Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reason prevails, as does the Constitution

A big victory for justice today when Judge Susan Bolton struck down the most offending parts of Arizona's immigration law.

I wrote about Arizona’s law back in April when it was signed, and I stand by my initial thoughts. I still feel that it is unconstitutional and bigoted; far too many are making those with brown skin a scapegoat for our national woes. (The majority of the people responsible for our problems are Morticia Addams-white.) As I wrote back then, we definitely need to work on immigration reform. I do not deny that we have a problem, and I have never denied that. But suspending our Constitution in order to focus on and go after a certain group of people is simply wrong.

In her ruling, Judge Bolton wrote:

Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked. Given the large number of people who are technically “arrested” but never booked into jail or perhaps even transported to a law enforcement facility, detention time for this category of arrestee will certainly be extended during an immigration status verification. Under Section 2(B) of S.B. 1070, all arrestees will be required to prove their immigration status to the satisfaction of state authorities, thus increasing the intrusion of police presence into the lives of legally-present aliens (and even United States citizens), who will necessarily be swept up by this requirement.

I wholeheartedly agree with that. The possibility that someone who is here legally, or a U.S. citizen, might be detained for even a few hours in jail is abhorrent to me. (That is why I am against the death penalty; even a remote chance that an innocent person is executed is too much.) I can't remember where I wrote this previously (maybe on Facebook), but imagine being in a foreign country, let's say...Turkey (I'm thinking "Midnight Express"), and being stopped by their police for some minor infraction. When they ask you for your passport, you realize that you've forgotten it in your hotel room. Because you don't have your passport with you, you get to spend a couple of days in a Turkish jail until they can contact the American embassy and sort out who you are. I suspect they might not be in a huge hurry, either. I suppose you could yell at them about how you're an American and they have no right to treat you this way. I'm guessing they wouldn't be moved by your pleas or impressed by your professed citizenship.

A nightmare scenario? Of course. And it's one we are creating in the sunny climes of Arizona for residents who aren't obviously white. (If you think that Arizona cops are going to suspect that someone with blonde hair and blue eyes is here illegally and ask them for their papers, well...that's just dumb. Yeah, those darn Canadians just keep pouring across our borders, don't they?)

Of course, we need to fix this problem, and I look forward to the Obama administration tackling it next year. In the meantime, we still need to adhere to our Constitution. C'mon, people. You know we need to do that and protect the rights of everyone within our borders. That goes for citizens as well as non-citizens. Anyone on American soil is afforded the basic rights outlined in our Constitution.

Also, here are a few things to think about, if you're gung-ho on the "ship 'em all out" philosophy.

As with anything else, please take the time to find out more about an issue, rather than seeing only black and white. There are always shades of grey, and there is always more to the story. And please, please take the time to learn and read about our Constitution rather than buying into the teabaggers' fallacies about it. They profess to love it, if not worship it...but they sure don't seem to grasp the full meaning of it. If you would like to do a little research and reading, I highly recommend Text and History, a site that writes about various constitutional matters, including the teabaggers' claims about them. It's some good reading.

7 comments:

  1. It's not over yet. The bigots want their racist law and they'll appeal all the way through the courts.

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  2. Ben Franklin's quote about 'sacrificing liberty for security' could be applied to the immigration debate as well.

    There is a industry that thrives off of fear and prejudice. The fact that there isn't any data to support any of the rights policies or reaction to the immigration issue makes me wonder if this isn't being fueled by people who stand to make a profit. Pouring gas on a fire and creating a blaze is important if you are the one who gets paid to put out fires.

    True story... I had an incident when I was in school that was analogus to the a possible worst case scenario of a legal resident being detained and held in custody.

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  3. After all this time, I am still impressed with your skill in getting to the heart of the matter and presenting the issues in such a clear and rational manner. All I have to add is, "Amen."

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  4. P.S. Thanks for the link to Text and History. I wasn't familiar with this site. Just took a quick look around and it's great!

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  5. Biggest nightmare I can imagine is how the States rights to govern themselves are being stripped away.

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  6. Beth, great post. I love the Text and History blog.

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