vote won't survive the first time one of those Latinos who's an American citizen gets arrested because he can't prove that he's American.
posted by fatbird at 12:43 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The way to handle this is for all of the law enforcement officers who are against it to start hassling white people. I don't mean the driver's of the cars, because they should have a license. I mean hauling in everyone else in the car from kids on up because they aren't carrying government proof they were born here. Make them wait at the police station until the family rounds up their papers.
You can never be too sure where those kids were born.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:46 PM on April 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Six to eight weeks without proof of legality? Uh, not really on.

Yeah, after mine was stolen I called a friend who worked for the FTC's Identity Fraud division for the best advice. Go straight to report it to the police, then take that report receipt straight to the INS or whatever they're called now and get a stamp in your passport till the new one arrives in the mail. Oh and $400 online for a replacement if you please. As if losing my whole wallet wasn't enough.

Here I had the relevant office call me up when my paperwork was complete and ask me if it would be convenient for me to come by on a friday or a monday to pick up my soc. sec etc :) gotta love the finz, they're actually embarrassed by their own hardliners

Responding to the emerging SDP platform on employment-based immigration, Centre Party Chair and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that the statements made by the SDP’s Eero Heinäluoma were offensive.

Commenting from a party convention in Lappeenranta, Vanhanen said that the SDP was playing the politics of confrontation. “It is distasteful to see the SDP trying to stir up political sentiment,” Vanhanen said.

posted by infini at 12:48 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


In fact I think it was in Phoenix about 5 years ago a bunch of H1B types were arrested at work for not having their papers with them but they all said they'd left them locked up in a safe place at home.

The guy in the seat in front of me getting hustled off Amtrak's Chicago-to-New-York run at 5:00 in the morning by ICE agents because it was taking him longer than the 5 seconds or so they were willing to wait for him to dig out his immigration paperwork was one of the creepier things I've seen lately.
posted by enn at 12:50 PM on April 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


So, in the midst of the forest of snark does anyone have any substantive idea how to spread the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses and children across all 50 states instead of expecting just a handful of border states to somehow provide all that's needed?

Enforce laws against companies that employ undocumented workers? If we, as a country, were serious about treating this as a problem, that's the only solution that makes sense. But that's not something that Republicans have ever gotten behind. I wonder why?

But setting that aside for a moment, even if you don't have a solution, snark is the only appropriate response to a measure that's almost certainly unconstitutional and clearly open to abuse. I suppose you're carrying proof of your citizenship right now?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:51 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've lived in arizona for 25 years. I love this state and the natural beauty that surrounds me everywhere I go. But this state legislature is making Arizona unlivable. Peace out, it was good while it lasted.
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:53 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


I didn't see anything about the bill telling how much $$$ is being set aside to build new jails or pay cops overtime to do all the paperwork that comes with arresting a family of 4 (or 5, or 6, etc.). I'm sorry, but without money, this bill lacks any teeth at all, except in imagination-land (a most dangerous place for anti-immigration folks)
posted by Lukenlogs at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't mean the driver's of the cars, because they should have a license.

A drivers license is not proof of immigration status. They could have an expired visa, for instance. Or have been in the country legally at one point and returned illegally. Only a valid current visa, greencard, US passport or US birth certificate should be accepted. (No photocopies or anything either).
posted by jacalata at 12:55 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Border states", you say?
This border zone is actually a 100 mile swath, legislatively defined, that wraps our entire country. According to the most recent data from Government Accountability Office3, CBP utilizes 33 permanent checkpoints supplemented by an undisclosed number of “tactical mobile” checkpoints.

Harassment of average American citizens has become so wide spread in the Southwest quadrant that attorneys of the ACLU are currently preparing lawsuits demanding a restoration of our inherent rights as enshrined into the Constitution and an end to warrantless searches.4

Furthermore, using 2007 Census Bureau numbers the ACLU has calculated that nearly 2 in 3 Americans live within this 100 mile swath.
How could this affect you US citizens within the border zone?

Immigration officials detaining, deporting American citizens
Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don't have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves. Less affluent or resourceful U.S. citizens who are detained must try to maneuver on their own through a complicated system.

"It becomes your word against the government's, even when you know and insist that you're a U.S. citizen," Siulc said. "Your word doesn't always count, and the government doesn't always investigate fully."

This is not a rarity.
Veloz is one of hundreds of U.S. citizens who have landed in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and struggled to prove they don't belong there, according to advocacy groups and legal scholars, who have tracked such cases around the country. Some citizens have been deported.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:06 PM on April 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


All well and good to be all nice about the mess facing our nation but face it, there is a very serious illegal alien issue in our country. Now:
1. we are not talking about illegals who are Irish, or German etc--they meld in, get jobs and do not and did number in the millions and millions.
2. we are talking about border states where illegals die in the desert, where those crossing the border may be drug mules etc.
3. we are talking about a bad economy where legals (Hispanic or otherwise) need jobs but jobs go to those illegals working for very low salaries etc.
4. We are talking too about the many American farmers and businesses that knowingly hire illegals for cheap labor and illegals who live in crowed and unhealthy conditions.
5. What is to be done? In Connecticut, where I live, there are illegals but they do lawns, some building work etc and do not represent a huge presense so no one ever seems upset or complains about their being here.
6. I detest the idea of giving cops the right to stop people who fit a profile and asking them questions like this too....I know, though, that an alternative is to make Americans carry passports or national identification--something most of us do not want done.
7. Now before you rush off and badmouth that retroactive state--and it is one so far as I am concerned--what would you want done if you lived there and confronted what seems to be the major problems that those citizens confront. They seem to support this obnoxious new law.
posted by Postroad at 1:07 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


What are the odds that the Governor, or her family, or her cabinet, or her staff, happen to be carrying a passport or birth certificate on them?

A police officer with an imagination could have a lot of fun with this stupid law.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:08 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


we are not talking about illegals who are Irish, or German etc--they meld in, get jobs
posted by infini at 1:13 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


The fastest way to get this bill repealed would be for a cop to demand Brewer's documents in a public venue, and then arrest the governor on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. I hope that thought occurs to some Nevada police officer.
posted by happyroach at 1:18 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


or Arizona police officer, even.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Postroad: there is a longstanding tradition of immigrants in this country maintaining traditions (and yes, even language) from their country of origin.

America is inundated with the imported culture of immigrants - the food, language, and culture of Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and of course England has all played some part in forming the array of regional identities. But there is a double standard when the country of origin is not "white".

There are neighborhoods in my city where most people speak Russian, and shop signs are in Cyrillic, and everyone goes to the Russian Orthodox church. Oddly enough I don't hear the local reactionaries complain that these cold war immigrants never let their old language and culture go.

I get a little suspicious about the fact that it is always the Mexicans and Guatemalans who are accused of belonging to a foreign culture that threatens to wipe out American culture. American culture is built on the intermingling of cultures imported from elsewhere, and has been ever since the first people from England set up shop.

The fact that illegals live in unsafe conditions, risk injury or death in crossing the borders, and work for substandard wages primarily hurt the illegals themselves, and these conditions could be alleviated with a fair and liberal immigration policy. And these problems will be exacerbated by making immigration policy stricter, just as drug based crime and incarceration has been escalated by the War on Drugs.
posted by idiopath at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2010 [25 favorites]


Postroad, is that a troll?
posted by defenestration at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of ways to boycott Arizona before I realized how easily this can be done inadvertently.
posted by applemeat at 1:38 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Looking forward to Montana and North Dakota New York enacting the same laws to keep those pesky Canadians out!!

FTFY :(
posted by furtive at 1:40 PM on April 24, 2010


Take a hint from your spiritual cousins in Alabama who are running on an explicitly English-only platform.

While there's all kinds of racist baggage with that, the idea of a single language is an important one. I spent a long time learning French, and at one point was nearly fluent, although my vocabulary and advanced inflection forms weren't as good as a native's.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was that your language shapes the world around you. Your words are both your tools and your blinders. There are thoughts you can think in French that you simply can't have in English, and vice-versa. It's hard to explain to people who aren't multilingual, but a language shapes your worldview permanently, and some ideas simply can't cross the cultural divide. It's important for a country to share a universal language; I would argue, in fact, that a common language is what makes a country. Balkanized language leads to racial tension, because if you can't understand someone, it's much harder to empathize with them or cooperate to achieve shared goals... or even to decide what the shared goals are in the first place.

You also get large problems in voting and politics, because you're at the mercy of translators to get ideas correct, and they don't always succeed. They typically have limited space to work in, and some languages are very verbose and indirect, making precise translations in the allotted space nearly impossible. And even with unlimited time and space, they can still get things badly wrong. Witness, for instance, the mistranslation of the Iranian president's "call for the destruction of Israel" -- in actual fact, he said nothing of the sort. It was more an observation that Israel would eventually fail as a state, that the tide of history would someday sweep it aside. It wasn't at all as threatening as it was painted in the Western media. That translation error, all by itself, significantly increased world tension.

(as an aside, this may also be a partial explanation for why we're constantly at odds with the Middle East... apparently, many of our ideas must not translate well into their languages, and theirs certainly don't appear to come back to English intact.)

I would love to see more languages in this country, not fewer, because of the power that brings to think new thoughts, but I also believe it's really, really important for there to be a single, central one, in which most or all government business is conducted.

I instinctively dislike the guy in that video, and I think his suggestion to restrict drivers licences to English speakers is stupid. You don't need to speak English to drive. However, if you want to vote, you absolutely should be sufficiently fluent to understand what you're voting on, without needing to depend on translators. You should never vote on something you can't read.
posted by Malor at 1:42 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Y'know...If Arizonans really wanted to stop illegal immigration into the state, all they would need to do is pass a mandatory sentencing law requiring a minimum of, say, 20 years in prison for anyone hiring an undocumented worker. No exceptions. No three strikes.

Somehow, though, I don't see it happening.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:46 PM on April 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Postroad, is that a troll?
posted by defenestration at 4:35 PM on April 24</i

defenestration -- Speaking as someone who is often accused of being a troll and who doesn't necessarily agree or disagree with postroad I'd like to remind everybody that this is an issue that is controversial for a reason: there are good arguments on both sides. Someone can be a perfectly honorable man or women, and be for or against this Arizona law. Now if someone says, "I think illegal immigrants ought to be shot on sight," or "I think Arizona should be given back to the Mexicans" that's more like a troll (although that second argument is not all that unreasonable).

posted by Faze at 1:50 PM on April 24, 2010


I was thinking of ways to boycott Arizona before I realized how easily this can be done inadvertently.

While avoiding travel to Arizona here's a start.

Companies based in Arizona *
Best Western
Discount Tire
First Solar
GoDaddy
Honeywell Aerospace
Pei Wei
Peter Piper Pizza
Petsmart
PF Changs
Ramada
U-Haul
US Airways
posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Malor: I agree that sharing a language is important, but I think that the point is mostly a theoretical one for the time being. A certain number of the Russian immigrants in my city only speak Russian, a certain number of the Chinese immigrants only speak Chinese, etc. (mostly only the older generation) - but this is part of a stable long term pattern, not some kind of new challenge to the hegemony of the English language.

If anything the rest of the world has reason to fear being smothered under the ubiquitous spread of the English language and American culture.

If and when our culture is fragmented by ubiquitous language barriers that is an important thing to consider, but really it just isn't happening. And it is a two way street - while our own geopolitical entity was founded originally by English speakers, there is a significant history of Spanish and French language culture on this continent, and we have reason to learn their languages as well (and then there are of course the various native languages which are in much greater threat of disappearing than English is).
posted by idiopath at 1:53 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


All well and good to be all nice about the mess facing our nation but face it, there is a very serious illegal alien issue in our country. Now:
1. we are not talking about illegals who are Irish, or German etc--they meld in, get jobs and do not and did number in the millions and millions.


Get jobs? Brown people that come here also get jobs. In fact, that's why they're here.

When people are willing to pay real prices for construction, landscaping, and all the produce that is grown in this country, employers can then pay real wages. As of right now, the only people willing to be paid what those employers can afford to pay, are people coming from poorer countries.

California is the biggest agricultural state in the country. California grows many crops that must be picked by hand. When you keep illegal workers out, those crops aren't picked. For some reason, people who live here legally aren't willing to spend a full day doing hard, manual labor. Who is going to do those jobs when Americans won't? If illegal workers are taking jobs away from Americans, shouldn't Americans be standing on street corners hoping to be picked up by housepainters and landscapers? I don't see that happening.

Illegal workers put much, much more into the economy than they take out. California's economy depends on them, and this state supports pretty much every other state, excepting New York and Illinois and maybe a couple others.

The "serious illegal alien issue facing our country" is that we can't do without cheap labor. And Americans won't do those jobs.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:55 PM on April 24, 2010 [36 favorites]


1. we are not talking about illegals who are Irish, or German etc--they meld in, get jobs and do not and did number in the millions and millions. I hate to say this but "cite?". I am in Chicago and there are lots of Irish and Polish here without papers. Drive past Milwaukee and Belmont any morning before 8 and you can see for yourself. One of the largest polish communities outside of Warsaw is Chicago.

2. we are talking about border states where illegals die in the desert, where those crossing the border may be drug mules etc. If you could cross the border to Canada and earn 3-10 times what you are earning... per hour...would you consider it? I believe that most people would at least consider it and many would do it. Drugs--separate issue. Supplying a demand. The profit motive is enough for many to risk death.

3. we are talking about a bad economy where legals (Hispanic or otherwise) need jobs but jobs go to those illegals working for very low salaries etc.
Don't fool yourself. These folks were working for low salaries when the economy was good and the companies that they worked for profited heartily. A favor please, the term "legals" is loaded and not helpful. How about citizens?

4. We are talking too about the many American farmers and businesses that knowingly hire illegals for cheap labor and illegals who live in crowed and unhealthy conditions. Migrant labor has followed the crop since California Baja and California Alta were still part of the same country. The conditions are poor and in areas remain largely unchanged and under-regulated.

5. What is to be done? In Connecticut, where I live, there are illegals but they do lawns, some building work etc and do not represent a huge presense so no one ever seems upset or complains about their being here. I think you are wrong but cannot prove it. There are more migrants in Connecticut than you believe. Please tell me that I misunderstand the last part of your statement. Is no one upset because "they know their place"? That is the subtext I take. Honestly, help me understand your view.

6. I detest the idea of giving cops the right to stop people who fit a profile and asking them questions like this too....I know, though, that an alternative is to make Americans carry passports or national identification--something most of us do not want done. Then don't stand for a lazy political solution. Many Americans will be stopped, without cause, because of their brown skin. They won't get a second glance if they look Polish or Irish. If we really can't solve this...we ought to be ashamed.

7. Now before you rush off and badmouth that retroactive state--and it is one so far as I am concerned--what would you want done if you lived there and confronted what seems to be the major problems that those citizens confront. They seem to support this obnoxious new law. It is a shame that the governor has taken a knee-jerk approach. I would fine any business $100,000 per employee that has been hired illegally. I would give every business 30 days and then start monitoring the businesses. You cut that demand and you will diminish the supply greatly. Secondly, I would look at wages in the state and really work hard to figure out a living wage for the citizens of Arizona. If we want to put people to work at the jobs that the immigrants are forced out of, they must pay a decent wage (after all, the argument for undocumented labor is that Americans will not do the job). There are lots of other things to do after that (reach out to legally bring migrants to America for finite stays, legislate migrant housing and pay, etc.).

I should note that I lived in Tijuana for many years and have known many people who crossed the border without documents. To a person they would say "I don't want to be a US citizen, I just want to work there and return here, safely." Personally, I don't find this entirely unreasonable.

I feel strongly that the issue of immigration is one that can/should be addressed but the current political climate is stifling any real discussion. A lasting solution will be nuanced. A stop-gap solution like this only pours gasoline on a fire.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:56 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


I thought about making this topic my first FPP when the news hit us in Arizona yesterday. But I was too angry to even think. You can be pretty pale in Arizona to still be mistaken as Mexican, as I and my also-black-haired roommate have both experienced. In addition, many people have trouble differentiating between the local Natives and the Mexicans. It's not just our brown brothers and sisters that worry about this new law. It's *certainly* not just illegal immigrants that should be worried:

Just this Wednesday, Abdon was told he did not have enough paperwork on him when he pulled into a weigh station to have his commercial truck checked. He provided his commercial driver’s license and a social security number but ended up handcuffed. An agent called his wife and she had to leave work to drive home and grab other documents like his birth certificate.

Oh, sooooo sorry we humiliated you in public, made you AND your wife miss hours of work, in addition to the cost of her drive to and from the weight station, and the other indignities... you have an accent and brown skin. It really is YOUR fault for learning Spanish as your first language at home. Please don't sue the pants off our nearly bankrupt state.

This bill is going to kill the dredges of our slumped economy. Well, this and another law that was passed and signed. Within 15 minutes of hearing Brewer signed these in, two families I know of canceled summer plans to visit. They're afraid we're a bunch of armed racists. Goodbye golfing and convention monies. Thanks a lot, Brewer.

Oh, don't forget, there's a lot of talk about Arpaio running for governor.

Anyone know a good sane state where the barometric pressure doesn't shift a lot? I just cannot take it here anymore.
posted by _paegan_ at 2:01 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I drive through Arizona, what do I need to start carrying with me?

A handgun, obviously. The commies are taking over, they're trying to take our guns away and they've forced everyone to carry internal passports.

Here: we can march on the Arizona State Capital while the teabaggers siege the White House.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:02 PM on April 24, 2010


I am in Chicago and there are lots of Irish and Polish here without papers. Drive past Milwaukee and Belmont any morning before 8 and you can see for yourself. One of the largest polish communities outside of Warsaw is Chicago.

Yep. And is Illinois instructing CPD to demand their papers? Of course not.
posted by applemeat at 2:04 PM on April 24, 2010


Postroad: face it, there is not a "serious illegal alien issue" facing this country at all - really, it's a red herring

1. actually, at one point German & Irish immigrants did number in the millions, and yes back then folks worried about whether they were going to "meld in" because y'know, they were speaking German & Gaelic and were eating weird foods and guess what happened? nothing! also, guess what: the vast majority of non-Irish and non-German immigrants meld in just fine, thanks, and get jobs & all that

2. what exactly is your point here?

3. first, this is not the fault of immigrants, regardless of their status - second, this is an incredibly simplistic way to regard employment/unemployment

4. strange that the AZ government doesn't seem that concerned with this, no?

5. i'm not catching your point here either? that as long as there's only a few brown faces in the mix, and as long as they're doing menial labor, no one gets too freaked out? and that's a good thing?

6. i agree! giving cops this kind of power is detestable - just as importantly, it's completely unnecessary and serves no real purpose

7. if i lived there, and i have lived in the southwest, i would want my legislature to stop passing blatantly racist bills & instead focus on real problems, not the boogieman of the "illegal alien," a trope rightwing politicans have been trotting out for more than a century now - the people who supported this bill did so out of fear, ignorance, and plain old-fashioned racism

p.s. please stop using the term "illegal" to refer to human beings - not only is it nonsensical, it's repugnant
posted by jammy at 2:08 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's important for a country to share a universal language; I would argue, in fact, that a common language is what makes a country.
This is really a totally different discussion, but I think that citizens of Switzerland and India would probably disagree.
posted by craichead at 2:09 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


The "serious illegal alien issue facing our country" is that we can't do without cheap labor. And Americans won't do those jobs.

Truer words have never been spoken. Er, typed. How fucking dare people look down upon those who are willing to do the kind of jobs that they, the lookers-downers, would never deign to do themselves, nor allow their children to do.


Oh, don't forget, there's a lot of talk about Arpaio running for governor.

It is a sad state of affairs when John McCain appears to be the most reasonable elected official a State can produce.


Oh, how I long for the day some idiot ICE agent decides to focus on the nonwhite color of my skin and the confusingly Andean cast to my features, at the expense of the new york jew coming out of my mouth with every increasingly strident word. Especially since I will then triumphantly brandish the valid US passport I carry with me everywhere, complete with suspicious year-long valid entry visas to China - the red menace! - and Tibetan entry permits. I imagine it shall be quite comical, at least until they shoot me for resisting arrest/being a smartass.
posted by elizardbits at 2:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd like to remind everybody that this is an issue that is controversial for a reason: there are good arguments on both sides.

really? feel free to make a good argument for this bill - i have yet to hear one
posted by jammy at 2:14 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I heard this morning that the USA has opened the H1B quota up again but this time around there are far fewer Indians than ever before. Seems they're far too interested in their own booming economy to bother with the hassles - which is interesting, since for the most part migration is motivated by higher income generating opportunities than anything else, regardless of country. Witness the xenophobia that swept through South Africa a couple of years ago particularly against the Zimbabweans. The US isn't the only country that faces this challenge but in many ways, still, it "leads" the world in "what's done". What is shameful otoh is the fact that as a nation perceived both internally and to some extent externally as a "leader" it is choosing ways that aren't always the most honorable, ethical or with the best long term solution. A middle path is required, for most of the OECD world, regardless of where their particular migrant problems originate from.

As Pico Iyer said, about 5 years ago,

"For many years now, globalism has been seen only in the context of markets and technologies, data and goods flying around the world with unprecedented speed. But people are being propelled around the globe as never before, too, and more and more of them have parts of themselves in many different cultures.

How does a new kind of global imagination arise out of the 21st century life-style, and what new forms of relationship and affiliation and community and self are coming into being ?

How do we consciously construct a new kind of global dreaming and, more fundamentally, a planetary conscience ?

Globalism is creating a new kind of being, one who is in a position to choose his or her sense of tradition, of loyalty, of religion and of home as never before. But with these new choices come new kinds of challenges. How can the socalled global soul turn the unfamiliar, but fundamental, conditions of his life to advantage, and alchemize out of our newly linked world a new and revolutionary kind of life?"


In October, I will represent both my adopted home and my passport country in a European women's council, this will be an interesting issue to be considered, won't it?
posted by infini at 2:19 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]




“Not only blacks and whites but Asians and Native Americans share the English language. Even Hispanics, the one American ethnic group defined by language, prove no exception. People talk a great deal nowadays about the Hispanization of America, and you can indeed hear Spanish spoken in stores and on street corners in places you wouldn't have heard it thirty years ago. But, as the linguist Geoffery Nunberg has pointed out, the proportion of non-English-speaking residents is just a quarter of what it was in 1890, in the midst of the last great period of immigration. He cites a Florida poll that shows that 98 percent of Hispanics want their children to speak English well; and a RAND Corporation study showing that in California the vast majority of first-generation Hispanics have native fluency in English, and only half of their children speak Spanish at all. If being American means understanding English, then U.S. Born Hispanics overwhelmingly (and increasingly) pass the test.”

Kwame Anthony Appiah
The Ethics of Identity, 115-116
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


I've lived in border states my entire life and "serious illegal alien issue" is nothing more than code for "those goddamn mexicans are taking over!". Arizona rednecks are blaming their economic meltdown on illegal immigrants even though those same workers give more economic benefit than they take.

If it was a problem, Arizona only need to enforce and strengthen employment laws. If there was no work for immigrants, they wouldn't be there. Anyone caught hiring someone without the right to work in the US would be severely punished. Large fines and jail time for the CEO/owner. But that would fuck up the economy so it would never happen.

So instead they just harass immigrants and the 40% of Phoenix and Tucson who are citizens and legal residents to give the opinion they're being tough on immigration since that goddamn Obama won't do anything (don't forget this is the same state that will require Obama to produce his birth certificate in order to be on the ballot in Arizona in 2012).

Instead of citing the driver/employer of a day laborer, the actual laborer is guilty of obstructing traffic at the Home Depot.

An Arizona politician said he could tell illegal immigrants but the shoes they wear. Jesus Christ.

To make this law fair, police should demand proof of citizenship from everyone. That would never happen since white people rarely carry ID. Plus it doesn't sound that American, does it. But it is OK to do so for brown people.

Fuck you Arizona. I was born in Arizona and got the fuck out when Ev Mecham became governor. I have good friends in Arizona and I love being outdoors there. But I'll not return until this law is overturned.
posted by birdherder at 2:33 PM on April 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


The great irony, of course, is that with the low price of real estate in AZ and the current exchange rate, the state is rapidly being overrun by upper-middle-class, upper-middle-aged Canadians.

My parents are among them. They are white. Somehow I don't think they have much to worry about.

(But I've forwarded them this story anyway. Thanks for posting, diocletian.)

there is a very serious illegal alien issue in our country

If someone who believes this could provide some evidence that illegal immigration is a serious problem -- specifically, evidence that illegal immigration causes social harms that could not be solved by (a) an amnesty or (b) making it easier to enter the US legally -- I'd be much obliged.
posted by twirlip at 2:51 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


but I also believe it's really, really important for there to be a single, central one, in which most or all government business is conducted.

I know! I'm sick of turning on CSPAN to watch Senate proceedings and hearing nothing but Spanish!

I live in Arizona but am moving away in 3 months, and boy, I couldn't be more relieved. I'll miss Tuscon, my friends, lots of the local culture, the beauty of the desert, but the state Republicans are fucking scumbags who are hellbent on ruining the state. I think they have some idea that they want it to be the great Wild West, when Good [white] Men stood up for themselves and didn't need no help from no gubmint when it came to taking care of Bad [brown] People. I mean, they are trying to pass a law to let anyone over 18 carry a concealed handgun WITHOUT A LICENSE. No background check, no safety classes, nothing.

Just a few of the things that they have done w/r/t destroying the humanity of the state, from Tucson's alternative paper the Tucson Weekly:
"The Republicans running our state have already stripped health-care coverage from more than 300,000 people below the federal poverty line. They have made Arizona the only state without a KidsCare program. They've dumped all-day kindergarten and cut away at our schools. They slashed funding for our universities [in the hundreds of millions of dollars], forcing tuition increases on college students and their parents. They've eliminated Arizona's GED program. They cut programs for the disabled and the mentally ill. They've taken away hospice care from people who are dying. They have swiped so much money from state parks that several will have to close. They have taken money from funds meant to help victims of crimes. They have sold off the state's capitol building."

Next month there's a 1c sales tax proposition to be voted on [PROP 100]. If it passes, it'll bring in $867 million, which we need desperately. If it doesn't pass, the Repubs already have their budget cuts ready (again from the Tucson Weekly):
"They will cut another $428 million from education. They will cut $107 million from our universities. They will cut about $150 million from health-care funding. They will cut $100 million from the criminal-justice system. ....
hose cuts will mean the state will lose another 13,000 jobs, according to economists at the UA Eller College of Management. On top of that, we'll lose more than $442 million in federal matching funds that would bring new dollars into our economy."

Keep in mind those cuts are ON TOP of hundreds of millions of dollars already cut from all those programs, and those aren't even ALL of the cuts planned. The upper admin of the University of Arizona has had many meetings with legislators, trying to get some support for higher ed -- they've been told by many that they don't want to just reduce state funding for higher education, they want to eliminate it entirely. Not to mention that, if the proposition fails, they will take it as a sign that Arizonans want more tax cuts, which they will then pass, and use the resulting budget shortfalls to cut more and more.

I remember a while back there was some post here about how some libertarians were praising Somalia as some sort of free-market, no govt. intervention mecca. Well, if you want to know what an American Somalia would look like, watch AZ for the next few years, if these fucks keep getting their way.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:54 PM on April 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


When do we get to the farce bit? This just seems to repeat as tragedy.
posted by prefpara at 3:00 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fail.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:09 PM on April 24, 2010


idiopath wrote: "With the right kind of name and skin color and accent you get no problems whatsoever."

Tell me about it. You make a mildly racist crack and they glance at your passport and wave you right on through. Those crafty Canadians must be up to something, though. They don't even look at your passport at the land borders.
posted by wierdo at 3:10 PM on April 24, 2010


I am always bothered by people making the claim that illegal immigrants are a net drain on the economy. I'm not from AZ, but I did live in NYC, not exactly the highest concentration of US citizens in the world.

I also worked at a drug testing laboratory in Boston.

Quite a few businesses in Boston hire illegal immigrants (Brazillian, Cape Verdean, and Dominican being the most common in the area), obviously. When they came in for a pee test, they had to put their SSN on the form. Quite a few of the numbers that crossed my desk were overtly fake (like, they started with 7s and 8s) or changed each time the person filled out a form.

The worst is that restaurants and landscaping firms are probably not sending illegal immigrants who test positive for weed to rehab -- they're firing them without legal recourse. Meanwhile, their FICA and income taxes go into a black hole, since they never file... and that money is added to the general fund of the local/state/federal governments. Do the costs of public schools and emergency services really outweigh the unclaimed taxes? (Not to mention sales taxes.)
posted by zvs at 3:11 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck, paegan. I hadn't heard the Brewer had actually signed the handgun law. How depressingly stupid. The woman is like Sarah Palin without the zazz.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


In Texas, there were many large farms that would pay pickers not by the week or the month, but by the season. You'd show up to pick oranges, you'd pick oranges all season, and then at the end you'd get paid. Sounds. . . well, not great, but at least above board, right?

Except the grove owners would call la migra the day before you were due to get paid, and have you and everyone else that was working for them deported. Now THERE'S a way to save on labor costs. Funny how la migra never gave any scrutiny to the people hiring/enslaving the indocumentados. . .
posted by KathrynT at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Waiting for the inevitable head-exploding irony when a white Arizona cop asks a Native American for proof of immigration status.
posted by ambrosia at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [19 favorites]


An Arizona politician said he could tell illegal immigrants but the shoes they wear. Jesus Christ.

That would be GOP Representative Brian Bilbray Who Claims Clothes Identify Illegal Immigrants.
"John McCain has no reason to fear illegal immigrants 'intentionally causing accidents on the freeway' -- according to Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), 'trained professionals' can identify undocumented workers just by looking at their clothes.

Discussing Arizona's pending profiling bill on 'Hardball,' Chris Matthews challenged Bilbray to cite a 'non-ethnic aspect' by which law enforcement agents could identify illegal immigrants. 'They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there is different type of attire, there is different type of -- right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes,' Bilbray replied.

Of course, law enforcement wouldn't detain people based solely on clothing, Bilbray said. They also know to look out for the ways in which illegal immigrants just act illegal.

'It's mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, D.C. does it based on certain criminal activity,' he told Matthews. 'There is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board, and this group shouldn't be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else [sic throughout].'"

Video.
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


California is the biggest agricultural state in the country. California grows many crops that must be picked by hand. When you keep illegal workers out, those crops aren't picked. For some reason, people who live here legally aren't willing to spend a full day doing hard, manual labor.

I see you palming that card.

The reason they're not willing to do a full day's manual labor is the payment, which is so far below the poverty level that it's not even funny. Rather than paying a decent wage, they hire illegals who are desperate for money and who can't complain about work conditions or illegal pay levels.

That's why they use illegals. And it will be entertaining to have the money have of the GOP in Arizona having to either pay living wages or make no money, because the near slave labour they have is being thrown back over the border by the racist half of the GOP.
posted by eriko at 3:42 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


And, that's it. Firstly, Arizona, thanks for doing something that makes my home state look sane. Second, thanks for letting me hold on to the couple grand I was going to spend in your state next year during Spring Training. Given that my better half is a legal immigrant and does not, under any circumstances, carry around proof of that status (yes, we both realize this is in technical violation of federal law, but only a lunatic would carry a card that costs $185 to replace if lost/stolen and is equivalent to a birth certificate), this directly affects our family. I'm not willing to place any of us at that kind of risk of being thrown in jail or fined just because some thug on a power trip decides to pick a fight.

A coworker was planning on going to Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon. As soon as we both get back to work, I'm planning on warning him off. Why? He's not only brown, he's here on a temporary H1B and he has a very thick accent and an unassuming personality.

eriok: The reason they're not willing to do a full day's manual labor is the payment, which is so far below the poverty level that it's not even funny. Rather than paying a decent wage, they hire illegals who are desperate for money and who can't complain about work conditions or illegal pay levels.

Amen. As a friend says, I will compete anywhere against anyone, any time, for any job. Sometimes I will win, and sometimes I will lose, but never will I do it for third-world wages while living in a first-world country.
posted by fireoyster at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


'non-ethnic aspect' by which law enforcement agents could identify illegal immigrants. 'They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there is different type of attire, there is different type of -- right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes,' Bilbray replied.
posted by infini at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2010


Postroad wrote: "what would you want done if you lived there and confronted what seems to be the major problems that those citizens confront. They seem to support this obnoxious new law."

I'd want amnesty for existing illegal immigrants who register their presence in the US and saner immigration laws that allow anyone lacking a history of violent crime to come here. Make it cheaper and easier for someone to immigrate here, and the illegal border crossers will be limited to the nefarious.

With fewer illegal border crossings, the resources we already have in place will be better able to detect and interdict those that still cross illegally.

We can't stop them with any reasonable expenditure of money or any reasonable laws, so we're better off knowing who these people are and eliminating most of the money to be made in helping people cross the border illegally.
posted by wierdo at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


When will we start wearing yellow stars or pink triangles?

My childhood conditioning leads me to believe that for the Irish it'll be pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


you know, when I was 9 and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said Irish instead of astronaut ...
posted by infini at 4:08 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Arizona resident here (not by choice!). I'm just curious as to HOW they are going to enforce this when police services are being cut left and right? Personnel and paycuts are rampant - there's just no way that there can be any follow through. We don't have the manpower or the funds.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:12 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I lived in Arizona for most of my life and just moved out a few months ago. I am heartily against this law and have consistently voted against anything I had the option to vote on that was even remotely similar. So has every single family member and friend I have.

The point is - remember how outraged some folks here get when people from Canada/UK/anywhere else mock the United States as a whole for Bush's actions? (Or the opponents to health care, whatever.) How we want to say "We are not all like that! We did everything we reasonably could to get that man out of office sooner, and we realize our country is occasionally lagging behind other first world countries, but we are trying, and saying we 'support' it because Bush managed to win the second term *despite* the best efforts of roughly half the country is not really helping."

Same with Arizona. Arizona is in a huge mess right now with the recession, worse than many, many other states. Many of the people responsible for the real estate bubble there are not even IN Arizona, they are investors/second home buyers from out of state. This is not the fault of MOST of the people in the state, yet some towns, like the town my parents live in, have no jobs, literally none, other than at Walmart, if you're lucky. 911 operators, police, and fire positions are being slashed. Teachers a year away from their pension are getting let go and state parks and ruins are closing. There are huge empty skyscrapers that the money ran out on sitting vacant in the middle of cities. Every time I go back to visit I'm surprised at how much different it is from the east coast, where I now live. Jan Brewer wasn't even elected - she is filling in the rest of Janet Napolitano's term. (Joe Arpaio is another story, and I frankly can't wait until he dies, because that's the only way I see that he will stop being evil.)

Advocating the boycott of Arizona is going to hurt a lot more innocent people than it helps. In fact, it probably won't actually help anybody. Brewer and Arpaio aren't backing down because of some wimpy public opinion (Brewer cut the education budget *after* she said explicitly that she wouldn't, when AZ is already 49th-ish in the nation for education, and then totally ignored the public uproar and Arpaio is pretty much just mad), and people of Arizona have been protesting off and on for weeks about this law. A boycott would only take money away from the few solvent large businesses AZ has left. I'm not saying that people should go to Arizona if they feel uncomfortable, but to search out businesses like USAirways and purposely boycott them is not constructive. Neither is name-calling. I really don't know how to combat a ridiculous, unconstitutional law that's already in place, but I suspect it has more to do with supporting causes working to break it down, like the ACLU, than it does with penalizing millions and millions of people for something they had literally no way to stop.
posted by wending my way at 4:23 PM on April 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


I will probably be passing through Arizona later this year. On Monday, I plan on calling the state's tourism office to ask them what kind of documentation I will need to have on me—as a US citizen born in the USA—to ensure that I don't need to worry about getting locked up.

I encourage everyone to do this.

They probably won't have a ready answer, but hopefully they'll be able to come up with something definitive. I'll report back here once I have an answer, and I'll encourage them to put the information prominently on their website so they can save the hassle of everyone calling.
posted by adamrice at 4:48 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


p.s. please stop using the term "illegal" to refer to human beings - not only is it nonsensical, it's repugnant

Please don't trot out that straw man.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:49 PM on April 24, 2010


I miss the Wobblies. You know what they would have done? Every last one of them would have jumped a freight or whatever they had to do to get to Arizona with sandals, a serape and a sombrero and let them fill their fucking jails!

Screw online polls and letter. This desperately calls for demonstration, action, and civil disobediance.
posted by charlesminus at 4:50 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Please don't trot out that straw man. ^

the term "illegal" is the straw man - otherwise, please flesh out your argument a bit more - thanks!
posted by jammy at 4:55 PM on April 24, 2010


the term "illegal" is the straw man

No, it's not. When someone immigrates illegally, he/she is an illegal immigrant. "Undocumented" and the like are euphemisms.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:57 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


How do they handle this in other civilized countries?

Am I allowed to sneak into Mexico, Japan, Canada, or France and live unmolested? Can any cop ask me for papers if I rouse their suspicions?

Look, I think civilized people can disagree about this bill.

I enjoy the fruits of having undocumented laborers in this country. I enjoy the low cost of my new house. If you looked closely enough at the quality, you would agree it was "cheap". I enjoy having my lawn mowed and my house cleaned for 8 bucks an hour. I love cheap restaurant meals and cheap produce.

With those positive externalities come negative ones. Crime, drug trafficking, unlicensed and uninsured drivers, vast barrios, gangs. The trauma that pays my salary. The people of Arizona are much more affected by those negative externalities that most of you, I think. They're fed up with federal gov't inaction.

I'm the son of a legal immigrant, married to the daughter of a legal immigrant. We have the right to control our borders, and allow as much LEGAL immigration as we like.

If I were a Central American, I would absolutely try to make it to the U.S. and make a better life for myself. And I would be completely unsurprised if the U.S. tried to keep me out, or tried to deport me once I was here.
posted by etherist at 4:58 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


California is the biggest agricultural state in the country. California grows many crops that must be picked by hand. When you keep illegal workers out, those crops aren't picked. For some reason, people who live here legally aren't willing to spend a full day doing hard, manual labor. Who is going to do those jobs when Americans won't? If illegal workers are taking jobs away from Americans, shouldn't Americans be standing on street corners hoping to be picked up by housepainters and landscapers? I don't see that happening.

It's not that Americans won't do the jobs that illegal workers do. It's that Americans won't do those jobs at the depressed wages paid to illegal workers. Illegal workers distort the market and depress the wages of the labor market for unskilled manual labor. I bet there would be plenty of Americans that would be willing to work those same jobs if they were paid a fair living wage.
posted by gyc at 5:00 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


wending my way wrote: "millions and millions of people for something they had literally no way to stop."

They/you did have a way to stop it. It would, however, have required some amount of foresight. If the elected representatives of their particular legislative district voted against it, you're right that they did all they could. Obviously that can't be true for most of the people of Arizona.

Either way, it's pretty simple. Don't vote for shitheels that will pass or sign this sort of junk legislation.

If people want to tar Oklahoma with a broad brush, be my guest. I think most of my fellow Oklahomans are backwards idiots. Or at least most of my fellow Oklahomans who vote.
posted by wierdo at 5:01 PM on April 24, 2010


Etherist, the issue isn't whether or not undocumented aliens have the right to live here unmolested. The issue at hand with this bill is that it gives the police the right to demand proof of citizenship from anyone whom they think might be here illegally, and doesn't offer a lot of limit or controls on that power. Given how few people travel with proof of citizenship*, it doesn't take a lot of forethought to see that this could have disastrous consequences for anyone whom the police choose to target.


* A driver's license isn't proof of citizenship. Neither is a social security card.
posted by KathrynT at 5:01 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think you mean "condemned by a minority of Arizona voters."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 5:09 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"So, in the midst of the forest of snark does anyone have any substantive idea how to spread the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses and children across all 50 states instead of expecting just a handful of border states to somehow provide all that's needed?"

It comes with it's own problems but one could document the workers.

"'Border states', you say?
This border zone is actually a 100 mile swath, legislatively defined, that wraps our entire country. According to the most recent data from Government Accountability Office3, CBP utilizes 33 permanent checkpoints supplemented by an undisclosed number of “tactical mobile” checkpoints."
I can tell you as a non-American it is freaky as crap to pass through a CBP checkpoint out in the middle of the desert. My family doesn't look Hispanic so of course we we waved on through (how is this acceptable anyways; surely these agents occasionally mess with some fourth generation Hispanic American citizen who administers an ACLU smack down) but it was panic inducing none the less.

"we are not talking about illegals who are Irish, or German etc--they meld in, get jobs and do not and did number in the millions and millions."

Have you ever been to Arizona? Your average Hispanic undocumented worker is going to "meld-in" about a hundred times better than any undocumented German. Even the labels in stores are in Spanish and English not English and German.
posted by Mitheral at 5:10 PM on April 24, 2010


But remember, making health care slightly more affordable is fascism.
posted by Legomancer at 5:15 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's not that Americans won't do the jobs that illegal workers do. It's that Americans won't do those jobs at the depressed wages paid to illegal workers.

And doesn't want to pay the higher prices that would be necessary to pay decent wages.
posted by dilettante at 5:27 PM on April 24, 2010


Am I allowed to sneak into Mexico, Japan, Canada, or France and live unmolested? Can any cop ask me for papers if I rouse their suspicions?

I can't answer for Mexico, Japan, or France, but in Canada, no, cops can't stop random people on the street and demand proof that you're in the country legally. They can ask, but you are under no obligation to comply. You don't have to tell them anything at all unless you're being detained or under arrest (or driving a car) -- and even then, you just have to give your name and address.

Crime, drug trafficking, unlicensed and uninsured drivers, vast barrios, gangs.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that all of these problems really are significantly more common among illegal immigrants than among other populations. Illegal immigrants are unlicensed and uninsured because of stupid restrictions that make it impossible for them to obtain licenses and insurance; get rid of the restrictions and the problem goes away. Crime, drug trafficking, vast barrios, and gangs are largely the result of poverty and a lack of better opportunities -- problems that exist because undocumented labour is so easy to exploit. One solution to this is to ensure that illegal immigrants have the same rights as everyone else. Another, better solution is to organize undocumented workers, as the IWW did historically and the UFCW is doing today.

Arizona's new law, meanwhile, does nothing to solve those problems. It simply aggravates the situation, and expands police powers at the expense of illegal immigrants and legal residents of AZ.
posted by twirlip at 5:30 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


so, you dig the cheap exploited labor but don't like seeing scary stuff on the news? stuff like: Crime, drug trafficking, unlicensed and uninsured drivers, vast barrios, gangs.

that's quite a list - let's see... if we look at each of them & ask whether or not "illegal aliens" are the main or even primary cause for them what do we find?

crime - not the fault of immigrants!
drug trafficking - not the fault of immigrants!
unlicensed/uninsured drivers - not the fault of immigrants!
vast barrios - not the fault of immigrants!
gangs - not the fault of immigrants!

sure, immigrants of varying statuses may engage in &/or inform any of the above items but i dare you to find hard data that shows that they do it any more or less than any native-born citizen
posted by jammy at 5:31 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, it's not. When someone immigrates illegally, he/she is an illegal immigrant. "Undocumented" and the like are euphemisms.
"Illegal immigrant" and "undocumented immigrant" are actually not synonymous. Some illegal immigrants have documents which they obtained fraudulently. My grandmother, for instance, lied on her visa application, and she was illegal but not undocumented. Luckily for her she was amnestied in the '50s along with scads of other illegal European immigrants, so it never posed a problem for her.

I don't have a problem with the term "illegal immigrant." I do have a problem with calling people "illegals." I don't believe that people's very essence is defined by their immigration status. It's language that is designed to dehumanize the people to whom it refers, and I don't think that's helpful in any debate or discussion.
posted by craichead at 5:38 PM on April 24, 2010 [15 favorites]


so... the way you fight crime is making sure that the parcel of the population most likely to witness (or be a victim of) a crime stays as far away from the police as they can. Well, I'm sure some mob boss will be more than glad to offer these victims "protection" if they can't go to the police. Everybody wins!
posted by qvantamon at 5:39 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I allowed to sneak into Mexico, Japan, Canada, or France and live unmolested? Can any cop ask me for papers if I rouse their suspicions?

Many countries do not observe habeus corpus, but that does not make it right.

The 12 million undocumented alien residents of the US are already part of the economy. They aren't going anywhere, unless you round them up in concentration camps and ship back to Mexico in cattle cars. The need to be integrated into society, because they are a vulnerable underclass. The only way to deal with the migrant problem is to improve the political and economic situation in Mexico.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:40 PM on April 24, 2010


Look, they were foreigners, and Arizona really felt all right, just outta sight.
posted by applemeat at 5:52 PM on April 24, 2010


Ich Bin Ein Auslander
posted by Mick at 5:54 PM on April 24, 2010


from jammy:

that's quite a list - let's see... if we look at each of them & ask whether or not "illegal aliens" are the main or even primary cause for them what do we find?

crime - not the fault of immigrants!
drug trafficking - not the fault of immigrants!
unlicensed/uninsured drivers - not the fault of immigrants!
vast barrios - not the fault of immigrants!
gangs - not the fault of immigrants!

----

crime - not the fault of those committing it? You're right. I don't know what I was thinking.
drug trafficking - not the fault of those committing it? ditto the above.
unlicensed/uninsured drivers - sticky point. But if you can't get a license, perhaps you shouldn't drive. Perhaps you should take public transit. I used to take the bus. Still do from time to time.
vast barrios - true, not the fault of those living in them.
gangs - somehow not the fault of the gang-bangers? Seriously?

As for "you ... don't like seeing scary stuff on the news?". No, it's the stuff I see at work and on the way homeNearly every day!

I think the solution starts with raising the minimum wage, crack down on those who hire undocumented/fraudulent/whatever workers, and eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country.
posted by etherist at 5:58 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]




eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country

You realize that quite literally requires amending the Constitution, don't you?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If your farms paid a living wage instead of screwing illegals, you'd never be able to afford to eat. America's standard of living is built on the backs of the poor and disadvantaged.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Am I allowed to sneak into Mexico, Japan, Canada, or France and live unmolested? Can any cop ask me for papers if I rouse their suspicions?

When I lived in Japan, I had a boss (a UK citizen) who recounted the story of going out for a jog one day and a cop waving him down to ask for his alien-registration card. My boss asked the cop whether his being waved down had anything to do with 外人取り調べるの日 ("check out foreigners day") written on the whiteboard in the cop-shop.

As a white person in Japan, it's a pretty safe bet that you're not a citizen. There are a few (David Aldwinkle seemingly adopted Japanese citizenship entirely to spite mild anti-foreigner sentiments in Japan). And it would take some huevos to tell a cop "I don't have to show you my gaijin card," even if that were the case. Which I think it's not: I do think the cops can demand it at any time.
posted by adamrice at 6:30 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country

Are you a citizen, by any chance?

Why is that?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:30 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country

You realize that quite literally requires amending the Constitution, don't you?

That's in dispute:

http://www.14thamendment.us/birthright_citizenship/original_intent.html

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1868/show

Even if it did require amendment of the constitution, so what? Does that make it a bad idea?

Bearing in mind that attitudes toward race are ass-backwards in Australia, here's how Australia curently handles the issue:

"Most children born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.

Children born after that date are only Australian citizens if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia."

Seems reasonable enough to me. This avoids the problem of those children who were brought here in infancy, for whom this is the only country they've ever known, who face deportation at age 20 to a country which is alien to them.
posted by etherist at 6:35 PM on April 24, 2010


Was looking for this yesterday, too busy to put it up myself. What is it with bitter old white people and bad legislation? "We'll train them not to be racist while they execute this bill!" Fuck you -- this is Documentos, por favor to anybody police want to intimidate. And, oh yeah, wasn't it already criminal to be in the country.. I don't know... ILLLEGALLY?

Gaghrhghghggh.
posted by cavalier at 6:37 PM on April 24, 2010


Wow, this is a racist law. I've seen some scary backwards racist stuff in the US, but this state law codification of the scary backwards racist mentality is amazingly awful, yet it pulls the masks off the racists in office, and that's a good thing.
posted by peppito at 6:38 PM on April 24, 2010


eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country

Are you a citizen, by any chance?

Why is that?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:30 PM on April 24 [+] [!]

Because one of my parents was born in this country, and the other was a legal resident here at the time of my birth (since naturalized).

Your point?
posted by etherist at 6:38 PM on April 24, 2010


Interesting that anyone who is against illegal immigration is a racist. I had no idea.

For those throwing bricks, how would YOU solve the problem? Do you agree that there is a problem? Or is everything just fine?
posted by etherist at 6:41 PM on April 24, 2010


Interesting that anyone who is against illegal immigration is a racist. I had no idea.


Yeah, I suppose I'd be defensive and afraid of being outed as a racist too, if I were one.
posted by peppito at 6:58 PM on April 24, 2010


Quite a few of the [social security] numbers that crossed my desk were overtly fake (like, they started with 7s and 8s)
Heavens! Apparently both of my children have fake social security numbers?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:59 PM on April 24, 2010


For those throwing bricks, how would YOU solve the problem?

I'd vote the racists out of office.

That's the problem you meant, right?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:00 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


posted by etherist and eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country.

Hey, brilliant idea. So if you're born in this country--of what country would you then be a citizen? Also, to what country would you be deported?
posted by mattdidthat at 7:01 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


etherist, as for Japan: foreigners are still required to carry their alien registration cards at all times and violators face heavy penalties including incarceration for up to three years or fines of up to 300,000 yen. In Japan, every cop doubles as an immigration agent, and any cop can ask to see your card at any time, for any reason.

If I were to run to the convenience store without my wallet, I could be arrested and held in jail for three years. No, "I'm sorry officer, it's at home, right around the corner, can I show you?" Just straight to the police station, where I will have to wait until my wife can bring it to show them.

I've heard the cops in Tokyo are much, much stricter than the cops in Chiba, where I live. Friends of mine in Tokyo are routinely stopped while riding their bicycles. You know, random checks to make sure the bicycle isn't stolen, oh, and while we're at it, let's see your card... All the while, Japanese people ride past unbothered. So, yes, in addition to your gaijin card, you should probably carry your bicycle registration with you as well.

Personally, I haven't been stopped. Again, Chiba cops seem to be less actively assholes, and I'm a white male. Foreigners who aren't white get harrassed a hell of a lot more. In other words, it's a nerve-wracking, unpleasant thing that I try to do my best not to think about. I just do my best to always have my wallet with me. It sucks, and here, especially, the racial aspect of it is inescapable, though it's pretty blatant in this Arizona thing as well.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:01 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If my parents were not legal residents, then I would be a citizen of their home country, not of the U.S.

I guess I would be deported to the same country as them.

And to Sys Rq: No, I meant the problem of illegal immigration. Apparently there is no problem? Don't be obtuse.
posted by etherist at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2010


So perhaps the Japanese are racist, too? Or is it just me and the Arizonans? Arizonenses?

If the risks of living/working in Japan outweigh the benefits, don't live and work there.

Obey the laws as much as possible while you are there, since Japan may provide for speedy deportation of lawbreakers. You may not understand or agree with their laws, in which case you should carefully consider whether you want to make a living in Japan.
posted by etherist at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2010


eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country


Then you end up with, again, what we've got in Japan, where there are third and fourth generation ethnic Koreans, who are decended, by and large, from Koreas taken from occupied Korea to essentially do slave labor in Japan. They cannot vote, must carry their papers, and face nearly all the restrictions on activity that I do (they have been granted some rights as Special Foreigners). The difference is that they've lived their entire lives in Japan, and know no other culture/country. Japanese people are biased against them because they are percieved as clinging to their Korean ancestry, yet to become "Japanese," to obtain citizenship, you must legally change your name to match Japanese characters, hence David Aldwinkle becoming Debito Arudo.

You'd argue for that? For creating that situation? At what point would people be naturalized? How many generations would you need to live somewhere to be considered from there?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2010


Several people have already answered that question, etherist. Interestingly, a few people have already agreed with you that punishing the employers is a good way to go if we want to reduce the amount of immigration. (But I doubt Arizona wants to get rid of the cheapest-working part of its workforce, really.) What you need to do is provide some actual argument in favor of denying citizenship to more people.

I notice that your proposal conveniently includes you on the "still American" side. Tell me, if you think reducing the franchise is a good idea, why not require both parents to have been full citizens at the time of your birth? You'd be countryless, then, and due to be shipped to the border with no notice or appeal, but I assume you'd be fine with that. Because it would eliminate the "vast barrios", of course.

Also, your response totally doesn't support your position. Why do you think those things are the fault of illegal immigrants (or migrant workers)? Why do you think that those problems are any more the fault of illegal immigrants than the fault of legally-resident Americans or visa holders?
posted by hattifattener at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist If my parents were not legal residents, then I would be a citizen of their home country, not of the U.S. I guess I would be deported to the same country as them.

Wrong.

posted by etherist For those throwing bricks, how would YOU solve the problem?

In your case, I'd recommend you take U.S. History 101 and U.S. Government 101 at your local community college so you can get a better understanding of how and why the United States actually works the way it does.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:12 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


If my parents were not legal residents, then I would be a citizen of their home country, not of the U.S.
Not necessarily. Countries aren't obligated to grant automatic citizenship to the children of citizens.

My grandparents were stateless at the time my dad was born, because they'd had their citizenship revoked when they fled their home country. Your proposal could have caused problems for my dad. I'm also not entirely clear what it's supposed to accomplish.
posted by craichead at 7:12 PM on April 24, 2010


etherist, wow. I was trying to answer your question about other cultures/countries and immigration.

I understand the laws here. I understand the laws in many places. While I do not break them, following a law and agreeing with it are two very, very different things. After ten years here, one could say I've carefully considered whether I want to be living here. The rules on gaijin cards have indeed factored into that, as has the fact that I've never been stopped by cops, as has the fact that I've seen cops in Tokyo walk directly past me to demand papers from a couple who happened to have brown skin. This is part of living in Japan. It's a shitty, unpleasant part of living in Japan, and it's a damn shame it'll become a shitty unpleasant part of life in America.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:17 PM on April 24, 2010


That's in dispute

According to what experts on constitutional law?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:20 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


to Ghidorah:

"Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia."

This seems like a reasonable way to handle it.
posted by etherist at 7:20 PM on April 24, 2010


No, I meant the problem of illegal immigration. Apparently there is no problem? Don't be obtuse.

Enlighten me. What, exactly, is the problem with illegal immigration?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on April 24, 2010


to one more dead ... :

I'm not sure how much credence to give to the links that I cited. But the text of the amendment itself does seem to support the claim that an act of Congress could change things:

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

I readily agree that I am not a Consitutional scholar. I don't know how they see this issue.
posted by etherist at 7:23 PM on April 24, 2010


Again, etherist, I'm not clear what that's supposed to accomplish. So kids become citizens if they live here for ten years without getting caught. What good does that do? Encourage parents not to enroll their kids in school until they're 10? That's awesome! Your proposal is very punitive, and maybe the idea is just to punish people who didn't play by the rules like your parents did. But I don't think it would actually reduce illegal immigration, and I don't think that very many kids would be caught and deported before they were ten. So I'm not sure what it would accomplish, other than convincing some parents not to avail themselves of services that benefit the entire society.
posted by craichead at 7:24 PM on April 24, 2010


What, exactly, is the problem with illegal immigration?

Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:25 PM on April 24, 2010


The problem of stateless persons is a difficult one. I'm not sure how big a problem it really represents. We're arguing about details.
posted by etherist at 7:27 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Foreigners (in Japan) who aren't white get harrassed a hell of a lot more.

On the plus side, back in Nigeria or Pakistan or Iran *everyone* gets hassled and shaken down by the police, no matter what their skin colour.

Seriously, though, Japan's approach to "foreign" (I prefer the term 'non-Japanese') residents is similar to how Germany handles things. It's not rational, it is racist and reactionary, and, with its focus on Japanese-ness and "blood", is kind of fascist. Japanese immigration laws don't really solve any problems.

Like others in this thread, I always felt a little anxious when going for a swim in the ocean or at the pool - I didn't have my alien registration card.

The inhumanity of the state is more than made up for by the humanity, decency, honesty and kindness of Japanese people.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist "Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia." This seems like a reasonable way to handle it.

The United States is not Australia.

Also, you still haven't explained to which country you deport American-born children of American citizens, since your proposal: "eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country" includes the children of American citizens.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:29 PM on April 24, 2010


Here's a right-wing blog describing Mexico's immigration law, which is apparently much harsher than ours:

http://lornakismet.wordpress.com/mexico%E2%80%99s-immigration-law/

Apparently Mexico deports more people every year than we do.

Granting that the blogger's interpretation of Mexican immigration law may be suspect (since the blog evidently advocates restriction of illegal immigration, they are de facto racists):

"• Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets “the equilibrium of the national demographics,” when foreigners are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when “they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy.” (Article 37)

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

• “A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five
thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country
illegally.” (Article 123)"
posted by etherist at 7:35 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those interested in the constitutionality of the law, check the last couple links. The thing's probably dead in the water, but who can say for sure.
posted by diocletian at 7:36 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist The problem of stateless persons is a difficult one. I'm not sure how big a problem it really represents. We're arguing about details.

These aren't details. These are the flaws with your idiotic and unAmerican idea.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:36 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


The problem here with this law isn't immigration policy, it's the fact that it enables racial profiling of existing citizens. Many here here have no problem with enforcing existing immigration law even though we may want it changed, the problem is that it makes it easy to throw people in jail or otherwise hassle upstanding citizens purely from the color of their skin.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Comparing US and Japan on the issue of immigration is kind of pointless. For one Japan seems to be more xenophobic than racist. Gaijin does not mean "whitey" It means "foriegner". Here in the US we're a lot more specific. Arguments about "illegal immigrants" tend to really be arguments about "Mexican Immigrants"

Part of the reason the US immigration debate is so loaded is because we are a nation of Immigrants. The only people who are "from here" are the ones we stole the land from, and most of the states dealing with the Mexican immigration issue used to be Mexico. So it's not so much purely a question of logic and fairness, but also of history. And this is a problem that will never be solved as long as a certain segment of the population believes that "American" equals "White person" and "Real American" equals some sort of mythical rural-suburban gun toting conservative patriot type.

And the cheap labor aspect is woefully underestimated. This country was built on free labor, and never really got over it. There has always been an underclass in this country who have been denied the ability to join this society, but who's labor we rely on.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:41 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


to mattdidthat:

You are being deliberately obtuse. I am not for deporting children of American citizens. Or maybe I am, in which case I would deport them to the U.S.

I mean of course, that I am in favor of changing the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country regardless of their parent's nationality. That should have been obvious from subsequent posts.
posted by etherist at 7:42 PM on April 24, 2010


Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally.

Really? Filling out some paperwork is more "trouble, time, and expense" than spending all of what little money you've got and risking life and limb to find your way to the US from, say, Honduras? Really? To the point that the only "fair" thing to do is round up the illegals and ship 'em back?

'Cause you know what? FUCK THAT.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:43 PM on April 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


and by "parent's", I meant "parents' "
posted by etherist at 7:43 PM on April 24, 2010


to mattdidthat:

ever hear of civil discourse?
posted by etherist at 7:44 PM on April 24, 2010


Ever hear of civil rights?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on April 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


one more dead town's last parade wrote: "Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally."

I hate to say this, but it's something that has been psychologically beaten into me for years: Life isn't fair.

That said, the immigrants I know wouldn't mind in the least. They would be happy that other people were both getting the benefit of US Citizenship (they like it here!) and that the subjects of an amnesty wouldn't have to go through the byzantine process they did.
posted by wierdo at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


to mattdidthat:

I was pointing out:

1) That Australia does not automatically grant citizenship to everyone who was born there regardless of their parents' status
2) That they recently made this change
3) That they seem to handle the issue of children of illegal immigrants in a sensible fashion, by granting them citizenship on their 10th birthday if they've lived most of their life there.
posted by etherist at 7:54 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist I mean of course, that I am in favor of changing the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country regardless of their parent's nationality.

And again, there's the gaping hole in your logic--you simply cannot answer the question of what country these non-American children would be citizens. Remember, other countries are not obligated to grant citizenship to children born in the United States.

Clearly, you don't understand the concepts of citizenship, civil rights, the Constitution, and immigration law, and for someone who enjoys the privileges of American citizenship--despite the fact one of your parents was not born here--would seek to deny those same benefits to others is disappointing, to say the least.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:54 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


>> the burden of providing services to undocumented workers and their spouses
>
> undocumented workers aren't and have never been a burden to the state &/or businesses,
> they're always a plus - it's great having a ton of people who:
>
> - are mostly too afraid to use social services for fear of discovery & deportation
> - are willing/forced to work for less than minimum wage
> - are never recorded for payroll taxes (which go back to the state instead)
> - are also too scared to report labor & human rights abuses
> - and who, all the while, pay taxes every day they're here
> posted by jammy at 3:39 PM on April 24 [9 favorites +] [!]

And you're OK with all that? You tick off the the bad shit with a fluency that sounds close to morbid pleasure. By contrast, it looks to me like a major mess that needs cleaning up--hence my question. It wouldn't be cheap, reversing those top four points of yours, and there's Arizona at 9.6% unemployment (up from last month). People are most shortsighted when they're under pressure.
posted by jfuller at 7:55 PM on April 24, 2010


- are mostly too afraid to use social services for fear of discovery & deportation
- are willing/forced to work for less than minimum wage
- are never recorded for payroll taxes (which go back to the state instead)
- are also too scared to report labor & human rights abuses
- and who, all the while, pay taxes every day they're here


And yet the Democrats, instead of trying to fix this situation, do nothing. Because any type of immigration reform is automatically described as racist, and they're afraid of losing the Latino vote. So the system continues and illegal immigrants live on as America's servant class.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:57 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


or what jfuller just said.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:58 PM on April 24, 2010


I'm not obligated to fix the holes in other countries' laws. If the government of Antarctica refused to grant citizenship to the children of Antarcticans living abroad, that would be unfortunate.

Certainly stateless persons could apply for asylum here on the grounds that they had no home country.
posted by etherist at 7:58 PM on April 24, 2010


Really? Filling out some paperwork is more "trouble, time, and expense" than spending all of what little money you've got and risking life and limb to find your way to the US from, say, Honduras? Really? To the point that the only "fair" thing to do is round up the illegals and ship 'em back?

So we should reward people (by allowing them to stay) for embarking on a mission that was destined for failure from its inception just because it was a difficult and trying thing for them to do?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:58 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Etherist, I'm an immigrant. (I'm also a natural-born American citizen. Yes, you can be both.) The United States, unlike every other country you mention, is a nation literally built on immigration; the autochthonous people who live here still are members of sovereign nations, not the United States. To say that we should stop allowing children born on our soil to claim citizenship in the land that everyone's ancestors migrated here to create is about the most unAmerican thing I've ever heard of.
posted by KathrynT at 8:00 PM on April 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


KathrynT wrote: "To say that we should stop allowing children born on our soil to claim citizenship in the land that everyone's ancestors migrated here to create is about the most unAmerican thing I've ever heard of."

I just want to say that our relatively liberal policies on what makes a person a citizen here is one of our better qualities. It would be a shame to lose it because people don't understand economics.
posted by wierdo at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


> "eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country"

Stop trying to delete a significant part of America's immigrant culture and history just because you mistakenly perceive outsiders as the source of all your problems. I'm not. My in laws are not. My husband's coworker, who was born in the US but grew up in Mexico, is not. That guy that jumped the border that works in the neighbour's yard, is not.* It's nice that you're honest about how much you wish to discriminate against people who are Probably Not Like You, but if you find automatic citizenship that much of an issue, might I suggest you deport yourself and find out exactly how much of a challenge living permanently in another country is?

*See also: gay people, women, Muslims and other popular targets that comfortable, over privileged Americans like to attack from their shiny ivory towers.
posted by saturnine at 8:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]




Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally.

So any change in the law is unfair to those who've suffered under a shitty law in the past? Awkward.
posted by jacalata at 8:08 PM on April 24, 2010


> "other countries are not obligated to grant citizenship to children born in the United States.

China doesn't. In fact, if my husband's cousin's wife decides to become a citizen, she loses that herself. My husband never had the privilege of being even a resident of Hong Kong, despite both his parents originating from there. Thanks to my passport, I can enter Hong Kong and stay for nearly twice as long as he can. It's insane. In contrast, our children and their children will have every right to enter the UK as British Citizens, even if they've never been before.

I know which is better. I am very thankful for it. Very very thankful.
posted by saturnine at 8:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 14th amendment was drafted when there were no restrictions on immigration.

From the site I linked to previously:

"The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of native-born Black Americans, whose rights were being denied as recently-freed slaves. It was written in a manner so as to prevent state governments from ever denying citizenship to blacks born in the United States. But in 1868, the United States had no formal immigration policy, and the authors therefore saw no need to address immigration explicitly in the amendment. "

It seems plausible to me that the 14th amendment is currently being interpreted in a way that was never contemplated by its authors, which was not "on their radar".

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Australia also a nation of immigrants?
posted by etherist at 8:11 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by wierdo It would be a shame to lose [our relatively liberal policies on what makes a person a citizen here] because people don't understand economics.

The real shame are the people like etherist who benefit from our policies and then want them abolished. Like KathrynT said, that's just about the most unAmerican thing I can imagine.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:11 PM on April 24, 2010


immigration isn't a game, with winners and losers and cheaters. Amnesty for a section of our society (and they are a part of it) that has taken the jobs that Americans by and large won't, keeping the economy running when it might otherwise falter isn't part of a game that other people managed to play differently.

And how many of the problems (drug running, gangs) that have been bandied about would be lessened by allowing a large section of the populace access to the legal and effective support the "legal" section of the population has? If you're afraid of being deported, you're not going to call the cops to report harrassment by gangs.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:15 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Australia also a nation of immigrants?

Yeah, and (with apologies to Australian mefites) not exactly a stunning model of racial justice and harmony, historically.
posted by KathrynT at 8:18 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist Correct me if I'm wrong

Well, that's what we've been doing.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:22 PM on April 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


So we should reward people (by allowing them to stay) for embarking on a mission that was destined for failure from its inception just because it was a difficult and trying thing for them to do?

Reward? No. No one's suggesting million dollar checks. Not even welfare checks. Recognition that, hey, maybe shipping someone back to El Salvador is kind of a totally shitty thing to do? Yes. That.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:24 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally."

I don't consider it unfair, because I know exactly how hard it is to be a legal immigrant, so christ knows what kind of fortitude it takes to be illegal. I feel so lost here, and I struggle nearly every day with my decision to come here. Sometimes I wish I could go home - another privilege, because I can if I want to. Not everyone can just go home, not everyone has a job or a family to return to. Sometimes coming to this country is all there is.

No one should just be able to roll up and stay in a country forever with no checks and balances, but if more visas were issued to certain neighboring countries with less hurdles to jump, including monetary ones (the K1 visa is essentially "do you have enough money to sustain this person/import them?" visa), this country would have more healthy legal immigrants earning fairer wages in better living and working conditions. The things employers get away with now are greater crimes than anything illegal immigration involves.

The way the system works now? It's not as easy as you think. In order to improve their lives, which surely is a common goal many of us share, some people have very limited choices and some of them involve ignoring laws. A little knowledge and empathy harms no one.
posted by saturnine at 8:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you're afraid of being deported, you're not going to call the cops to report harrassment by gangs.

If you're afraid of being deported, you're not going to call the Department of Labor to report that you're being paid $2.50 an hour. However, if you're not afraid of being deported, you're probably not going to take that job to begin with.

If every immigrant in the U.S. were legalized tomorrow, there would be upward pressure on wages for "jobs Americans don't want" (and also upward pressure on prices of things produced by this labor)—really, a lot of these workers would rather be doing something else—and a demand for new illegal immigrants who could be paid less than the legal minimum.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:29 PM on April 24, 2010


"I'm also not entirely clear what it's supposed to accomplish."

It eliminates the public relations messyness of deporting a kid's parents while not deporting the kid. The kid isn't an american anymore so off they go.

"The problem here with this law isn't immigration policy, it's the fact that it enables racial profiling of existing citizens. Many here here have no problem with enforcing existing immigration law even though we may want it changed, the problem is that it makes it easy to throw people in jail or otherwise hassle upstanding citizens purely from the color of their skin."

I'd be much more concerned (considering I blend in with quote/unquote "Real Americans") that the police won't engage in profiling. This law gives the Police carte blanche to ask anyone they come across for their papers; to hold them until they prove they are legally in the country; and I'd imagine charge them with resisting arrest if they don't co-operate. The parallels to internal passports in less free countries are obvious and I can't believe the level of cognitive dissonance that must exist for people to think this is a good thing.
posted by Mitheral at 8:32 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Other countries may have screwed-up citizenship laws. I don't dispute that.

Ours is screwed up in a different way, and I appreciate being called unAmerican for suggesting that we change it.

Well at least no one's called me a Nazi (yet), so there's that to be thankful for.

to mattdidthat: What if anything would you do about current U.S. immigration policy?

to jacalata, who accuses me of misrepresenting the state of Australian law: that quote was from http://www.citizenship.gov.au/current/

There may be some subtlety to Australian law that cannot be conveyed in 150 words.
From the wikipedia article you link to: "By 2004 his criminal record numbered some 158 criminal convictions, mainly for burglary and theft".

That was the pretext for deportation. Whether it was lawful under the laws at the time? I have no idea. Whether it was proper? Certainly not - to deport someone to a country they've never known, and whose language they do not speak is inhuman.
posted by etherist at 8:35 PM on April 24, 2010


It eliminates the public relations messyness of deporting a kid's parents while not deporting the kid. The kid isn't an american anymore so off they go.
Considering that it would create a whole host of public relations messes, like those kiddie prisons for stateless small children who have no place to be deported to, I don't think that's a very compelling justification.
posted by craichead at 8:38 PM on April 24, 2010


Once again, does anyone have any different solutions for the immigration problem? Or is it just a problem of perception?

Here's what I suggested before: "I think the solution starts with raising the minimum wage, crack down on those who hire undocumented/fraudulent/whatever workers, and eliminate the law that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in this country."

Any new suggestions besides calling me unAmerican? And invoking the specter of "kiddie prisons for small children who have no place to be deported to"?

Are we as a nation allowed to control our borders?
posted by etherist at 8:42 PM on April 24, 2010


i'm rather in favor of letting this happen as we all step back and watch Arizona bankrupt itself with the lawsuits and diversion of its resources.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:43 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist to mattdidthat: What if anything would you do about current U.S. immigration policy?

I already told you, here. I'd also recommend you take Geography so you can learn the difference between America and Australia.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:45 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist Or is it just a problem of perception?

In your case, it's a problem of education.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:47 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, wages were one part of the equation I forgot to mention when I was talking about gangs and drugs. In a perfect world, amnesty would involve living wages being paid to workers, so that the $2.50 an hour slave wages would become a thing of the past. In America, you're right, somehow a way would be found to get people who'd still work for that.

(Fun fact, my first job, at a Burger King, the hispanic workers were paid minimum wage, while the non-hispanic workers started at at least 75 cents to a dollar over minimum. I'm sure that anyone arguing that there's no racial component to the Arizona law would find a way to argue that there was no racial component to the wages paid at that Burger King.)
posted by Ghidorah at 8:47 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


etherist, raising the minimum wage would do absolutely nothing to alter the state of affairs. Illegal immigrants are paid sub-minimum wage precisely because they are illegal and have no recourse or form of complaint. If anything, you'd encourage more illegals as more companies decided that hiring cheaper labor was worth the risk. Given the sheer number of undocumented workers, you'd imagine that if the laws were being followed, there would be stories about Company X being busted for illegal workers on a regular basis. There aren't, simply because America as a society has decided it has a need for cheap labor, and has essentially said it doesn't really care about the conditions of those so employed as long as it never bothers them at home. Maybe stricter laws would do something, but it's like cracking down on jay-walking. Sure, you'll hand out more tickets, but over the long-term, the cops will have other things to do than stand on the sidewalk and catch jaywalkers. Especially if, as a whole, jaywalking is by and large an accepted practice by the business community.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:54 PM on April 24, 2010


dear mattdidthat:

regarding your comment that "In your case, I'd recommend you take U.S. History 101 and U.S. Government 101 at your local community college so you can get a better understanding of how and why the United States actually works the way it does."

I refer you to MeFi's request, which is printed right below the Live Preview window:

"Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."

Do you have any new suggestions or are you just going to call me an unAmerican ignoramus?
posted by etherist at 8:55 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


And how many of the problems (drug running, gangs) that have been bandied about would be lessened by allowing a large section of the populace access to the legal and effective support the "legal" section of the population has?

and/or reevaluating our wasteful, expensive War On Drugs.
posted by applemeat at 8:56 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


to Ghidorah:

So your suggestion is to lower the minimum wage, because then there will be less incentive to hire undocumented workers?
posted by etherist at 8:56 PM on April 24, 2010


posted by etherist Do you have any new suggestions or are you just going to call me an unAmerican ignoramus?

I did not call you names.

I said you don't understand the concepts of citizenship, civil rights, the Constitution, and immigration law, which, based on everything you've written here, is absolutely true. The best solution for that would be the community college courses I suggested.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Etherist, I never said you were unAmerican. I said your ideas were, and I'll stand by it.

As to how to fix it? Well, like all other black-market problems, you can only effectively solve this one by addressing the demand, not the supply. There's only a supply of undocumented labor here because there's a demand for it. There's only a demand for it because employers want work done without having to pay minimum wage, L&I, workman's comp, or payroll taxes. So I guess one way to handle the situation would be to abolish the requirement for all those things. . . that would mean that Americans could be hired to work 20 hours a day for a buck an hour with no safety projections, and we wouldn't have to get shadow labor in to do it. But I don't think that's a great solution.

Another solution would be to instate a seasonal work visa. Cross the border, give a thumbprint, get a background check, receive your 3-month S-visa. Pick oranges for three months, collect your fair-market wages, go back to your homeland, lather rinse repeat. Of course, to keep employers from just hiring people who fail the background check or are otherwise unqualified for the S-visa, we'd need to institute some pretty severe penalties for anyone who hires undocumented labor. This is a solution I favor, btw. Mind you, it would result in food prices going up dramatically, but the only other solution is. . .

. . . do nothing, and continue to turn a semi-blind eye to the problem of undocumented labor in the United States. American citizens get to stay on their righteous "This is the greatest country in the world and you can't come" horse, we all get to eat cheap oranges, and undocumented workers continue to be exploited and live lives of abuse and fear. Everyone wins! Well, everyone who counts.
posted by KathrynT at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


to KathrynT:

Yes, a bracero program that was designed to be resistant to abuse by employers would probably be A Good Thing, by and large.

Improving socioeconomic conditions in Mexico/Central America would also help. More opportunites at home would probably make people were less desperate to come here.

Anyone else?
posted by etherist at 9:13 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a bracero program results in food prices going up dramatically, so be it. The price of food might closer reflect its true cost to the consumer.

Same thing for gasoline - it should be priced at least $6/gallon, to better reflect the true cost of extracting it, refining it, and subduing the governments under whose soil the good Spaghetti Monster placed it.
posted by etherist at 9:16 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


etherist, I'm going to go enjoy my sunday afternoon. I'll remember to take my gaijin card with me, and maybe you can read more carefully. I didn't advocate lowering the minimum wage in any way. What I did was react to your idea that raising the minimum wage would be an effective way of dealing with illegal immigration. The minimum wage isn't paid for most jobs that undocumented workers hold. Raising the minimum wage wouldn't affect them at all. Without actual reforms and careful planning, illegal immigrants will always be paid outside the system, outside the protections granted citizens. Raising it as a way to control immigration misses that point entirely. Should it be higher? Hell yes. Should workers who form the backbone of the economy be able to claim a living wage? Of course. Your suggestion isn't the way to go about it.

And paging through commenter histories to find something to through in their face, it's kind a dick move, and pretty widely frowned upon.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:16 PM on April 24, 2010


[A few comments removed. etherist, you are coming on way too strong and never-say-die in here, I'm asking you to cool it.]
posted by cortex at 9:42 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mob Rule in Arizona
posted by homunculus at 9:44 PM on April 24, 2010


etherist wrote: Once again, does anyone have any different solutions for the immigration problem?

First off, what exactly do you mean by "the immigration problem" -- too many people trying to get in? too many people doing it illegally? too many behaving badly once they're in? It's hard to propose solutions without knowing what we're trying to fix.

Secondly, several people have suggested cracking down on those who hire illegal immigrants. Others have proposed an amnesty for current illegal immigrants and making it easier for future immigrants (at least the "good" ones) to enter the US legally. Still others have observed that the underlying problem is that Americans aren't willing to work for the shitty wages most illegal immigrants get paid. Others have said the situation in Mexico needs to improve. I suggested giving illegal immigrants full rights and unionization, but those steps probably won't solve the "immigration problem" you have in mind. All of those suggestions were made before you asked if anyone had any solutions; if you've refuted them in any serious way, I missed it. I'd say the ball is in your court.
posted by twirlip at 9:47 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Malor: "One of the biggest takeaways for me was that your language shapes the world around you. Your words are both your tools and your blinders. There are thoughts you can think in French that you simply can't have in English, and vice-versa.

You've just rediscovered the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Here's the tl;dr version: it's complicated, and some effect probably exists via mechanisms like codability (studies with color suggest that it's easier to remember things you have words for) but you're either extremely premature or just plain wrong to make such a strong claim at this point.
posted by d. z. wang at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


To take your points one by one:

1) Cracking down on hiring - agreed
2) Amnesty - will only encourage more people to illegally immigrate in anticipation of the proposed amnesty (or the one that will inevitably follow). Will also infuriate those who "played by the rules" whether or not you agree with those rules.
3) Yes, minimum wage ought to be higher. That may give employers more incentive to find people who will work for illegally low wages. Screwing people out of minimum wage ought to be dealt with more harshly.
4) Yes to full rights and unionization, but not sure how it would work in practice. How to get people to exert their rights when they live in fear of "la migra" will always be tricky. Comes with the territory.

My goal wasn't to refute those suggestions, and I hadn't claimed to have done so.

I know we can't fix the "immigration problem", whatever you perceive it to be, by arguing here. But apparently there is no problem, and most people would rather ". . . do nothing, and continue to turn a semi-blind eye to the problem of undocumented labor in the United States." in the words of KathrynT.

This unAmerican is going to bed. Sorry for comment stalking.
posted by etherist at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2010


jacalata wrote: "So any change in the law is unfair to those who've suffered under a shitty law in the past? Awkward."

I asked my SO (who is a naturalized citizen) about this a little while ago. She looked at me like I had three heads and said of course she'd be ecstatic if there were an amnesty. She said that anyone who took a minute out of their life to mentally put themselves in an illegal immigrant's shoes, they would feel the same way she does.

As far as how to solve the problem of employers paying illegal aliens less than minimum wage? Easy, reward any illegal immigrant that snitches on such an employer a $25,000 cash bonus and a green card. I don't really think penalizing employers for merely hiring illegal immigrants is a great idea. Penalties should be reserved for those who also mistreat their workers, as that's the real problem, IMO.
posted by wierdo at 10:29 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Interesting that anyone who is against illegal immigration is a racist.

Do you or do you not support the Arizona law that requires police to racially profile people by making them ask Latinos if they are citizens and arresting them if they do not have "immigration papers" or "proof of citizenship" (which they would not be require to carry if they are citizens of our country). Do you or do you not support the harassment and imprisonment of Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and 4th generation Arizona residents if they cannot produce documentation on the spot to that effect and/or speak Spanish fluently? Do you believe that the daily harassment of Mexican-looking people (based on their shoes, I guess) is preferable to knowing that "certain people" are in this country that shouldn't be?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:47 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're in the wrong thread, etherist.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:56 PM on April 24, 2010


And for the record, I support the Arizona law, as long as the police have an articulable "reasonable suspicion".

But hey, apparently I'm in the minority on this hot-button issue. Point taken.

Now if you'll forgive me, I have to go find my invisible backpack.
posted by etherist at 11:01 PM on April 24, 2010


Down with the concept of nation states!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:05 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


etherist: I would have less of a problem as well if this could be enforced so that only those with "Reasonable Suspicion" would be arrested. The problem is that it is impossible to enforce. Anything that cannot be enforced will be abused.

You look Canadian to me.
posted by amuseDetachment at 11:24 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Considering that it would create a whole host of public relations messes, like those kiddie prisons for stateless small children who have no place to be deported to, I don't think that's a very compelling justification."

True, and to be clear I wasn't advocating it as I think it's stupid that you can be born in a country and not be a citizen there.
posted by Mitheral at 12:49 AM on April 25, 2010


I'm always puzzled about what the "immigrant problem" is. As numerous folks have pointed out here, immigrants (illegal or otherwise) are not taking jobs citizens want...and citizens won't pay for things that are created/picked/manufactured by people being paid legal wages. An impasse.

All I can think is that people who perceive there to be an immigrant problem are ashamed of their complicity in it. Well, that or they're racists or bigots.

This all seems very similar to morality laws, where people who cannot control their own impulses look to a stern father figure in the form of the government to force them to stay on the straight-and-narrow.

I'm an immigrant, but due to my fish-belly white skin probably won't have to worry too much about being hassled--especially as I never plan on visiting AZ again given their citizen's endorsement of crap like this.
posted by maxwelton at 1:46 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


"An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself." Martin Luther King Jr. - Letter from a Birmingham Jail
posted by dealing away at 2:22 AM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Balkanized language leads to racial tension, because if you can't understand someone, it's much harder to empathize with them or cooperate to achieve shared goals... or even to decide what the shared goals are in the first place.

Ironically Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats all speak the same language.
posted by atrazine at 2:29 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I haven't been stopped. Again, Chiba cops seem to be less actively assholes, and I'm a white male. Foreigners who aren't white get harrassed a hell of a lot more. In other words, it's a nerve-wracking, unpleasant thing that I try to do my best not to think about. I just do my best to always have my wallet with me. It sucks, and here, especially, the racial aspect of it is inescapable, though it's pretty blatant in this Arizona thing as well.
posted by Ghidorah


As an obvious foreigner on most continents except the sub, here's my 2 currency units worth on this aspect. Japan's history, homogeneity and culture influence these factors - not a value judgement on them so much as acknowledging they exist. As many know, its not easy even for global nomad Japanese to return to their homeland after having spent some years of their childhood abroad. Having lived for most of the past 40 years on the sufferance of various visa granting authorities, I have grown up thinking of it as "when a guest in someone's home, its their rules etc)

However, what sticks in my craw about this thread's topic is the fact that its from a location which proclaims its melting pot, multiethnic immigrant built heritage loudly, a vast cornucopia of opportunity, freedom, equality and aspirational dreaming.

Japan doesn't.

Its the hypocrisy and political correctness which covers the ugly reality - most nations have strict immigration laws and don't pretend otherwise or cover it up wiht fluffy PC "collateral damage" word play

(Malaysia let us renew our visas for 16 years but had no path to become a permanent resident or citizen if you didn't fall into certain religious or ethnic categories, c'est la vie, they never claimed to be anything other than who they are)

I'd rather Fortress America just announced it and was open and blatant about it rather than pinpricking its way into these motions and activities - I have often felt they're like an alcoholic, until they acknowledge they have a problem with these divides internally there will never be a solution.

Or is this the path leading to asking POTUS for *his* birth certificate again?

Reference: Fortress America 2006 (scroll down a bit, no direct link)

America has long been seen as the destination of choice for the world's best and brightest. But in the past few years, hastily implemented post-9/11 security measures and a long-neglected immigration system created a bottleneck in visa processing. Applications from foreign students to U.S. universities dropped precipitously, and businesses reported a conservative estimate of over $30 billion in losses because of visa delays. Even as the government has worked to resolve bureaucratic glitches, an increasingly rancorous debate over whom to let in to America threatens to undermine our ability to attract global talent. How are these developments affecting America's status as a center of innovation, and what should be done to keep America competitive in face of growing global competition for talent?

posted by infini at 2:47 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that the law in Arizone has less to do with getting rid of illegal immigrants and more to do with keeping the illegal immigrants who are already in the country scared and willing to work for peanuts so they don't get reported to INS. As others have pointed out if you really wanted to curb illegal immigration starting with sever fines for anyone caught employing illegals would be your first (and probably cheapest) option.
posted by PenDevil at 3:11 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


As numerous folks have pointed out here, immigrants (illegal or otherwise) are not taking jobs citizens want...

This is not strictly true. True, this is the fact when it comes to agricultural work. However, when it comes to the skilled and semi-skilled trades, undocumented workers certainly have taken over jobs that others are more than willing to perform. The construction trades, especially, have seen this happen as developers seek to lower their costs. Framers, drywall crews, brick/stone laying, etc. are areas that have seen an almost complete switch from a local, native workforce, to a largely undocumented workforce. At least this is true in my part of the country.

Please note that I'm just adding this point to the mix. I personally find the Arizona law highly problematic and a sad comment on where this country is heading
posted by Thorzdad at 4:32 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


A police officer could end this whole mess by arresting Steve Nash at the next home playoff game.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:08 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


infini, you're definitely right on that account. Japan has never said it's anything other than it is (aside from the current Yokoso! Japan -- "Welcome to Japan!" tourism campaign, during which entry requirements were made more strict), a closed country that isn't crazy about other people. What I was trying to do was to answer etherist's question about other countries, and point out that Japan's current system doesn't seem very different from etherist's suggestions, or Arizona's new law, and that the system is a deeply unpleasant one to live under, even though I've had very, very few moments where it has negatively affected my life. I imagine people like the Arizona legislature would love to install a Japanese style system, with strict controls, and probably the same limits on who could become a citizen and how they could go about doing it.

As mentioned upthread, I eagerly await the first time a Native American is acosted by a cop. Or the ingenious police officer who, to prove the point, sacrifices his job and detains the governor until she can provide proof of citizenship.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:10 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or, on preview, what mssrs Arsenio and Warren said.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:12 AM on April 25, 2010


Actually, this law won't take effect until September, correct? So arresting Steve Nash is out of the equation. However, that should be right in the middle of baseball season. A quick scan of the Diamondbacks roster leads me to believe that its a veritable hotbed of immigrants. Now, surely (hopefully?), the foreign-born players have gotten their immigration status squared away, but to be absolutely certain, I think it'd be only prudent for a police officer to interrogate a player in the middle of an inning during a division game. If the player cares about following Arizona state law, he will have the documents on his person. Visiting teams also should harbor no immigrants without proper documentation. I believe Carlos Zambrano would be more than cheered to have a police officer request documentation of his immigration status in the middle of a pitching inning.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:23 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


(its=it's)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:27 AM on April 25, 2010


My favorite t-shirt seen on many a Native American back in recent years has a picture of Geronimo and his band with their guns, looking tough, and the slogan "Fighting Illegal Immigration Since 1492."

I am also reminded of a joke linguists tell. So there's a town meeting in a small Arizona community to discuss bilingual education policies. And as tempers flare, one local good old boy gets up, takes of his feed cap, and implores the crowd, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for our town!"
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:07 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


etherist: try reading my full comment - i'm still waiting for you to provide the data that shows we can blame crime, gangs, etc. solely on undocumented workers

also, what neighborhood do you live/work in that you see all of that nearly every day, btw? that's pretty amazing

jfuller: morbid pleasure? wtf? you have a problem with the fact that i have a degree of fluency with the issue we're discussing? i was pointing out that the idea that undocumented workers are a "burden" on the state is a myth - the state benefits quite a bit from having them around and it always has

one more dead town's last parade: using the term "illegal" as a noun (as opposed to "illegal immigrant") is defining their entire existence by their immigration status - i.e., we are saying that the individual is illegal, not what they did (e.g. entering the country illegally), that their very existence is criminal - i know of no other crime where we do this - do we refer to murderers and rapists as "illegals"? no, we don't - so why do we do it to people who have crossed an imaginary line in the sand without the proper forms?

moreover, a large number (a few years ago it was more than half) of these so-called "illegals" have simply overstayed their visas - that's not even a criminal offense

so, again, it is nonsensical and it is repugnant - a person's worth does not depend on state classification or validation

You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is "illegal". That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal? - Elie Wiesel
posted by jammy at 6:28 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apologies for the ugly quoting and naked HTML - I'm on an iPod.

"A second study, released earlier this month by Washington-based nonprofit Immigration Policy Center, found that on the national level, U.S.-born men ages 18-39 are five times more likely to be incarcerated than are their foreign-born peers. And, while the number of illegal immigrants in the country doubled between 1994 and 2005, violent crime declined by nearly 35% and property crimes by 26% over the same period. The PPIC even determined that on average, between 2000 and 2005, cities such as Los Angeles that took in a higher share of recent immigrants saw their crime rates fall further than cities with a lower influx of illegals."

From here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1717575,00.html
posted by rtha at 7:08 AM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


"The things that would happen if the alarmists were right simply have not happened. A continuing inflow of violent, predatory Latinos would produce an unprecedented epidemic of larceny and slaughter. In reality, as the illegal immigrant population has grown, crime has, well, gone south."

From this decidedly right-leaning Libertarian publication.
posted by applemeat at 7:36 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


etherist: Once again, does anyone have any different solutions for the immigration problem?

Serious question: what's the actual problem? There's an incredible amount of baggage and unspoken assertions in the phrase, 'the immigration problem'.

I don't, personally, think there's a problem at all. Human capital is one of our best resources. That's how the whole country was built, on the labor of immigrants.

What, specifically, is wrong with people coming here?
posted by Malor at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


And for the record, I support the Arizona law, as long as the police have an articulable "reasonable suspicion".

Except there is no way on Earth an officer could possibly have an articulable reasonable suspicion about someone's immigration status unless they actually saw them sneaking across the border.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


etherist: And for the record, I support the Arizona law, as long as the police have an articulable "reasonable suspicion".

etherist, you aren't by any chance white are you?
posted by applemeat at 8:28 AM on April 25, 2010


And for the record, I support the Arizona law, as long as the police have an articulable "reasonable suspicion".
Would it be important to you to put in safeguards to make sure that they didn't target Latinos and then make up "articulabe 'reasonable suspicion'" after the fact?

I don't know. At the moment I live in a neighborhood that's mostly low-income and mostly Latino, and for various reasons I know that at least some of my neighbors are illegal immigrants. I would be absolutely at a loss to tell you which of the people I say hi to at the bus stop were undocumented, though. If there are clues, they're utterly invisible to me, and I live here. I guess I'm just not convinced that you can spot illegal immigrants by their special illegal immigrant shoes.

What I am conscious of, as someone who lives among the people who are likely to be targeted by this kind of law, is the way in which it would make everyone in the neighborhood vulnerable. This is a remarkably safe neighborhood, and I don't worry about crime. But it unnerves me to think that if this kind of law becomes widespread, people would be unwilling to call the cops if something bad did happen. I worry that criminals would target my neighborhood if they believed that many people here would be afraid to call or cooperate with the police. I'm an American-born white person with the kind of cultural trappings of middle-classness that make one relatively non-vulnerable to police harassment, but I worry that this kind of law would endanger me, too. That's not the only reason to oppose it: I'm not any more important than my working-class Latino neighbors. But my point is that targeting illegal immigrants doesn't just hurt the illegal immigrants. It doesn't even just hurt people who are likely to be mistaken for illegal immigrants. It's bad for all of us. It's bad for society as a whole.
posted by craichead at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


what would you want done if you lived there and confronted what seems to be the major problems that those citizens confront

I lived in Arizona for twenty years. Citizens of Mexican descent and immigrants (legal or illegal) of Mexican descent are the heart of Arizona and the state cannot function without them. What I would want done is to have this law repealed, Arpaio jailed for years of embezzling funds, Brewster ousted for incompetence, and the state legislature replaced by a purple drinking bird.

Arizona's problems were created and worsened by white people. Immigrants are not the problem. Illegals are not the problem. Mexcians are not the problem. They are a convenient scapegoat for white Arizonans so they don't have to blame themsleves for the crises precipitated by an undereducated, racist, short-term-planning populace.

HEY LETS BUILD A MILLION SHITTY IDENTICAL HOMES IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS DESERT AND NO BUILDING CAN HAVE TWO STORIES AND WE'LL JUST BUILD MORE ROADS OUT AND NEW COMMUNITIES AND SPRAWL SPRAWL SPRAWL AND MEXICANS WILL DO ALL THE LABOR AND WE'LL COVER THE WHOLE STATE WITH INEFFICIENT BUILDINGS WITH BEAUTIFUL WATER-THIRSTY GRASS AND WE'LL DO WHATEVER THE LITERALLY STUPIDEST THIRTY PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE THINK WE SHOULD DO. WHAT COULD GO WRONG
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:50 AM on April 25, 2010 [23 favorites]


using the term "illegal" as a noun (as opposed to "illegal immigrant") is defining their entire existence by their immigration status - i.e., we are saying that the individual is illegal, not what they did (e.g. entering the country illegally), that their very existence is criminal

This is indeed a straw man. What you're talking about is the natural tendency of English (or any language, for that matter) to shorten things. The argument that natural features of a language are somehow nonsensical has no basis in fact.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:56 AM on April 25, 2010


Well, it's weird and unpleasant and I'm not aware of people going around referring to legal immigrants as "legals."
posted by rtha at 9:14 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about people on student visas? A person can remain in the United States, legally, with an expired student visa so long as they have a valid I-20 (two pieces of paper, stapled together), which their university issues every year if said student is enrolled full-time.
Will they inform the already over-stretched police force about that? I doubt it.
posted by Neekee at 10:01 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Crime, drug trafficking, unlicensed and uninsured drivers, vast barrios, gangs. The trauma that pays my salary. The people of Arizona are much more affected by those negative externalities that most of you, I think. They're fed up with federal gov't inaction.

Do you have any cites for these assertions? Because I live in California, another state like Arizona that was originally part of Mexico. Until I moved to Oakland, every town I've lived in previously was majority Latino, and the "vast barrios" of those towns were people that had lived there for generations. Legally.

Illegal immigrants do not commit crimes at the level that legal citizens do. That's because it is a very quick way to get deported after you've gone through hell to get here.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]




"Just going ahead and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to those people who've gone taken the trouble, time, and expense to immigrate legally."

I'm an legal immigrant, and an illegal emigrant. Thanks for being concerned about my life being fair, but allow me to put your mind at ease -- I am not the least bit perturbed about widespread amnesty. Why are the people who say this never actual immigrants?

This law is bad for the country. America's economic growth depends on having really smart people working on really cool stuff, and quite frankly, we don't grow enough of those. Anti-immigration laws make it a lot more likely that the next great thinker is going to say "eh, no thanks."
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:42 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, any party that would actually invite Arpaio to speak is clearly off its collective nut. I've been a little torn about the Tea Partiers, because they're right about some things, but I can't think of many clearer examples of pure evil than Joe Arpaio.

That's pretty much sealed it for me.... whether they're right or wrong about any specific issues, their overall motives really are as bad as they're being painted.

What's really frustrating, of course, is that they're poisoning issues that are absolutely critical to the survival of the Republic, like fiscal discipline, attempts at central management of the economy, and bailing out bad players, letting them take on huge risk for huge profit, but then transferring the bill to the public dime when it all blows up. We're terribly ill, and getting sicker, even while things are starting to 'feel better'. The Tea Partiers are right when they criticize these issues.

But who the hell is going to listen, with these idiots as champions? They understand nothing. They're all pissed off because they're told to be, not because they actually have a clue. They're just tools of the elites they claim to hate.

Their strident ignorance ensures that we can't have a real conversation about this stuff, and I can't help but wonder if it's deliberate.
posted by Malor at 10:59 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Malor: What things do you think the TP'ers are "right" about? I mean, I think that they express outrage over issues that deserve attention -- fiscal irresponsibility, healthcare reform, etc -- but I haven't ever seen a TP'er articulate a real opinion on anything besides "OBAMA=HITLER" or "DONT TAKE MY GUNS!" Plus, these are people who didn't give a shit about any of those issues when a white "real" American was president, only when its a black Kenyan muslim.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:13 PM on April 25, 2010


Well, he's caught a lot of heat for it, but I don't think etherist is off his rocker to suggest that we rethink automatic citizenship for children who are born on American soil to parents who are citizens of a different country. (Hopefully that is clear enough to avoid misreadings of what is under discussion.)

When the Constitution was written, it was a pretty safe bet that a child born in America was here to stay. Granting citizenship to children of families who were clearly committed to making a life here and would be exclusively raised here is a pretty sensible move. But times have changed.

I am friends with a Mexican family who lived in Juarez when I lived in southern New Mexico. They have always lived in Mexico and, last I heard, intend to continue living in Mexico. But they stayed with friends in El Paso for the final weeks of pregnancy so that two of their children would have US citizenship.

Now, on one hand, these are my friends, and I love them and I'm glad that two of their children will have the option to take advantage of their American citizenship in the future. On a personal level, I certainly don't begrudge them doing what the can within the rules to create more opportunities for their family. But when it comes to national policy, I don't know that it's such a good idea to make people citizens on no other basis than that their mother managed to go into labor while on a temporary visit to El Paso. Their other two children were born in Juarez, almost within sight of the hospital where their American siblings were born, and they are, of course, citizens of Mexico. Same family, same culture, same values, born mere miles apart.

Maybe gaming the system that way is incredibly rare, but I would be in favor of amending the Constitution to create a more sensible policy. It makes sense to me that a kid born elsewhere but who lived from young childhood through high school graduation in America should have a stronger claim on citizenship than my friends' American kids, but kids in that circumstance who are culturally American are sent "home" to a country they've never known, whereas my friends' kids claim citizenship in an American that they barely know.

I'm open to multiple ways of solving that problem, but I do think it is a problem, and although I'm pretty far over on the bleeding-heart scale, I do also see a need to have some sensible regulations for who is granted citizenship.

On a side note, some of the arguments made in favor of lax enforcement of immigration law seem to me to edge toward the line of endorsing a virtual slave class, which I don't think is a good idea either. I get the argument that both illegal immigrants and citizens benefit economically from tacitly allowing non-citizens to work at less than the legal minimum wage, but at some point we've got to work to avoid to maintenance of an ongoing class of vulnerable servants.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm an legal immigrant, and an illegal emigrant. Thanks for being concerned about my life being fair, but allow me to put your mind at ease -- I am not the least bit perturbed about widespread amnesty.

That's nice—apparently my concern isn't for you. My concern is for the friend of mine who had to wait over a year and a half after marrying her husband before she could actually live with him in the U.S., and for others similarly situated.

Believe me, I'm all for more widespread legal immigration—I know enough people who haven't won the visa lottery and have had to return to their home countries, or seek jobs in a third country. It doesn't serve the U.S. to have an educational system that educates students from all over the globe and then sends them packing before they can benefit the U.S. economically and societally. It's a kind of invisible brain drain where the sort of immigrants we should be trying to attract never get the chance to work here, so they can't even make the choice not to work here, some despite their best efforts.

Why are the people who say this never actual immigrants?

What does this even mean?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:39 PM on April 25, 2010


What about people on student visas? A person can remain in the United States, legally, with an expired student visa so long as they have a valid I-20 (two pieces of paper, stapled together), which their university issues every year if said student is enrolled full-time.
Will they inform the already over-stretched police force about that? I doubt it.


*cough* ;p It so happens that in my wide ranging and peripatetic career, I was a DSO - Designated School Official for 3 years in the second city and I'd like to clarify the above misconception before some well meaning person who comes across this toodles off to accidently create challenges for some poor student.

The visa stamp in the passport is given in the home country based on the valid I-20 which confers legal F-1 status. (student supported by self or family as opposed to J-1, student supported by his/her govt/instituational funds bla bla) The stamp can and does expire, but it is the valid and DSO signed I-20 from the educational institution which confers and continues the legal status of the student in the country. Sometimes, in order to travel to a third country for a conference or fieldtrip, a student will have go out to Canada or Mexico in order to get a new stamp on the passport - and this may or may not be granted. But as long as they carry that valid I-20 and other paperwork, they are LEGAL. If they go home they usually get a renewal stamp done just to make life easier but it is NOT possible to get a stamp in passport within the USA at all.

Similarly, it applies for the H1B work permit. I never had a work permit stamp in my passport throughout the valid and legal duration of my work permit simply because a) traveling to my passport country a gazillion miles away was neither convenient nor affordable at the time b) I was LEGAL and c) the darn embassy in Toronto turned me down but I came back home to the US just fine with the papers in hand.

DSO procedures - note the first sentence in each case

Understanding your I-20
posted by infini at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2010


What does this even mean?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:39 PM on April 25 [+] [!]

I think it's pretty obvious it means that one rarely hears an actual legal immigrant saying how unfair it would be to them if other immigrants got amnesty.

But even if you did hear legal immigrants bemoaning a change that would make it easier for other people than it was for them, who cares? What does "fairness" have to do with this? The goal is workable immigration policy, not some arbitrary maintenance of the status quo for the sake of "fairness."
posted by diocletian at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2010


What does this even mean?

It means that the concern that amnesty would allow people to cut in line in front of law-abiding immigrants is usually voiced not by those immigrants, but instead by white racist Republicans who reliably support any law that appears to work against the interests of racial minorities, and thus their concern is more likely thinly disguised racism.
posted by goethean at 12:58 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not that Americans won't do the jobs that illegal workers do. It's that Americans won't do those jobs at the depressed wages paid to illegal workers. Illegal workers distort the market and depress the wages of the labor market for unskilled manual labor. I bet there would be plenty of Americans that would be willing to work those same jobs if they were paid a fair living wage.
posted by gyc


This argument is so tired and devoid of fact that it's getting just ridiculous to actually hear an American make it anymore.

The problem with unskilled labor in America is that EVERYONE wants their kids to not do it, or not do it past adolescence. We keep INSISTING that our kids MUST go to college in order to make good money, and that if you don't you'll end up in unskilled labor. Unskilled labor is the last refuge of employment for immigrants, the mentally handicapped, high school dropouts and general malcontents in our society.
The real problem, once you dig deeper, is one of supply and demand, pure and simple.
Americans want cheap and plentiful food, housing and goods. If the people who grow that food, build those houses or manufacture those goods payed their unskilled labor the "fair living wage" that you insist on, the cost of those goods would skyrocket.

In short: unless you're willing to pay $12 a pound for lettuce at the grocery store, then shut the hell up about this.
posted by kaiseki at 1:50 PM on April 25, 2010


From national Zogby Poll published April 22 2007:

"The majority (59%) believe the more effective way to deal with the potential treat to national security posed by millions of illegal immigrants living within the United States is to crack down on illegal immigration by toughening the enforcement of existing laws, deporting illegal immigrants and prosecuting the employers who illegally employ workers."

From PFIR (grain of salt time, I have no idea who these guys are), in a survey of 600 "Progressives and Liberals", 45% oppose amnesty, April 14, 2009:

"1* Overall, do you think the level of immigration into the United States at the present time is much too high, somewhat too high, about right, somewhat too low or much too low?

46% Much too high
21% Somewhat too high
24% About right
6% Somewhat too low
2% Much too low
1% Not sure

...

7* Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a pathway to citizenship or amnesty for illegal immigrants currently in the workforce?

28% Strongly support
25% Somewhat support
18% Somewhat oppose
27% Strongly oppose
2% Not sure"



Decisions about amnesty and who is a citizen are political ones, however you may hate that fact. Apparently there is no "immigrant problem", but not all of your fellow citizens agree.

Here is the entire poll of "progressives and liberals"

From a George Will editorial last week:

"A parent from a poor country, writes professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, "can hardly do more for a child than make him or her an American citizen, entitled to all the advantages of the American welfare state." Therefore, "It is difficult to imagine a more irrational and self-defeating legal system than one which makes unauthorized entry into this country a criminal offense and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry."

and

"Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to mothers who are here illegally."

He also summarizes the argument that the 14th amendment has been misinterpreted.

Look, reasonable people can disagree about these matters.
posted by etherist at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2010


Check out derechos humanos.

Thousands have taken to the streets in protest; this is not welcomed by the citizens of arizona. Too bad
they don't twitter like Iranians.

For more educational content see borderlinks.
posted by beardlace at 1:59 PM on April 25, 2010


all the advantages of the American welfare state like universal healthcare?
posted by infini at 2:07 PM on April 25, 2010


... But as long as they carry that valid I-20 and other paperwork, they are LEGAL.... I never had a work permit stamp in my passport throughout the valid and legal duration of my work permit...

My point: will Arizona allocate enough funds to educate the entire police force about details like the above? Many legal immigrants can and will be detained if a cop is feeling impatient and doesn't want to look through certain documents or the cop simply may not understand the law to know which documents are valid and which are not.
posted by Neekee at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2010


you have a very valid point, there have been instances when a green card has not be recognized by an airline employee as valid government issued ID and has had to call in a supervisor.
posted by infini at 2:16 PM on April 25, 2010


Thousands have taken to the streets in protest; this is not welcomed by the citizens of arizona.

Well, a lot of those people ARE citizens of Arizona. I know that a number of my friends were at rallies to oppose this bill on Saturday, and if I were in town, I would have been there too.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2010


i think it would be cool to basically have mexican-americans come from all over the US to flash mob the place, one city at a time, each of them in the streets, on their cell phones, reporting that they see illegal immigrants all around them.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


(the thing is: if this is overturned in court, they're going to make it all about 'activist judges' and they're going to keep at it. really, it needs to backfire on them so badly, to overstress state and local government in as many ways possible, so that its own supporters within the state start begging for its repeal. we shouldn't just kill the snake; we should let it bite them in the ass and make them kill it.)
posted by fallacy of the beard at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2010


And besides the U.S., Canada is the only other industrialized country that grants birthright citizenship. No country in Europe does.

Here's the list of other countries, as best I can tell. Bastions of liberty, all of them. Note that Israel is not on the list. Perhaps they should consider adopting birthright citizenship, because the current situation is terribly unfair to Arab babies born on Israeli soil. They might be stateless persons at birth!

Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Azerbaijan
Barbados
Belize
Bolivia
Brazil
Canada
Colombia
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Fiji
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Honduras
Jamaica
Lesotho
Mexico
Nicaragua
Pakistan
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Saint Christopher and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Uruguay
Venezuela
posted by etherist at 3:17 PM on April 25, 2010


And I notice that I am wrong about industrial countries. Went too fast. Sorry.
posted by etherist at 3:23 PM on April 25, 2010


I reiterate that the "problems" caused by illegals are imaginary. They pay taxes and other the "crime" of entering illegally, tend to stay out of trouble. The illegals I lived next to in AZ worked all the goddamn time and occasionally drank beer and barbecued in the backyard. People who try to make them into scary criminal boogeymen are racist and stupid.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:24 PM on April 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Pater Aletheias wrote: "I am friends with a Mexican family who lived in Juarez when I lived in southern New Mexico. They have always lived in Mexico and, last I heard, intend to continue living in Mexico. But they stayed with friends in El Paso for the final weeks of pregnancy so that two of their children would have US citizenship."

Ok. What's the problem, again? Is it just that you think it's "unfair," or do you think other people being citizens somehow dilutes your citizenship?

I don't think we need more arcane and complicated rules about who is a citizen and who is not. It's already bad enough. At least it's easy if a person is born here. Making citizenship depend on the nationality of the parents just makes for a much more complicated procedure even more ripe for abuse by ICE. As awful as they (and the INS before them) are, I don't support anything that gives them even the slightest bit more to think about. They already fuck up enough, thanks.

one more dead town's last parade wrote: "My concern is for the friend of mine who had to wait over a year and a half after marrying her husband before she could actually live with him in the U.S., and for others similarly situated."

And an amnesty would affect them how? Obviously any reasonable amnesty would have no effect on existing quotas or the existing line. I know a lot of immigrants. They, to a person, are in favor of anything that lets people who want to come to this country do so (or those who are already here stay). They know how nice it is compared to a lot of places.

And if you think that's a horror story, you need to meet more immigrants. Your friend's situation is an example of how ICE works when they do things right.

infini wrote: "you have a very valid point, there have been instances when a green card has not be recognized by an airline employee as valid government issued ID and has had to call in a supervisor."

It would help if they were actually green. ;)
posted by wierdo at 3:31 PM on April 25, 2010


And if you think that's a horror story, you need to meet more immigrants.

I didn't mention the guy I know of, but don't know personally, who was told that he could stay as a refugee, but he could not try to earn money until he had been given permanent status (which could take years), or else he might be deported back to his home country (where he would surely be killed).

Your friend's situation is an example of how ICE works when they do things right.

Believe me, I know that they are asleep at the wheel much of the time. But government incompetence doesn't grant one a right to ignore the law when it's convenient.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:53 PM on April 25, 2010


Illegal Mexicans pour hundreds of billions into the U.S. economy either through taxes from the products they buy or the taxes they pay on purchased goods.

A Mexican-American friend recently pointed out to me how popular Ford pick-ups are with both legal and illegals all over the country and how much money that company makes off of them. I'd go as far as saying it was partially this demographic and the popularity of Ford American made pick-ups that kept Ford's head above the water, unlike it's suffering competitors at GM and Chrysler.

The Arizona people and pols think they're immune to a backlash because illegals can't vote, but they can vote, with their money and when that community begins to flex it's economic muscle as well as it's political muscle from sympathetic legal Hispanics and other immigrants I will enjoy every bit of backtracking these idiots in Arizona are forced to do. Some sleeping dogs you leave the hell alone.
posted by Skygazer at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2010


Believe me, I know that they are asleep at the wheel much of the time. But government incompetence doesn't grant one a right to ignore the law when it's convenient.
This argument is fundamentally dishonest. It presumes that the only difference between legal immigrants and illegal ones is that illegal immigrants are unwilling to go through the hassle of immigrating legally. That's just not true. Most illegal immigrants could never immigrate legally by playing by the rules, because they don't fall into any of the categories that qualify for legal immigration. And no legal immigrant in his or her right mind would decide to migrate illegally just to avoid dealing with the immigration bureaucracy. I don't mean to downplay what a tremendous pain in the ass legal immigration is, but it's a cakewalk compared to living in the U.S. illegally. It's just silly to suggest that an undocumented immigrant is a potential green-card-holder who got lazy and decided to jump the queue.

Illegal immigrants are overwhelmingly people who have been assigned at birth to a really crappy position in the global economy. They did nothing to deserve this, just like I did nothing to deserve being born in a wealthy industrialized nation and thus being assigned a really awesome position filled with opportunities that most people will never have. I just can't bring myself to condemn them for refusing to accept their lot meekly, the way the people in power think they should. I'd like to think that where I in their shoes, I wouldn't cast my eyes down and humbly accept that having my kids go to bed hungry every night was the price we paid for being born on the wrong side of the border.
posted by craichead at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


Americans want cheap and plentiful food, housing and goods. If the people who grow that food, build those houses or manufacture those goods payed their unskilled labor the 'fair living wage' that you insist on, the cost of those goods would skyrocket.

Are other countries able to provide cheap and plentiful food, housing and goods without exploiting an underclass? If so, how do they do it?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2010


"In short: unless you're willing to pay $12 a pound for lettuce at the grocery store, then shut the hell up about this."

That's ridiculous. An out of season head of lettuce costs something like $3 and usually weighs somewhere between 300 and 800 grams. Even at a stupidly low pick rate of only one head per minute you could pay someone $60 an hour; double the hourly to cover taxes and wage overhead and still only raise the price $2 per head. And despite McCain's rhetoric you'd have no problem finding Americans to pick lettuce at $60 an hour.
posted by Mitheral at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I kind of feel for the AZ travel/tourism board. I have dark coloring and am frequently asked if I am of Hispanic descent. I just had a live chat with one of the reps and asked if it would be safe to travel to AZ without backup documentation.

It seems like they've been authorized to say that they're not in favor of the law, but they didn't sound super confident in suggesting it would be fine for U.S. citizens to travel there without their birth certificates.
posted by lalex at 5:04 PM on April 25, 2010


In re: $12/lb lettuce, I have a counter-anecdote. Every summer my family signs up for a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. We pay our six hundred bucks in April, and then for six and a half months we go and pick up our share of the vegetables. The farm is organic and nearby, and employs 12 fulltime documented workers who are paid a legal and living wage. The size of the weekly harvest varies by week, but is never less than three or four grocery bags full. I've done the comparison, and the price is about equivalent or slightly less than the same vegetables, conventionally grown, from the local supermarket.

Do economies of scale work backwards all of a sudden? How come these folks can pay a living wage but Gigantic Melon Farms can't?
posted by KathrynT at 5:08 PM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


This argument is fundamentally dishonest. It presumes that the only difference between legal immigrants and illegal ones is that illegal immigrants are unwilling to go through the hassle of immigrating legally…It's just silly to suggest that an undocumented immigrant is a potential green-card-holder who got lazy and decided to jump the queue.

Sorry, you don't get to handwave a valid argument into something I never said. When you get to that point, you're carrying on a conversation with yourself.

No country is obligated to let every single person who's worse off immigrate. I'm all for opening up more room for immigrants, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get to select those immigrants rather than drawing names out of a hat, or letting in the first n people who can cross the border.

Furthermore, I probably don't even hold the opinions you're assuming I do. It would be wonderful if those people who are in the U.S. illegally and who help drive the economy were granted a renewable temporary status so that they didn't fear deportation simply for demanding a living wage and the working conditions required by law. (And at least the resulting increase in the price of agricultural products would mean that someone's getting paid a fair wage for a day's work.)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:11 PM on April 25, 2010


Oh, and I got sidetracked, but let me finally say what an utterly shitty law this is—it can't be struck down fast enough. If I thought I fit their target profile, I'd volunteer to head down to Phoenix, wait for the sheriff's department to detain me unlawfully, and then come back and serve papers on Joe Arpaio personally.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:18 PM on April 25, 2010


Congratulations, etherist, on winning the inverse Turing test. You may claim your prize at the 101010001101010100001010.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:01 PM on April 25, 2010


PBS did a pretty good thing on this, including some arguing between the guy from the IRLI who wrote the thing and Raul Grijalva, who seems to be a pretty cool dude.
posted by Nomiconic at 7:20 PM on April 25, 2010


And oh geez, I managed not to actually link to the transcript and the video.
posted by Nomiconic at 7:23 PM on April 25, 2010


one more dead town's last parade wrote: "Believe me, I know that they are asleep at the wheel much of the time. But government incompetence doesn't grant one a right to ignore the law when it's convenient."

I don't think there's anybody on this thread who prefers illegal immigration to legal immigration. Expecting that illegal immigration won't happen just because we declare it illegal is choosing to ignore basic economics. I think most of us, being the pragmatic people we tend to be, would prefer to change the system such that there are fewer illegal border crossings, making it much easier to catch those who still cross illegally. (those would be the folks we want to keep out, if we were doing it right at the official border crossings)

KathrynT wrote: "Gigantic Melon Farms"

Chances are, Gigantic Melon Farms' products are grown either all the way across the country and distributed through multiple levels of distribution, each with their own markup, leaving the only way to get you a reasonably priced head of lettuce in the store by exploiting illegal immigrants.

Your local CSA lacks those extra costs, so can continue to be a going concern without requiring you pay as much.
posted by wierdo at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2010


one more dead town's last parade wrote: "No country is obligated to let every single person who's worse off immigrate."

And on a dumbass not preview: Sure, we're not obligated, but we'd find it much easier to keep out the undesirables (that would be the criminals, for those keeping track) if we didn't force people to make the choice between illegally crossing and staying in whatever shithole they're trying to escape from.
posted by wierdo at 7:48 PM on April 25, 2010


No country is obligated to let every single person who's worse off immigrate.

No country is obligated to treat their own citizens as foreign criminal agents just because they share skin color and language proficiency with those who are worse off and immigrate in unapproved ways.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:50 PM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess some people just don't care that they could be forced to prove that they are American at all times.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 PM on April 25, 2010


Racism: Poll taxes, "Literacy" tests, Grandfather clauses, Discriminatory drug sentencing laws, "States' Rights," Berthers, and now Arizona's S.B. 1070.
posted by peppito at 1:22 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


One Arizonan's response.
posted by idiopath at 1:30 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


@ joelisboa: Decisions about who is a citizen and who is not, and who gets to become one are political decisions.

Just pointing out that other countries have recently made the decision to change their policies.

And pointing out another country that has had to think hard about demographics and what values they want new citizens to have.
posted by etherist at 4:11 AM on April 26, 2010


etherist - who picked the avocados that put your through med school? Your extreme reaction here against undocumented workers is disconcerting given that your family surely employed them, and you have built a nice life for yourself with their direct help. You're not just benefiting from low food prices, you actually owe your living to these people. Have you no compassion?
posted by stoneweaver at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stoneweaver, etherist said in this thread:

I enjoy the fruits of having undocumented laborers in this country. I enjoy the low cost of my new house. If you looked closely enough at the quality, you would agree it was "cheap". I enjoy having my lawn mowed and my house cleaned for 8 bucks an hour. I love cheap restaurant meals and cheap produce.

With those positive externalities come negative ones. Crime, drug trafficking, unlicensed and uninsured drivers, vast barrios, gangs. The trauma that pays my salary. The people of Arizona are much more affected by those negative externalities that most of you, I think. They're fed up with federal gov't inaction.


So basically he likes the benefits of cheap labor but also feels that they are an appropriate scapegoat for things like drug trafficking, crime, and gangs. The facts that migrant workers don't actually engage in gang warfare and drug trafficking seems to have escaped him. Hint to etherist: drug traffickers don't have to pick lettuce, wash dishes, or build white people's homes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:19 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


And pointing out another country that has had to think hard about demographics and what values they want new citizens to have.

Are you fucking serious? My Mexican neighbors of whatever citizenship status share the same values I do. Your dogwhistle's broken, dude.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:24 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


etherist: Am I allowed to sneak into Mexico, Japan, Canada, or France and live unmolested? Can any cop ask me for papers if I rouse their suspicions?

Are you allowed to live unmolested in this country without being asked for papers? Judging by your support for SB1070, I can only assume that, emphatically, YES you are. ....But what if you weren't? What if you were just a little too tan, a little too brunette to pass muster (as will be judged, let's remember, by police working well outside of the scope of the job for which they trained)? There will be many thousands of American citizens--and American-born citizens whose families have perhaps been U.S. citizens longer than yours have-- who WILL be subject to these burdens and humiliations. Who'll be pulled over and detained and delayed and embarrassed and made late for whatever they do that is just as important as what you do and that you think this is no big deal is, I am sorry, extremely un-American.
posted by applemeat at 8:34 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


[A few comments removed. this needs to not turn into an everyone vs etherist debate. go to MeTa if you feel you need to.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't forget... you don't have to even be a tan color to be profiled as Mexican. I mentioned before, I and my also-black-haired housemate are both pretty pale, yet we've been stopped and asked questions by local authorities (checking for an accent). I've got just enough Native blood to give a certain cast to my features; skin tone is only part of the profiling.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:03 AM on April 26, 2010


[comments removed - The URL for MetaTalk is http://metatalk.metafilter.com which is where any further metadiscussion of this topic needs to be]
posted by jessamyn at 11:28 AM on April 26, 2010


As promised above, I called the Arizona Office of Tourism. The functionaries who answer the phone there aren't equipped to do anything more than take down your address and mail you a brochure, so that wasn't an effective move.

I then called the Arizona Attorney General's office, and got to someone who was able to respond intelligently, but declined to give me an answer to my question because that would "force me to render a legal opinion."

Instead she suggested that I read the text of the bill online , or contact the state's law library (602-542-5297).

The text of the bill says that a person who provides the following will be considered an alien:
1. A VALID ARIZONA DRIVER LICENSE.
2. A VALID ARIZONA NONOPERATING IDENTIFICATION LICENSE.
3. A VALID TRIBAL ENROLLMENT CARD OR OTHER FORM OF TRIBAL IDENTIFICATION.
4. IF THE ENTITY REQUIRES PROOF OF LEGAL PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE ISSUANCE, ANY VALID UNITED STATES FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED IDENTIFICATION.
Since I carry a TX driver's license, I'm not sure where that leaves me, and I have to wonder—will cops be carrying cheatsheets showing "TX ID=OK; MA ID=NG" and that sort of thing? How will they know which entities "require proof of legal residence"

I called the state's law library and posed this question. The guy I spoke with wasn't able to answer—the bill is brand-new, obviously, and not even in effect yet, so no interpretations have been tested, etc. He referred me to the bill's primary sponsor, Russell Pierce (602-926-5760). I called that office and got voicemail. If I hear anything, I'll update again.
posted by adamrice at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oops: "will not be considered an alien"
posted by adamrice at 1:03 PM on April 26, 2010


ponders bringing Stephen Hawking into the mix since he knows how to talk to these here aliens
posted by infini at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2010






First they came for people who looked like they were from Mexico illegally and I did nothing.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:29 PM on April 26, 2010


NYT's: Calls for boycott follow Ariz. immigration law.
posted by ericb at 3:37 AM on April 27, 2010






"Paper's, please." Troll talk. I think the reality is more like "Driver's license, please, or "Conductor licencia, porfavor." "Papers" obviously reeks of 40's noir Nazi's or 50's commies. But driver's license--we're asked for it at hotels, airports, department stores, car rental places, bars, at the bank, etc. Pretty standard.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 12:56 PM on April 28, 2010


But driver's license--we're asked for it at hotels, airports, department stores, car rental places, bars, at the bank, etc. Pretty standard.

I don't get asked for my driver's license while walking down the street, committing no crime. I don't even get asked for my driver's license while I'm driving if I don't commit a traffic violation. In addition, being asked for ID by an employee verifying your credit card information or renting you a car is very different from being forced to show it under fear of arrest for no reason without having committed a crime. Do you understand?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Paper's, please." Troll talk. I think the reality is more like "Driver's license, please, or "Conductor licencia, porfavor." "Papers" obviously reeks of 40's noir Nazi's or 50's commies. But driver's license--we're asked for it at hotels, airports, department stores, car rental places, bars, at the bank, etc. Pretty standard.

How true! A couple minor differences, however:
1. Those situations are all completely voluntary.
2. In those situations, the rule applies to everyone equally; no group is singled out.
3. Failure to produce required documentation in those situations will not result in incarceration and/or deportation.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Three is too "a couple"! Shut up!)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:05 PM on April 28, 2010


the Arizona Attorney General's office...declined to give me an answer to my question because that would "force me to render a legal opinion."

Can anyone explain why giving a legal opinion would be problematic for a state attorney general?
posted by weston at 1:10 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can anyone explain why giving a legal opinion would be problematic for a state attorney general?

Perhaps because the AZ AG is an elected position?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on April 28, 2010


Except a driver's license is not proof that you're in the United States legally. A number of states issue drivers licenses to residents. Those licenses continue being valid even if the legal residency is over. So, for people from those states, a birth certificate would be required. Furthermore, the driving age in Arizona is 15. That leaves a whole lot of people who need to carry around something other than a license. Discounting people who do not drive.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:24 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps because the AZ AG is an elected position?

So, it could be politically hazardous? I understand that's a possibility, but this seems to be a pretty significant going concern at the moment. If the chief counsel for the state's executive apparatus can't make some kind of public statement clarifying how they read the law, then I expect a better reason than "people might not like what I have to say."
posted by weston at 1:35 PM on April 28, 2010


"Can anyone explain why giving a legal opinion would be problematic for a state attorney general?"

adamrice was talking to some random person answering phones in the office not the AG. They probably aren't a lawyer and have been coached carefully to not render legal opinions because of the office they work in.
posted by Mitheral at 1:48 PM on April 28, 2010


An AG doesn't want to give a legal opinion because, holding that office, it would have policy implications. They give legal opinions all the time, that's what they do, but only after six or a dozen underlings have dissected the question, pertinent judicial holdings and, yeah, political ramifications.

---
This law isn't questionable because it means that the police can ask for ID, they can do that in tons and tons of situations already, but in all of those they need some sort of reason (and, yes, driving a car is reason, if it is a universal or randoms stop). This new thing (I have a hard time calling it a law, no matter what it's standing) requires -- requires! -- the police to stop any one they suspect might be an undocumented Alain. It gives them carte blanche to ignore probable cause and harass anyone they wish.

And it is all bull, everyone, even Republicans, know the quickest way to end the "problem" would be to prosecute the people that are employing these works and provide stiff penalties, but that won't happen, it's more fun to have ways to persecute and further marginalize all members of minority, especially the poorer ones.
posted by Some1 at 1:58 PM on April 28, 2010


I think the reality is more like "Driver's license, please, or "Conductor licencia, porfavor." "Papers" obviously reeks of 40's noir Nazi's or 50's commies. But driver's license--we're asked for it at hotels, airports, department stores, car rental places, bars, at the bank, etc. Pretty standard.
Huh. I don't have my driver's license with me today. I rode my bike to work, and I left my wallet at home because it doesn't fit easily into my bag if I also have my computer. Also, I live in the part of town that I bet has the highest percentage of illegal immigrants, and I wouldn't be surprised if riding a bike to work was profilable behavior. So would you be comfortable with me being hauled in to jail on my way home if I couldn't produce my driver's license or passport? Would your answer to that depend on how I looked and what kind of accent I had?
posted by craichead at 2:37 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


weston wrote: "Can anyone explain why giving a legal opinion would be problematic for a state attorney general?"

In the states I've lived in, Attorneys General may only render opinions for public officials, not any random Joe off the street (or on the phone).
posted by wierdo at 2:40 PM on April 28, 2010


This new thing (I have a hard time calling it a law, no matter what it's standing) requires -- requires! -- the police to stop any one they suspect might be an undocumented Alain. It gives them carte blanche to ignore probable cause and harass anyone they wish.

Not only that, but a private citizen can sue you if they decide you should have asked that Mexican-looking person for their papers and didn't.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:47 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Paper's, please." Troll talk. I think the reality is more like "Driver's license...

What happens to those who don't drive and thus don't have a driver's license when stopped on a sidewalk?
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on April 28, 2010




any one they suspect might be an undocumented Alain

Je pense qu'ils auraient plus de chance dans le Maine.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:00 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


adamrice was talking to some random person answering phones in the office not the AG. They probably aren't a lawyer and have been coached carefully to not render legal opinions because of the office they work in.

That's fair enough.

An AG doesn't want to give a legal opinion because, holding that office, it would have policy implications. They give legal opinions all the time, that's what they do, but only after six or a dozen underlings have dissected the question, pertinent judicial holdings and, yeah, political ramifications.

In the states I've lived in, Attorneys General may only render opinions for public officials,

I can also buy this. But I think someone needs to be in a position to answer the question of what visitors to the state can bring with them to prevent a hassle.
posted by weston at 3:12 PM on April 28, 2010


FYI from the Pima County Sheriff.
posted by Some1 at 5:14 PM on April 28, 2010


Arizona's looming tourism disaster
posted by finite at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2010




Makes you wonder if those guys Haagen and Dazs are in New Jersey legally...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:08 PM on April 29, 2010


weston wrote: "I can also buy this. But I think someone needs to be in a position to answer the question of what visitors to the state can bring with them to prevent a hassle."

It would fall upon the governor or state legislator to request an opinion from the AG, which the requestor could then disseminate.
posted by wierdo at 12:55 PM on April 29, 2010


Interesting tidbit -- Häagen-Dazs is a made-up name "meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes."
posted by ericb at 1:03 PM on April 29, 2010


Tuscon police officer police officer Martin H. Escobar is suing the state over the law.
posted by hattifattener at 4:53 PM on April 29, 2010


They just amended the law.
One change to the bill strengthens restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for questioning and inserts those same restrictions in other parts of the law.

Changes to the bill language will actually remove the word "solely" from the sentence, "The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin."

Another change replaces the phrase "lawful contact" with "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to apparently clarify that officers don't need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.

A third change specifies that police contact over violations for local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on immigration status.
posted by caddis at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2010




Hoo-boy ... the news from the great state of Arizona continues:
Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on April 30, 2010




Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas):
"Now it seems to me that if we are so advanced with technology and manpower and competence that we can capture illegal grasshoppers from Brazil, in the holds of ships that are in a little small place in Port Arthur, Texas on the Sabine River. Sabine River, madam speaker, is the river that separates Texas from Louisiana. If we're able to do that as a country, how come we can't capture the thousands of people that cross the border everyday on the southern border of the United States? You know they're a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier....And maybe we need to make the guy down there in southeast Texas that captured this grasshopper from Brazil, he oughta be in charge of Homeland Security. If he's able to do this with grasshoppers just think what he can do on the southern border of the United States."
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on April 30, 2010




On FOX News today: Gov. Brewer: ‘Arizona has been under terrorist attacks’ with ‘all of this illegal immigration.’
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on April 30


osama bean laden
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


News reports are that a deputy in one of the border counties was shot a couple hours ago by some illegal immigrants crossing the border with an AK-47. Surely this news will be handled with grace and aplomb by all sides.
posted by Justinian at 7:39 PM on April 30, 2010


Justinian: what I can't figure out is on what basis they are calling him an "immigrant", legal or not - that seems hasty and chosen for spin value. The man is a smuggler. While smuggling and illegal immigration start at the same places, they are hardly the same crime.
posted by idiopath at 7:51 PM on April 30, 2010


Arizona Authorities Find Wounded Deputy in Desert
At about 4:30 p.m., the deputy radioed in to report that he was shot in the abdomen with an AK-47 assault rifle during a traffic stop after pulling over a vehicle containing a group of suspected illegal immigrants on the Interstate 8 west of Casa Grande, Arizona.

The deputy was investigating a shipment of marijuana in the desert and was confronted by five suspects, Lt. Tami Villar told 12 News.

Police believe at least two people were armed with long guns and at least one handgun, AZCentral.com reported.
Sounds like drug runners to me.
posted by Tenuki at 7:54 PM on April 30, 2010


Tenuki wrote: "Sounds like drug runners to me."

Exactly the sort of people we should be focusing our attention on.
posted by wierdo at 12:35 AM on May 1, 2010


I am in no way defending the specifics of this law since this is a bit of an orthogonal issue, but you can't "focus on drug runners" without cracking down on the border in general. Drug runners don't typically wear signs beyond the obvious easy cases where big cartels have set up drug tunnels or use speedboats or small submersibles to bring over big big quantities. Coyotes bringing illegal immigrants over the border these days aren't exactly doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and they're not always the most upstanding sorts; they're also carrying drugs a lot of the time. So cracking down on that scale drug runner is cracking down on illegal immigration in general. You can't easily separate the two until after the fact in a lot of cases.

This sounds like the deputy was specifically focusing on a suspected group of dedicated drug runners, though, but I doubt that will stop anyone from trying to use it for a broader political point. Why let details get in the way of a compelling narrative?

Of course I think the drug war is stupid in general, but that's another issue.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on May 1, 2010


Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English.

ah, the irony of someone with a British accent attempting to teach English to the lumpen masses
posted by infini at 1:34 AM on May 1, 2010


Justinian wrote: "but you can't "focus on drug runners" without cracking down on the border in general"

I seem to remember posting a solution earlier in the thread on how to go about that. Let me go find it:
I'd want amnesty for existing illegal immigrants who register their presence in the US and saner immigration laws that allow anyone lacking a history of violent crime to come here. Make it cheaper and easier for someone to immigrate here, and the illegal border crossers will be limited to the nefarious.
Is there some gap in logic there?

Moreover, the idiotic law we're discussing will probably be worse than doing nothing when it comes to catching the violent criminals. There are a finite number of police eyeballs. If those eyes are too busy dealing with nonviolent illegal aliens who are already here, they will have less time to deal with the problems Ms. Brewer claims to want to have solved.
posted by wierdo at 3:53 AM on May 1, 2010


Justinian: "you can't "focus on drug runners" without cracking down on the border in general."

But this law is not about the border of the state.

A citizen can smuggle drugs as effectively as can someone with a valid visa or a non-citizen. It is true that the social network of the existing drug gangs have a disproportionate number of brown skinned non English speakers. But this hardly makes it reasonable to target people based on immigration status if your target is to prevent drug smuggling.

The law in question applies equally at the northern and southern borders of the state. It applies equally to persons who are longterm residents of the state and to people who cross the border every day and never stay in Arizona over night.

The people who are working without valid work permits or living here without valid visas or green cards are really not the same people who are running drugs across the border. You can increase enforcement against drug smuggling and even against coyotes without having to address the issue of immigration status of the perpetrators at all. To lump in coyotes, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants into one category as if they were the same people and the same problem is an ineptness that looks a lot like racism.
posted by idiopath at 4:12 AM on May 1, 2010


LOLBIRFERS
posted by idiopath at 4:33 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


LOLBIRFERS

You know that joke is actually about another bill, right?
posted by jessamyn at 6:58 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, I had no idea, these people are clearly obsessed with the question of who is a citizen.
posted by idiopath at 7:07 AM on May 1, 2010


When a conservative politician is riled up about a social issue, it inevitably ends up that they're guilty of that very thing; cf. wide stances.

Let's see their papers—probably half the Arizona gov are illegal!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:09 AM on May 1, 2010


Oh, just secede already.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt..."

(passed on to me by silusGROK)
posted by weston at 1:14 PM on May 1, 2010


Just in case anyone's still keeping an eye on this, among the many recent developments surrounding this law, a house bill signed by the governor on April 30th amended the senate bill.

The house bill changed certain critical language such that an officer can only investigate immigration status pursuant to a lawful stop -- which requires reasonable suspicion of a separate offense (speeding, for example).

Still not chuffed with the law for a lot of reasons, and think it is still vulnerable to constitutional challenge, but for the record, it's not quite as bad as the version that was the subject of the original post.
posted by diocletian at 7:49 PM on May 3, 2010






L.A. approves boycott of Arizona.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2010






I am pretty sure they are well past having illicitly crossed the border from "pandering to ignorant voters" land and into "actual certifiable rightwing nutjob" territory. Here's hoping the neo-nazis ask for their papers.
posted by idiopath at 3:04 PM on May 12, 2010


Gov. Jan Brewer signs the bill that bans schools from teaching classes designed for students of a particular ethnic group.

That's so breathtakingly stupid that it leaves me speechless.
posted by rtha at 3:49 PM on May 12, 2010




Arizona Threatens to Turn Lights off in L.A.

Oops. Looks like someone brought a knife to a gun fight. :)
posted by zarq at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


L.A. has an ownership stake in the powerplants in Arizona, for one thing, for another there would be massive damages levied against AZ, easily in the billions of dollars and it would simply put the Arizona apartheid law in an even worse light, if that's possible.

AZ can't do jack to the rest of the country, or the other nations in the world considering boycotting their products.

Apologists are all over the web, on every news site and news blog, trying to justify this apartheid horseshit.
posted by Skygazer at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2010


Nine Times
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:52 PM on May 23, 2010


Are cops supposed to be able to tell someone has been deported nine times just by looking at them?
posted by Mitheral at 7:57 AM on May 24, 2010


Since when has "drop him off at the border" actually worked to reduce crime? Using the fact that we dropped a criminal off at the border (repeatedly) and he crossed again (repeatedly) seems an odd argument for doing more deporting.
posted by idiopath at 8:33 AM on May 24, 2010


Nine Times

and?

What has this to do with the price of milk?
posted by edgeways at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2010


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