Good afternoon, folks! Thanks to everybody who's stopped by to comment on this morning's post & thanks to Raquelle, Lizzy & Scotty for re-posting or otherwise responding to the post on Facebook & Twitter. For instance, Lizzy posted a link to an interesting article about how GOP fears that Hispanic voters will turn certain swing states to the Democrats have been a factor in this law - not to mention 11 others currently under contemplation in 10 other states: Utah, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas (two separate initiatives), Missouri, Oklahoma & Nebraska. I know there are some Robert Frost's Banjo regulars from at least a few of those states, so hope this can be a heads up.
Some points came up in the discussion on the morning's post that I felt merited an airing beyond the comments section. A couple of people brought up the activities of Mexican drug cartels along the Arizona border. A good friend, who's a sincere & thoughtful man, suggested that Arizona was forced to take this action because of drug violence, & because of the federal government's unwillingness to confront this (I believe he meant with military force, but this wasn't specifcally stated). I can understand the feeling behind the argument - the violence associated with the big drug business is horrific & appalling. But I do question whether this law is going to have much affect on that in the long term (assuming it's not repealed). I suspect that the drug cartels will find ways around this, just as organized crime found ways around police & FBI activities during Prohibition, & just as various crime organizations have continued to find ways around all the other "crackdowns" of the prolonged "drug war." Do I think the ultimate answer is legalization - yes, but that's a topic for another time. I can tell you that I favor legalization as a non-user; I'm a recovering alcoholic & drug addict who has not had a drink or drug since the spring of 1980, so I don't believe I'd be lining up waiting for the state marijuana store to open.
I do think the federal government should take a role in the problem of undocumented workers. However, I believe the most effective role the government could take would be to address the impact of big agribusiness on small farmers both in the U.S. & globally - Russell Means, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, & a man with complicated politics, but a man who is definitely not a leftist by any stretch of the imagination (he was recruited to run for nomination as Libertarian presidential candidate in the 1980s) states: "With people no longer needed on the land, food production has been taken over by corporate agribusiness, the beneficiary of enormous government subsidies that place them among America's biggest welfare recipients" (I'll be writing more on Means' autobiography in a future post). I also believe it's past time for the government to seriously consider the impact of NAFTA on economies in Central & South America.
But I'm a liberal sort - of course I'd oppose the law. Let's look at what some noted conservatives are saying:
Virginia Governor Republican Bob McDonnell: "I'm concerned about the whole idea of carrying papers and always having to be able to prove your citizenship. That brings up some shades of some other regimes that weren't necessarily helpful to democracy."
Karl Rove (!?!): “I think there is going to be some constitutional problems with the bill. I wished they hadn’t passed it, in a way.”
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (Bush appointee) says he's "uncomfortable" with Arizona's new immigration law, because it allows police to question people without probable cause.
Florida Republican candidate Marco Rubio has major “concerns.”
Lindsey Graham & Tom Tancredo (Republicans both) question whether the law is constitutional.
The legislation also was opposed by the The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, tho they have pledged to uphold it now that it's passed.
It's also worth pondering that a man with very conservative credentials - Barry Goldwater himself - believed the problem needed to be attacked at its source. As quoted in the article linked to above:
But significantly, Goldwater realized that at the root, the U.S. needed "increased cooperation with the countries that are sending illegal aliens." He believed that U.S. businesses should work with those abroad to "[h]elp providing economic incentives to encourage residents to remain in their native lands."
This all moves away from my main point in the morning post - & what I want to remain my main point - that we need to humanize this debate. But I believe it's necessary to look for truly effective, rather than expedient means to address such large problems.