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Arizona’s law backers should pause



Published: Tue, May 18, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Last week was a bad one for those of us opposing Arizona’s anti-immigration law: New polls show that a huge majority of Americans support the legislation, and key candidates for November’s mid-term elections are now saying they want similar laws for their own states.

Three separate polls — from the Pew Research Center, The Wall Street Journal-NBC and McClatchy-Ipsos — show that about 60 percent of Americans support the Arizona law, which requires local police to question people about their immigration status when they have “reasonable suspicion” that they are not in the country legally.

Public sentiment

There’s no question that the polls show a clear public sentiment that something has to be done to stop the steady flow of migrants. But I would like to ask six questions to supporters of the Arizona law, and to politicians who are considering similar legislation in 16 other states:

1: Are you aware that the Arizona law turns every Hispanic in Arizona, including U.S. citizens, into a potential suspect? Do you like the idea of police stopping members of the largest U.S. minority group because of the color of their skin, or their Spanish accent?

Granted, the Arizona law was recently amended to demand that police engage in the “lawful stop, detention or arrest” of people before inquiring about their immigration status. Supporters of the law say this means police can only stop people in connection with other crimes. But, in reality, “lawful stop” can mean many things, including stopping a person to ask whether they saw something suspicious around the corner.

2: Do you know that the stated reason for the Arizona law — a wave of crime brought about by undocumented migrants — is not backed by the state’s official statistics?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime in Arizona fell from 531 to 447 people per 100,000 inhabitants over the eight years ending in 2008. Nationwide, while the nation’s illegal-immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2004, the violent-crime rate declined 35 percent, the Arizona Republic reported May 2.

3: Do you know that the Arizona Police Chiefs Association opposes the law, saying it will drain the state’s law enforcement resources? In addition, undocumented migrants will think twice before giving police tips on crimes or terrorist plots, or before they rescue somebody from a car accident, it says.

4: Are you aware that Los Angeles and several other U.S. cities have voted to boycott Arizona? Arizona’s tourism board said last week that the boycotts have cost the financially ailing state $90 million already. Arizona-like laws could cripple the tourism industry of the states that adopt them.

5: Do you know that the reason so many migrants enter the United States illegally is because they can’t get in legally? Under the dysfunctional current U.S. immigration system, the U.S. labor market employs up to 500,000 low-skilled workers a year, but the U.S. government only gives 5,000 permanent legal visas a year in that category.

6: Even if you support the Arizona law, is it worth turning the country into a quasi police state, making every member of its largest minority group a suspected criminal, and losing billions of dollars in legal costs and boycotts? Or would it make more sense to update the country’s immigration laws, creating a system that welcomes legal immigrants and discourages illegal ones?

Andres Oppenheimer is a Latin America correspondent for the Miami Herald. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments

1palbubba(664 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

How biased can you get? Not one statistic of the cost of ILLEGAL, which means against the law, for all you bleeding heart liberals. Should we just allow everyone to enter our country because they want to? That would lead to anarchy. How about the lawlessness of their criminals coming here to escape their justice system. We have these laws for a reason, they must be made to obey them.

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2madasheck(64 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The Liberal Democrats need these illegal aliens so they can give them amnesty,citizenship & register them to vote....how else are they going to get reelected!!!

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3ellowood(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

REQUIRE ,Police to question about immigration ????Soungs like Al (the butter knife ) Sharpton
You must have stopped a Sears and picked up a super sized manure spreader from Qbama.If I am puled over by an officer in Ohio or any other state I am REQUIRED to show ID whats the problem.Maybe all the do gooders would like to pool there money and foot the bill for health care,lodging,food ,education,you name it.then these people DEMAND we do it there way.I'm tired of all the BS here and DC I say cut out the freebies and you cut out illegal immigration

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4ozzi(14 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Pretty scary,Those Al cia duh Terrorist's could sneak over the Border with a Dirty Bomb and do somthing Terrible.

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5cambridge(3013 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

paulb....If New York City and Oklahoma have the laws that you say they are the only ones that have figured out the solution.

Rounding them up and locking them up is a waste of money. Fine the employer and take their business license and put repeat offenders in jail and the jobs will not be offered to illegals.

With no job opportunities they would stop coming here and the ones that are here would leave.

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6howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Whether there are 12 million illegal immigrants or 20 million, my question is this, Which of you are going to scrub the toilets, change the sheets, wash the dishes, clean the grease traps and get up at 5am to work in the fields in the hot California, Arizona, Florida or Texas summers bending over and picking fruits and vegetables in fields covered in toxic pesticides, and all of this for minimum wage or less with no benefits, or would you be willing to send your children to do this work for the summers during high school and after they graduate for 2 full years.

To replace 12 million underpaid workers would require the establishment of a National Service Agency similar to the one instituted in the UK during World War II and only abolished (yes that word reminds us of slavery) in 1960. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscrip...)

Is this a solution you are willing to accept? If not, what is your alternative plan? are you going to get laid off auto workers to do those menial jobs for less than minimum wage? Are you going to get unemployed workers from the the East coast or Northern states to relocate to the South and West to work in the fields? What is your plan to replace those 12 to 20 million unskilled workers?

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7howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

ellowood, if we eliminate all of the freebies as you suggest, unemployment will go up not down and even if you can get them to do those 12 to 20 million jobs, as there are far more than 20 million on welfare.

Which welfare programs would you end? Food Stamps? WIC? Social Security Retirement? Social Security Disability? Medicare? Medicaid? Unemployment benefits? General Assistance? Foster Children funding? K-12 Public Schools?

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8punkin2(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Answers to your questions from a border state resident:

1. Answering a question with a question: Do you think that the police don't have enough to do rather than stop every other person on the street? Or do you have so little confidence in the decency of officers of the law that they wouldn't abuse this law?

2. ANY crime commited by an already law breaking illegal alien is NOT ACCEPTABLE!

3. And you point is....?

4. I really don't give a crap.

5. I really don't give a crap.

Any other questions?

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9howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

psyker99 (10) the reason they sneak in is because "the U.S. labor market employs up to 500,000 (additional) low-skilled workers a year, but the U.S. government only gives 5,000 permanent legal visas a year in that category."

This is why we need comprehensive immigration reform including a guest worker program.

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10cambridge(3013 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Not every illegal in this country is picking lettuce. A huge percentage are here on expired work, student and visitors visa's.

I've worked on many construction projects in Silicon Valley. New construction, retrofit and plant expansions. You would be amazed at how many of the operators in these facilities are here on visas from India and other parts of Asia.

They are good paying technical jobs that they do at a cut rate and no benefits while local qualified workers stay home. Anyone who thinks these companies keep track of these peoples visa status is naive. If their visa is expired their employer doesn't want to know.

As far as farm workers. There are migrant farm workers that come here legally on temporary work visas and work these farms during the seasons and spend the rest of the time in their native country.

Trust me, know one has a dream to sneak into America to pick fruit.

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11sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Great day for latinos in Cleveland, Ohio. the city council voted No. 16 to 2 in AZ like law. God bless good politicians! For those who haven't figure out how politicians work, the people from Cleveland, have. For the last 20 years democrats as well as republicans have race eachother to se who can come up with the more savege laws to criminalized immigration for political platform purposes to gain political votes. and once they get elected they put it to rest, till the next political campaing. So evry 4 years legal and illegal immigrants are brought up for trial. And when it's time for them to cast their vote in this issue and take actions they turn the other way and never do anything. Why? Becouse they have bigger fish to fry but it's easyer to blame Immigrants for all their fails. Immigration is not the problem in this country, but politicians make ti seem that way. it's a card they know how to play to well. after all If you can defeat them comfuse them. People it works! and they know that.

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12boxfan(18 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The Arizona law is not about the 430k settlers in that State. It's about what to do with the other 2 million plus latinos who have lived there since Arizona was part of Mexico.

This law is design to put bown skin people in their place, to humiliate them.
It's not going to work.

Ask the Arizonan-Mexican who is in US uniform in Irak or Afganistan about the Jim Crow era laws in his State.
As for undocumented immigrats, how can they be lazy leaches and taking "jobs" at the same time? make up your mind.

For the haters out there, quit spreading lies... We know you can wrap your self in the flag and at times quote the bible. Spare civil discussion from your dramatic show.

By the way, why would people want to leave their family and friends to come to the south side of Youngstown? Handles Ice cream!

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13Jbreed2011(37 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

So people are criticizing lawmakers for making illegal immigration illegal. I personally don't believe this is going to change a thing until we actually close off the border. You catch them, send them back to mexico, then they come back.... catching them doesn't work unless they can't come back without going through the process first.

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14sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Most of this comments are silly and unfundemental, but any way I guess they are well opinonated. I have to respect that, I used to think that way when I was in third grade. Most people here are criminalizing Illigal immigration and making a great deal aboutt it, while goldman suchs and the BP oil spell in the golf of Mexico is filling with oil. Wow ! this two incidents will never amount to ilegal Immigration since history. But here you are barking at the wrong tree am just glad that 99.9 of the valley think out side the box. If anything ilegal immigration is kepeeng social security alive with 1.6 billion anuanlly of unclaimed taxes from ilegal immigrants. Now wonder legislaters want to keep ilegals, ilegals, thats why they never come up to bipartisan leadership. Get the pictue?

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15sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Most of this comments are silly and unfundemental, but any way I guess they are well opinonated. I have to respect that. I used to think that way when I was in third grade. Most people here are criminalizing Illigal immigration and making a great deal aboutt it, while goldman suchs and the BP oil spell in the golf of Mexico is filling with oil. Wow ! this two incidents will never amount to ilegal Immigration since history. But here you are barking at the wrong tree am just glad that 99.9 of the valley think out side the box. If anything ilegal immigration is kepeeng social security alive with 1.6 billion anuanlly of unclaimed taxes from ilegal immigrants. Now wonder legislaters want to keep ilegals, ilegals, thats why they never come up to bipartisan leadership. Get the pictue?

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16sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Most of this comments are silly and unfundemental, but any way I guess they are well opinonated. I have to respect that. I used to think that way when I was in third grade. Most people here are criminalizing Illigal immigration and making a great deal about it, while goldman suchs and the BP oil spell in the golf of Mexico is filling with oil. Wow ! this two incidents will never amount to ilegal Immigration since history. But here you are barking at the wrong tree am just glad that 99.9 of the valley think out side the box. If anything ilegal immigration is kepeeng social security alive with 1.6 billion anuanlly of unclaimed taxes from ilegal immigrants. Now wonder legislaters want to keep ilegals, ilegals, thats why they never come up to bipartisan leadership. Get the pictue?

Suggest removal:

17sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Most of this comments are silly and unfundemental, but any way I guess they are well opinonated. I have to respect that. I used to think that way when I was in third grade. Most people here are criminalizing Illigal immigration and making a great deal about it, while goldman suchs and the BP oil spell in the golf of Mexico is filling with oil. Wow ! this two incidents will never amount to ilegal Immigration since history. But here you are barking at the wrong tree am just glad that 99.9 of the valley think out side the box. If anything ilegal immigration is kepeeng social security alive with 1.6 billion anuanlly of unclaimed taxes from ilegal immigrants. Know wonder legislaters want to keep ilegals, ilegals, thats why they never come up to bipartisan leadership. Get the pictue?

Suggest removal:

18sexymexy(6 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Most of this comments are silly and unfundemental, but any way I guess they are well opinonated. I have to respect that. I used to think that way when I was in third grade. Most people here are criminalizing Illigal immigration and making a great deal about it, while goldman suchs and the BP oil spell in the golf of Mexico is filling with oil. Wow ! this two incidents will never amount to ilegal Immigration since history. But here you are barking at the wrong tree am just glad that 99.9 of the valley think out side the box. If anything ilegal immigration is keeping social security alive with 1.6 billion anuanlly of unclaimed taxes from ilegal immigrants. Know wonder legislaters want to keep ilegals, ilegals, thats why they never come up to bipartisan leadership. Get the pictue?

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19AtownParent(562 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

1. Yes
2. One little statistic you have found to support your theory
3.Guess they need a new police chief.
4. Looks like I'll be going to Arizona on vacation. Do you think maybe it is all those illegal aliens from LA that will not be visiting AZ? Looks like a win-win
5. Don't really care. We are overpopulated as it is.
6. Completely worth it.

This is America, speak English!

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20howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Cambridge, I agree with you there are illegals from many countries in the US, Having grown up in Silicon Valley I am personally aware of the great diversity of the Bay Area.

But the majority of the discussion and the law that inspired the letter writer that we are all posting on is primarily based on Mexican and Latin American illegals, who primarily are working in the fields, and in the hospitality industries. in states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, & Florida.

A point I raised on another thread relating to immigration was that while the Tea Party and the Republicans make a load noise about immigration reform, they never actually do anything about it, as it is big business including hospitality, agriculture, construction, and oil drilling that benefit from the illegals being here, many of the same industries are very large contributors to conservative politicians and the GOP.

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