Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Was Arizona justified in passing its new immigration law?

<ong>By David Sacks

The backlash against the immigration law passed in Arizona, known as SB 1070, has already begun.  Protests have been held throughout Arizona, and people are calling for a boycott of the state.  People are even petitioning Major League Baseball to move next year’s All Star Game from Arizona, with notable baseball players saying that they will not play in the game if it is held in Arizona. 

The law, which is currently described as the strictest and broadest immigration measure in recent memory, would make it a crime to not carry immigration documents and would give police the power to detain anyone who is suspected of being in the country illegally.  This law is not a well-measured response to the increasing proportion of Hispanics in America, and more specifically in border states. 

Illegal immigration is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with through bipartisanship.  President Bush tried to take up the issue and was rebuked by his own party, and as John McCain supported Bush’s attempt at immigration reform he was branded as someone who advocated “amnesty”, thereby alienating many of his supporters.  If the issue has proven one thing, it’s that trying to tackle illegal immigration is almost political suicide.  As a result, bills like this get passed, with officials in ten other states proposing similar bills regarding immigration.  ­However, this bill is not Arizona’s fault, and Arizona does not lie at the heart of this debate.  Penalizing Arizonans for this law is not the right response.  This law is part of a larger movement, and is supported by the same people who question whether Barack Obama is, in fact, American.  There were 35 members of the Arizona House who voted for this immigration law, and of those 31 also voted for a law that would require ever presidential candidate to produce birth certificates in order to be included on the state’s ballot. 

There is a backlash throughout the country as people see more Hispanics walking the streets and overhear Spanish being spoken in public places.  These people want to do all they can to hold onto a specific culture, and a specific time in American history.  Hispanics are projected to nearly triple from 45.7 million in 2008 to 132.8 million in 2050.  Its share of the total U.S. population is anticipated to double over that time from 15 to 30 percent.

What the rage both for and against this bill shows is that immigration needs to be handled – competently and by both Republicans and Democrats.  This bill in Arizona is misguided and influenced by those who refuse to come to grips with the fact that the makeup of America is changing.  Arizona might be the first time that we have seen this pent up rage emerge like it has, but it certainly won’t be the last time.  And as these instances occur, it’s important not to blame the whole state and every resident, but instead look at the underlying trends that have produced such a measure.

-David Sacks is a Carletonian columnist.

By Justin Rotman

It has been two weeks since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the nation’s most stringent bill on illegal immigration into law, and reaction from around the country has been extremely mixed and heated. Set to go into effect on July 28, 2010, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act aims to identify, prosecute, and deport illegal aliens.

Opponents have come out in numbers, the most prominent of them being President Barack Obama. Obama strongly criticized the bill even before Brewer signed it into law, calling it “misguided” and saying that it threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

For many reasons, though, but most simply because illegal immigrants cost and endanger the United States at alarming rates, Arizona got it right with this bill. Let me preface this argument noting that there is absolutely nothing wrong with legal immigration. I fully support legal immigration into the United States. When people decide to forgo the documents and laws and cross the border and live in this country illegally is when they start to cause enormous problems for Americans.

Let me start with some statistics. Illegal aliens murder 12 Americans every day and kill 13 by driving under the influence, meaning over 9,000 Americans lose their lives every year at the hands of illegal immigrants. 62 % of all “undocumented immigrants” in the U.S are working for cash and not paying taxes. Relative to Arizona, 83% of all warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens. Around 400,000 babies are born every year to illegal aliens, with 97.2% of the costs of these births paid for by American taxpayers. More than 40% of all food stamps and unemployment checks and nearly 60% of all welfare payments issued in the U.S go to illegal immigrants. Since 1996, the cost to educate the children of illegal immigrants has been $164 billion, while the cost of social services in this same time period is nearly $400 billion. The costs speak for themselves and can be measured thousands of ways. Clearly, illegal immigration has serious negative impacts on the U.S and it needs to be combated more than it is now.

Opponents also state that this law is unconstitutional and that it encourages racial profiling. As one who supports small government and has strong libertarian tendencies, I still believe that the pros outweigh any perceived cons. Critics say that this violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which gives the federal government authority over state governments in immigration matters, the law represents the doctrine of “concurrent enforcement” — that the state law parallels applicable federal law.” Many critics are irate that the law requires all migrants to carry documentation with them, yet federal law already requires this. Responding to concerns of the promotion of racial profiling, Brewer said, “We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent or social status” and said that she would soon issue an executive order that will require additional training for all officers on implementing the law without engaging in racial profiling.

Obama also has qualms with the law, and said, “If you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice-cream, you’re going to get harassed — that’s something that could potentially happen.” Perhaps Obama should have been advised about the car accident outside a Denver ice-cream shop last month, in where an illegal alien with a past criminal record was driving more than 80mph when he struck a pickup truck that careened into a Baskin-Robbins, killing three people including a three-year-old boy.

This should beg the question in all of our minds, including Obama’s: what’s more important, requiring migrants to carry papers or the security of America?

-Justin Rotman is a Carletonian columnist.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *