Carnes: Trespassers, move your AZ
It is a state law that requires me to have a driver’s license to drive my car, to register my car and to have both covered by insurance. All three require paper.
It is a state law that says, even for a middle-aged white male behind the wheel of an extremely nonpragmatic mountain vehicle, if my actions look the least bit suspicious, a representative of the state has the right to make my vehicle stop, and the first thing he or she will ask of me is to show my license, registration and proof of insurance.
If not in possession of all three, the state can immediately take my scrawny little behind straight to jail without passing “GO,” and not only will I not collect $200, but I would likely pay out much, much more.
To be perfectly clear, state law dictates that I must have proper identification in paper form, proving all sorts of things, on my person at all times unless I desire to bring all sorts of trouble my personal way.
In spite of these state-mandated requirements, I have never once felt like a Jew in 1940s Germany or a male of Middle Eastern descent boarding a plane for Chicago.
The recently approved law in Arizona, which, baring legal intervention, will take effect this summer, makes it against state law (aka, “a crime”) to be in the U.S. illegally and allows police to question anyone they suspect of being a trespasser (aka, an illegal immigrant, but I think using the word immigrant is an insult to real immigrants) by way of asking for proper identification to prove all sorts of things but, most importantly, legal status, yet some find fault with this concept.
And understand this: It is currently against federal law for any person to exist within U.S. borders illegally, and Arizona is simply attempting to reinforce existing federal law with its own state law.
Any disagreements yet?
Mexico has complained that the new state law would lend itself to racial profiling and discrimination. Pardon me, but I do believe Mexico has much bigger problems on its corrupt hands (drugs lords, kidnapping tourists for fun and profit, decapitations of police officers, daily murders of women and children, etc.) than the apparent desire to hold America up to an impossible standard of behavior that no other country possibly expects of itself.
And then there is the claim that countless legal Hispanic Americans will be stopped for no reason other than the color of their skin. To this I say board a 767 alongside half a dozen Middle Eastern-looking males and tell me that, for even half a second, you don’t wish and plead to yourself for someone – anyone – to make a subtle gesture that perhaps the guys should receive the third degree from TSA agents before boarding.
The saddest part of the entire issue, in my eyes, is not the silly claims of profiling (which has always occurred and always will, so deal with it) but that all sides of the political spectrum are finding opportunities to exploit this situation favorably in their direction for the upcoming elections.
Either way, Homeland Security claims 100,000 of these illegal trespassers have left Arizona in the two years since the state declared a crackdown, thus disabling a chunk of the underground construction, landscaping and household work economy, enabling legal residents suffering from an almost 10 percent unemployment rate to compete for those jobs.
Sorry, but that sounds pretty good to me.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.