Coming next: Apartheid, in Utah, again.

You knew it was coming, of course. First Arizona passes this really cool law that lets the police down there pick on anyone they want, for whatever reason they want so long as they can claim, somehow, that the person might, maybe, just possibly could be, here illegally, and Utah has to say “Me too! Me too!”

So we have an Orem lawmaker discussing the idea (click) because, after all the bills this last session trying to make miscarriage illegal, and global warming illegal, and the very idea of questioning the motives of anyone who wants a gun illegal, racism has to be next.

Racism? Of course. You think illegal aliens in Utah are a new thing? Silly person. Until the early 80s the majority of illegals in this country, and in Utah as well, were white skinned folk from Scandanavian countries, or European countries. They’d come, look around, say “wow, cool, and I fit right in! and stay.

But now it’s brown skinned people. Oh. My. God.

Nothing new in hating immigrants. A century ago it was the Italians and the Irish. They were the scum of the earth, the dregs of society, they were taking the jobs of good God-fearing Americans (Germans one generation removed, Brits three generations removed, French four generations removed) and, well, we need to DO something.

So now we are again.

Interesting thing, this idea that everyone has to prove their legal residency. Can you?

Don’t be too smug. I bet you can’t. Not unless you carry your passport around. And your birth certificate (not a copy, the original!) And, if birthers have their way, you’ll need a sworn and witnessed affidavit from the attending nurse and doctor who saw you get born.

And Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen makes the very good point that if Arizona (and Utah) cops really really are serious about proving that they AREN’T racial profiling based on skin color, it is us White folk who are in real danger (click.)

I can see it now: Some cop says “Yeah, I know it’s those brown skinned ones, but to keep the ACLU off my butt I had to stop to blondes, a redhead and three guys who might have been from Sweden, I dunno. Ended up arresting them all because none of them had their passports or birth certificates.”

And you’re going to say “If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about.”

You’re cute when you’re being stupid.

What’s REALLY stupid is, I used to laugh at the folk who saw black helicopters and surveillance cameras behind every tree. Who knew they were right?

Oh, what do I mean by “again” in the headline.

Ask a black person. Any black person.

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43 Responses to Coming next: Apartheid, in Utah, again.

  1. Bob Becker says:


    The potential for abuse inherent in this law is, I think, large, and Cohen is right that it won’t only be Hispanics who’ll be involved. Consider a police officer having the power to stop someone he pretends he thinks might be a Canadian here illegally, and the power to arrest the person stopped if he cannot prove, curbside, his citizenship or his legal status as a non-citizen. What I’m afraid of is that it will put into all policemen’s hands the power to stop nearly anyone and to hold them for a while at least nearly at will. It’s a general “stop and frisk” policy on steroids.

    There are excellent policemen out there doing a hell of a job. But any familiarity with the history of law enforcement in the US makes it clear that there are also policemen out there who will abuse any such general grant of power to stop, and hold nearly anyone they please on pretended grounds.

  2. Neal Humphrey says:

    I have lived as a legal alien resident of a foreign country. I was required to always carry “papers” in the form of mini-passport. Every time I changed address I was required to report to a police station and inform them of my new residence. That information was recorded in the “passport.”

    One day a policeman showed up at my home and asked me to come down to the station for questioning. At headquarters I was impressed (but perplexed) when I was put in an interview room with an agent of the Criminal Investigation Division (that country’s FBI). As it turned out the situation was caused by a policeman in a town where I used to live who accidentally wrote my US passport number in the alien register rather than the correct number. They both started with the letter “E,” so it was an understandable mistake.

    And what oppressive, benighted country did I live in where aliens were required to carry papers and keep the police informed of their residences? England.

  3. dan s. says:

    I accidentally left home without my wallet on Saturday. Didn’t really need it since I was just walking to a friend’s house. Oh–but walking is a suspicious activity in suburban neighborhoods. In fact, I’ve twice been stopped by cops just for being a pedestrian. And when I was in college I did pick up a bit of a Minnesota accent, which could be mistaken for Canadian. I’d better be more careful and carry that wallet in the future. And put my birth certificate in it, I guess. Sorry, though, I don’t have the original.

  4. O RLY says:

    So, Charlie, what is the best way for them to determine who is a lawbreaker and who is not? This is not some apparent ‘caught in the act’ crime. The only way to determine if one is an illegal immigrant is to check for their identification or paperwork (or, in their instance, lack thereof). Do you have a better solution, or should we just let them walk in a continuous breaking of the law of the land?

  5. an old, old man says:

    He’s coming! Big Brother!

    How about this one? My son-in-law just found a job. A real job, with real pay and HEALTH INSURANCE!

    But in order to qualify for insurance, my daughter (his wife), has to provide the company with an ORIGINAL copy of her birth certificate. We’ve searched high and low, but after a bunch of family moves from one state to another and possible carelessness by her parents, we can’t find it anywhere. Why do they need the original copy? It should have a raised stamp of some kind on it.

    And why do they need the ORIGINAL? It has something to do with HOMELAND SECURITY and the PATRIOT ACT. I think I smell a Bush in there somewhere. Or is it a Rove or a Cheney?

    In any event, she’s in trouble.

    So are all the rest of us if this is the way things are headed. Where’s a Tea Bagger when you need one to keep the Government off our necks?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot. They think this is okay — it’s just those pesky taxes they’re fighting.

  6. Jeeze! says:

    Hey old man -
    When you and Chuck are done teabagging each other see if you can remember where your daughter (Probably the mailman’s daughter anyway) was born.

    Then get on line and request a duplicate certificate from the county of record. It will come with a raised seal and everything for you to admire.

  7. Bob Becker says:


    The law, as I understand it, does not simply require that resident aliens show evidence of legal residence on specific occasions — for example, when changing addresses, or when they deal with a government agency, or when they’re involved [as you were] with law enforcement. It gives police the authority to stop anyone they please, on suspicion of not being legal. The people stopped do not have to be engaged in suspicious activities or a possible crime. They can be stopped while going shopping for presumably having an accent and not looking ‘Merkin. That’s the problem. If the US wants to require all visitors/resident aliens to surrender passports every time they check into a hotel, or to produce papers when they come in contact with a government agency, that would be one thing [provided we're also willing to pony up the money necessary to create and track the documents]. It’s the general nature and loose trigger mechanism of the “stand and deliver” powers granted the police in the AZ law that is the main problem, for my POV.

  8. Neal Humphrey says:

    The suspicious activity I was engaged in when I was picked up by the constable was eating breakfast.

    We were also told that British law required us to “stand and deliver” our papers whenever a constable asked for them. There was no probable cause for us except our Yank accents (profiling).

    And we were successfully tracked in that era (over 40 years ago) with a paper file system, no computers.

  9. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Good post, Charlie. Cohen’s column was fascinating. This line is chilling in various ways: “This is the Anglos’ last stand.”

    Some of us white folk probably won’t do well as a minority.

  10. ctrentelman says:

    Actually, according to some, a raised seal isn’t good enough. It must be the original birth certificate, the one permanently on file, a copy is not good enough.

    Says who? Says everyone who questions the copy of President Obama’s birth certificate that his campaign showed people — the one with the signature of a Hawaiian vital statistics official on the back, the one with the raised seal, on official paper, signed sealed and delivered.

    If someone wants to make it impossible for you to prove something, they will, bet on it.

  11. an old, old man says:

    Hey, Jeeeze. Just wait. Your time is coming. The Black Helicopters are out there.

  12. Bob Becker says:


    You were asked to come in, Neal, not because you were stopped at random on the street because a Bobby thought you “looked foreign.” You were asked to come in to answer questions because a discrepancy turned up in your records. Merely an entry error and not your fault as you note, but it hardly adds up to a random stop on the street because a policeman thought you might be there illegally.

    And England does not have the record, in country, of legal racial discrimination and harassment [particularly in the modern south regarding blacks and the modern southwest regarding Hispanics] that the US does — though its treatment of South Asians recently is closing the gap some. Given that history , it seems highly likely that such a general grant of authority to police will lead to abuse, much of it involving American citizens. We have a habit in this country in moments of panic of throwing the baby out with the bathwater in the name of achieving instant security. [See, e.g. the falsely name "Patriot Act" and both the Bush and Obama administration's defense or warrant less wiretaps, detention without trail for years for those merely suspected of terrorism, etc. ] The AZ seems to me something similar. In the name of a good thing [immigration control], doing a bad thing [tossing American liberties over the side.\

    England does much in re: civil liberties that government can not do here because our government’s actions are restrained by the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment. And happily so. So how they handle this in England isn’t necessarily an argument for handling matters the same way here.

  13. Michael Trujillo says:

    The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Funny how these conservative types love to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they want followed to the letter (The 1st and 2nd) and which parts they want to circumvent (the 4th and 6th).

    Basically, if a police officer stops you and asks about your citizenship, all you have to say is “I’m an American citizen” and they have to take your word for it. You do not have to prove your citizenship. The Founding Fathers were very adamant about not having to carry papers around. It seems they’d developed a distaste for it as …(Neal, pay attention)… British citizens.

  14. Bob Becker says:


    I think, though, that you are required to carry identification and produce it if an officer requests it. I think that’s current law in many states if not all. Happy to be corrected if I’ve got that wrong. [Note: ID, not proof of current citizenship..]

  15. ctrentelman says:

    I kind of always thought that the essence of being “free” was that I could stand out on the street corner, or take a walk around the block, bothering nobody, doing nothing, and not be hassled, and certainly not be required to prove who I was to anyone.

    Are we not free?

    It is amazing that Ronny Rayguns said “someday our children will ask us “what was it like when Americans were free?”" and he was talking about Medicare, not this sort of idiocy.

  16. Michael Trujillo says:

    Yes, Bob, I always carry my ID. And I’ll gladly give it to a police officer if he asks nicely. But your ID doesn’t prove citizenship, and we’re not required to be able to prove citizenship when we’re walking around.

    Basically, the same people who argue that anyone should be able to sport a holstered firearm without needing to prove proficiency or licensing, are saying that everyone should be able to prove their citizenship immediately when asked?

    Seems silly to me.

    Heck, if this Arizona law stands, (which I doubt it won’t), I’m going to push for legislation specifying that everyone has to carry around their DD-214 proving they’re honorably discharged veterans. And that honorably discharged veterans get priority seating in restaurants, entertainment venues, the DMV, and at the Doctor’s office. Any idiot can get born in the U.S. It takes a concious decision to serve your country.

  17. Michael Trujillo says:

    Correction: … if this Arizona law stands, (which I doubt it will), I’m going to push for legislation …

  18. Owain says:

    ” It gives police the authority to stop anyone they please, on suspicion of not being legal. The people stopped do not have to be engaged in suspicious activities or a possible crime.”

    This is incorrect. The AZ law states that the police have to have stopped the person for what would otherwise have been a legal reason to do so, such as a traffic violation, or some other violation of the law.

  19. Owain says:

    Trentleman: “Nothing new in hating immigrants.”

    From what I’ve read, the AZ law is not anti-immigrant. It is anit illegal immigrant. There is a difference.

  20. Owain says:

    Trentleman: “Interesting thing, this idea that everyone has to prove their legal residency. Can you?”

    Interesting things happen when you actually read the text of the law you are bloviating on instead of just pulling stuff out of your nether regions.

    The Arizona law reads (

    A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

    1. A valid Arizona driver license.

    2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.

    3. A tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.

    4. A valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification.

    Doesn’t sound so tough to me. Sure helps when you know what you are talking about.

  21. Al says:

    Owain wrote, “The AZ law states that the police have to have stopped the person for what would otherwise have been a legal reason to do so, such as a traffic violation, or some other violation of the law.”

    No. The law states that the contact must be part of a legal encounter. This includes taking statements from witnesses to accidents or crimes, or crime victims, just for example, and this is precisely why the state association of chiefs of police think it’s a bad idea. Police officers need to have relationships with their communities that are not based on fear — irrespective of actual immigration status.

    Regarding your response to Charles: I don’t think you’ve spoken to his point. All those documents are proof of residency, exactly as he noted. The issue is not that one has verification of residency, but the idea that one can be arbitrarily demanded to show it. So what reasonable suspicion of llegal status, aside from race, does an AZ officer conceivably have, on which to predicate that demand in the course of a lawful encounter? It’s fundamental to the application of the law — not a side effect– that legal residents — be they ctizens or otherwise — *will* be subject to police interrogation and detainment solely because of their race.

  22. Owain says:

    Al said, “The issue is not that one has verification of residency, but the idea that one can be arbitrarily demanded to show it. ”

    Words have meaning, you know. The law specifies that “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien”. You can bet that every instance where someone is required to present proof of legal residency will be challenged in court, so I’m sure that the police will be well trained to invoke the law carefully. There will be nothing arbitary about it. If not, then they will deserve to be rebuked in the courts.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion (a suspicion that will hold up in court, nothing arbitrary) that someone has broken the law (i.e. someone who is in the country illegally), I figure it’s his duty to investigate that.

    To take your example, say a police officer is questioning witnesses to an unrelated crime, and he talks to someone and develops a reasonable suspicion that the person is wanted on an outstanding warrant for armed robbery. He should take steps to verify if that suspicion is correct. Same thing with respect to immigration violations.

    As far as the race factor goes, that is unavoidable. Arizona is not being overun by swarms of Norwegians. Last year, they detained 900,000 illegals of hispanic descent. How are the people of Arizona supposed to handle this otherwise? This is like if the main suspect in a convenience store robbery is oriental, for example, but out of misplaced political correctness, you forbid the police from telling officers that fact, so if they had a crowd of 100 people in a cordoned off area, and only one person in that crown was oriental, they wouldn’t know to ignore all the other people who couldn’t have committed the crime and concentrate on the most likely suspect. It doesn’t make sense.

    Sherriff Joe Arpio of Maricopa County gave an interview describing the most likely scenario where the law would be applied. If he stops a vehicle driven by someone who cannot speak English, has no drivers license, registration, or any other form of identification, and the vehicle is packed with 10 other people, none of whom speak English or have ID, and they are near an area of the border known for smuggling illegals, that provides him with a reasonable suspicion that the people in question might be illegal, and further steps to verify their status are justified. If it turns out everyone is legal, no harm done beyond minor inconvienience, and everyone goes their way. Otherwise, they get sent back to Mexico.

    I face worse scrutiny than that every time I board an airplane, but I don’t mind, because the precaution is justified.

    With the problems Arizona faces with their border, they are justified as well.

  23. Owain says:

    In late breaking news, here is a New York Times editorial written by University of Missouri at Kansas law professor Kris Kobach. He sheds some light on the subject.

  24. Pat says:

    Quite possibly if employers would follow the rules of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act when they are hiring, illegals would be weeded out and not worked illegally working in this country. There ARE rules and regulations governing aliens. To merely stop someone because of their skin color, to me, is a violation of their civil rights. But how the problem is going to be resolved???

  25. Owain says:

    Again, before anyone can be questioned regarding their immigration status, FIRST there has to be some form of prior legal contact, so the police can’t just arbitrarily approach someone. SECOND, the officer has to have a REASONABLE SUSPICION about immigration status that would hold up in court, such as the example Sherrif Arpio gave that I mentioned above, so it’s not just dependant on skin color.

  26. Al says:

    > Words have meaning, you know.

    I quite understand. For someone who keeps insisting that people do not understand, you keep repeating things that don’t make any sense.

    > You can bet that every instance where someone is required to present proof of legal residency will be challenged in court, so I’m sure that the police will be well trained to invoke the law carefully. There will be nothing arbitary about it.

    I am sure that they will be well trained. Oh, look, Prof. Kris Kobach, whom you cite approvingly, is not only one of the law’s authors, but has landed a nice contract training officers how to enforce it! A true disinterested legal scholar, he is.

    > I don’t know about you, but if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion (a suspicion that will hold up in court, nothing arbitrary) that someone has broken the law (i.e. someone who is in the country illegally), I figure it’s his duty to investigate that.

    Sure. The problem with this law is that it explicitly — and you acknowledge this in every scenario you discuss, e.g. by noting that ” Arizona is not being overun by swarms of Norwegians” — puts one racial group in scope of suspicion and excludes others. But that’s not all: It explicitly, and by design of that racial scope, will mean that citizens — not solely aliens, legal or otherwise — who simply appear to be vaguely Hispanic (or, per Brian Bilbray (R-CA), can be identified by their shoes), will be subject to the demand to prove their legal status. There is simply no practical way for this law to be enacted that does not incur that result.

    > This is like if the main suspect in a convenience store robbery is oriental, for example, but out of misplaced political correctness, you forbid the police from telling officers that fact …

    Your case doesn’t remotely represent the Arizona situation. In the case you posit, the police have an actual description of an actual person who committed a known crime; in the situation created by the Arizona law, you have a general population of people who are presumed to be potential criminals because they look like they belong to a (potentially other, different) population in which crime is sometimes committed. As you acknowledge, race is the first reason to apply closer scrutiny to someone whom a law enforcement official encounters, because they certainly have no reason to look twice at the blue-eyed Nordic types. So, put succinctly, the case you imagined involves a known crime and identifiable suspect; the Arizona law presumes that if there is an identifiable suspect (i.e. Hispanic or Hispanic-looking), then there might be a crime.

  27. Hyrum says:

    Is anyone against people that are in this country legally? I would be willing to show my drivers license or passport to any law enforcement agency and I’m a minority. I’m not mormon. United States has no issues with legal people being here. They’re legal. If your legal you should be happy to show your credentials. Why would you not? You enjoy a free country, aside from the illegals and their families that harbor them… of ANY illegal regardless of race, color, religion, or NATIONAL ORIGIN. We are an equal opportunity country. Illegals have the same opportunity as others in other countries that wish to make their home the great USA. Stand in line like they do and quit jumping in front of them. It’s ILLEGAL!!! I fully support any law that can keep illegals illegal where the goal is to keep them in line. If they don’t want to wait then try a different country.

  28. Owain says:

    Re: Al’s comments.

    Sigh, this is going to take a while.

    “Prof. Kris Kobach, whom you cite approvingly, is not only one of the law’s authors, but has landed a nice contract training officers how to enforce it!”

    Yes. I did cite him approvingly, precisely becasue he is one of the laws authors, and thus is well acquanted with it’s provisions and with the thinking that went into the creation of the law, as opposed to most commentaters who have neither read it , nor understood it. That is a point in his favor, not a detriment. I presume you read the editorial I linked. If you think he is off base in the information he provided, debate that. Don’t just puff up and sputter.

    “The problem with this law is that it explicitly … puts one racial group in scope of suspicion and excludes others.”

    Since the law is being broken almost exclusively by those of hispanic descent, it is unavoidable that the focus of this law is being directed towards hispanics. People of other ethnicities are not at fault here. There is no need to suspect any other group. Hispanids are the ones at fault. As such, perhaps everyone else should hold the hispanic community accountable for the misdeeds being committed instead of trying to demonize Arizona lawmakers for recognizing the blindingly obvious, and trying to do something to correct it.

    If Utah were being overun by an influx of illegal Welshmen, I would certainly not take offense if an official asked me for ID so that I could establish that not only am I not part of the problem, but I want to be part of the solution.

    “the Arizona law presumes that if there is an identifiable suspect (i.e. Hispanic or Hispanic-looking), then there might be a crime”

    Negative. As I have already stated several times, first there has to be legal contact with an individual. Just being hispanic or hispanic looking doesn’t cut it. SECOND, there has to be a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. Again, just being hispanic or hispanic looking is insufficient, and any police officer who tried to pull that would be up a creek in short order.

    So, anyone in legal contact with the police is likely to be asked for ID, regardless of ethnicity. Have ID? The process stops right there, because the Arizona laws states that valid ID provides an automatic assumption of legal residence. I always carry multiple forms of identification, as I figure that is one of my responsibilities as a citizen. As a citizen, I have rights, for sure. I also have responsibilities, but for some reason people don’t like to talk about the R word.

    Don’t have an ID? Can’t speak english? Don’t have any established residence? I think that would provide a reasonable suspicion that perhaps you might not be in the country legally, hispanic or Norwegian. Fine, allow the person additional time and opportunity to establish that they are legal residents. That is not a great deal different if than if I get pulled over for speeding. If I forgot my wallet, or if I don’t have registration or proof of insurance, I’m going to be held for further investigation.

    In this way, the Arizona law is more restrictive than the Federal law. Under Federal law, there is no requirement that there has to be a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. That really makes sense. If you are stopped for what is otherwise an instance of legal contact and are required to present identification, the act of establishing a persons identity will likely reveal immigration status as well.

    Will the law result in increased scrutiny of hispanics? Yes, because in Arizona, hispanics are the ones breaking the law. If we wish to enforce the law, explain to me how that is possible if the police are not permitted to pursue reasonable suspicions regarding those who are breaking the laws?

  29. wreddyornot says:


    You seem quite savvy. In Utah from 2004 to 2008, the number of undocumented immigrants increased 57 percent. During that time, undocumented state prisoners increased 10 percent. So it appears undocumented immigrants here were just as law-abiding as citizens were, maybe more so. Do you know these statistics in Arizona?

    Speaking of the “r” word and no one wanting “to talk about it,” I do, since you brought it up. I’d like to know what moral responsibility you took and now take for all the years the United States government, including state governments generally, including Arizona, ignored the immigration problem because things were so rosy and the immigrants — whether here legally or not — contributed to nicely to our economy, thereby enticing them to come here at great risk to serve a role similar to that of a slave (e.g. they had no vote, no say, have to lay low, generally have to work for peanuts, can’t, for the most part, contest maltreatment). So we have these people coming, families here for years and years, trying to be Americans, even if they have to live a life the entails a kind of new age slavery.

    What did you do about your responsibility as a moral agent then? Or don’t you consider yourself a moral agent with responsibility for your fellow human beings?

  30. Owain says:

    I will be the first to agree that the immigrations laws should be addressed, but that doesn’t mean carte blanche for people to break the laws.

    Personally, I am for tall fences and wide gates. Legal immigrations takes place through the gates for people who follow the rules and obey the laws. Those who arrive illegally should be subject to the laws and pay the penalties imposed by those laws. I have the same rules in my own house. I invite people to come in through the door, and they are welcome. Those who break the glass and climb through the window uninvited, they would receive different treatment.

    I accept my responsibility as a citizen to ask that the laws passed by duly elected representatives are obeyed. I expect my fellow human beings to respect our laws, and abide by them. Those who fail to do so, should not expect favorable treatment.

  31. wreddyornot says:

    It isn’t easy addressing responsibility, is it? I presume that’s why you didn’t directly answer my question relative to your responsibility in not seeing to it that our government enforced its immigration laws and our representatives in government enacted what laws were necessary to protect our borders and to control immigration. But we, individually and collectively, caused the problem. We, individually and collectively, enjoyed the benefits of these people coming here, working in conditions tantamount to slavery, bolstering our economy and, for the most part, living as good modern-day slaves. They came willingly, expecting that the conditions of life here were better than those they had back home or planning just to stay a while and then return.

    So isn’t the problem more nuanced than you are suggesting? Can states like Arizona now transplant the federal government’s responsibility in enforcing immigration law with new laws that were not even in effect when these families and individuals came to the United States seeking for a better way of life based upon a wink and a nod that we gave them as a nation as they came here?

    Now you and others like you want to get tough on them, and not allow a sensible way for them to get out of a bind we helped put them in? They have been here, many of them for many years, working and contributing to our society. What kind of human beings are we if that is where we are? We, in essence, invited them into our house and then let them stay here for a long time, working and living under the most difficult of circumstances in our own house. We didn’t have good locks on our house and they didn’t break the windows to get in because we left the windows open and and willed them in. They did our dirty work, our hard work, the work that was beneath us. When life was good, we winked and nodded. When, because of our neglect of other laws and regulations controlling the financial markets, our financial situation as a nation changed and people began losing jobs left and right, we started doing inane and stupid things, like enacting Arizona’s laws.

    So, tell me, what is your responsibility in the wrongs of the past? What is our responsibility for our collective wrongs of the past? You want to punish these people who, obviously are undocumented. Fine. I’m for that. All I’m asking is that you accept some degree of humanity and responsibility on behalf of your country and what it did.

  32. Owain says:

    I don’t see that I have ignored anything. My opinion on illegal immigration has remained unchanged for several decades now. I have always felt that our elected officials have failed to properly enforce the laws on the books, which has prompted me to write to them frequently to express my displeasure, and to vote accordingly at every opportunity for those he say they will enforce the laws, but seldom do. What else can I do, legally? Taking up a sniper position at known border crossings is frowned upon.

    Can states ‘transplant’ federal responsibility? That doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but if you mean can the states in general, and in this case, the Arizona in particular assume that responsibility themselves, most certainly they may, particularly since the federal government is lax in their own enforcement. There is nothing to prevent Arizona from enforcing US law, and in fact they have an obligation to do so. What they have done is to authorize their officers to establish whether someone is in the country legally or not. If not, they are detained and turned over to the federal imigration service. Not exactly radical stuff.

    If you were truly concerned for the plight of the illegals, you’d discourage illegal immigration as well, and support legal immigration as I do. Legal immigrants are not subject to the exploitation and victimization you describe, and thus would be far better off than otherwise.

    The problem with illegal immigrants is that those who enter the country illegally have already demonstrated they do not respect the law. As a result, they already have a mindset that they didn’t need to obey our laws to get here, so it’s not a big deal if they don’t obey the law now that they are here. Obviously, this is not true in all cases, but it is true in many, many cases. Here is some interesting reading:

    So, legal immigration affords us the opportunity to welcome those who would be good citizens, or even guest workers if they didn’t want to go the citizenship route, while excluding those with known criminal records and such. Without proper enforcement, however, there is no control, and you get the good along with the bad, and along with the truly evil.

    But don’t try to shovel responsibilty for the past errors of others on to me. That isn’t an argument. And for your information, I have no responsibility for the wrong doings or misdeeds of others, so bite me. Either the laws should be enforced or they should not. If they should not, then our lawmakers should change or repeal them. As long as they are on the books, they should be enforced, and it is the RESPONSIBILITY of every US citizen to see that they are enforced.

    The fact that you are starting to go all bleeding heart on me here must be that you realize you have no other valid argument, and so must make an appeal to emotion. Support your case logically, under the law, or give it up. Your tortured feelings of guilt have no standing otherwise.

  33. wreddyornot says:

    Well, you may have no personal culpability if you did everything you thought you should. I’m certainly not here to judge but to question and explore. And I admit that reasonable people do often disagree about important issues, like on immigration. The fact remains that the U.S. created this problem, not the people who were fleeing worse circumstances where they came from than here where they are treated like semi-slaves, which has exacerbated the dilemma. And the U.S. is nothing more than a collection of diverse people anyway who took the land from the natives who were here to begin with. With regard to transplanting federal responsibility, surely as savvy as you are, you know the constitutional challenges that the new Arizona law faces.

    We’ll see how well the Arizona law holds up in court.

    By the way, by the same sort of rationale as yours — which I think is flawed — it seems that Arizona ought to protect its own borders, including its southern one, which is contiguous with the U.S. national border. The others, as well. Is it? Well, are you advocating for that, too?

    You have made a false assumption. I am for discouraging undocumented immigration, and I always have been, though possibly not in the same way as you. Do you understand the word nuance? Your rhetoric has you posed at the border with a rifle to kill the weak and feeble, if you could. However, having compassion and having the rule of law are never mutually exclusive. The best laws incorporate compassion and responsibility.

    I refuse to believe anyone as knowledgeable as you can’t see the flaw in saying that undocumented immigrants don’t respect the law, as if the law was of one whole piece. The law, per se, encompasses more than just one law. As cited previously, such folks in Utah are no more prone to breaking the laws than anyone else is, as a collective group. There are unjust laws and unjust men. Over against what many immigrants who come without documentation face as to survival and in pursuit of the inalienable right of happiness, the law they broke coming here is unjust, in particular with respect to our history of not enforcing the borders and the law, which I previously mentioned with respect to U.S. failures to secure borders and implement immigration law and policy. A nod and wink and come on in and be our new-age slaves.

    Relative to really bad criminals: we grow our own in abundance, unfortunately. I’m not defending any bad criminals, e.g. those engaged in gross violence, murder, rape, human trafficking, and the like. Legal or illegal immigrants. Lock them up and make them pay.

    Whether you like it or not, we as citizens all share the responsibility for the past errors of the U.S. Just like the German people, collectively and individually, bore the brunt of the Hitler-Nazi holocaust, even if a particular individual opposed it, we bear this dilemma and burden. You may face no outright personal sanction or recrimination, but don’t kid yourself. We will collectively suffer the consequences of our insensitivity and lack of fortitude. I agree that the laws should be enforced. The fact remains: they weren’t and aren’t. We must deal with it.

    The Immigration Policy Center ( has a fact sheet which shows the decrease in Arizona crime rates over time. It indicates that states with high immigration have the lowest crime rates and that unauthorized immigration is not associated with higher crime rates.

    So, in the end, capable as you are, you revert to an attempt at a personal attack, suggesting I am a bleeding heart and that having one would be something evil or wrong. I’d rather have a bleeding heart than no heart at all. And sophisticates know, anyway, you can’t divorce rationality from emotion.

  34. Owain says:

    “By ” By the way, by the same sort of rationale as yours — which I think is flawed — it seems that Arizona ought to protect its own borders, including its southern one, which is contiguous with the U.S. national border. The others, as well. Is it? Well, are you advocating for that, too?”

    If hundreds of thousands of citizens of Utah were streaming across the border into Arizona, smuggling drugs, kidnapping Arizona residents, murdering Arizona residents, and all the other things that can be attributed to the illegal immigrants they are getting from Mexico, don’t you think that would deserve a strong response? So yes, once Utah inflicts as much grief on Arizona as illegals have caused, I would fully expect that Arizona law enforcement would start monitoring their northern border for looking for verified lawbreakers.

    I agree that Arizona has been seeing dropping crime rates, but I suspect that is most likely due to people like Maricopa County Sherrif Joe Arpio, who catches criminals so fast that they don’t have enough prisons to hold everyone, so he built a tent city out in the desert to handle the overflow. It’s very effective, too. Once you’ve been a guest of Sherrif Arpio in the Arizona summer in an unconditioned tent, you are not eager for a return visit. Maybe the the large number of illegals he apprehended last year helped drop the crime rate as well.

    If you think the ACLU should go with the legal approach, “This law makes baby Jesus cry”, well I guess you can brag that they heard it here from you first. I don’t know how effective it will be in a court of law, but it will afford them the element of surprise. Certainly, no one will see THAT coming.

    “However, having compassion and having the rule of law are never mutually exclusive.”

    I think this is what is known as a ‘non sequiter’. (For those keeping score at home, that means that logically, the argument is invalid).

    I think the questions to be addressed are,
    1. Is Arizona justified in seeking to protect it’s citizens, financially, economically, and physically, by enforcing existing US imigration laws. I’d say yes.
    2. Is the Arizona law, as written, valid? Is it legal? According to my reading, I’d say yes, for what that is worth. If you disagree, which provisions of the law are not legal? Why are they not legal?

    There are plenty of laws I am not happy with, but until they are changed or revoked, those are the laws we live by. That is the blessing and the curse of our form of government. Emotion is fine an dandy, but it makes a piss poor legal argument, and we are discussing the validity of the law, not the morality of the law (at least as far as I am concerned).

  35. wreddyornot says:

    You ignore facts.

    Your first paragraph suppositions are not based on any facts. It is supposition through and through and it does not correlate to the facts relative to immigration from Mexico into Arizona. First of all, how do you know how many immigrants are crossing the border into Arizona? And over what time period? And how do you know they don’t just keep on moving on into other states?

    You don’t.

    You don’t know any of this.

    Second, how do you know how many of those doing so (crossing) are involved in the gross criminality that you suggest? I’ve quoted statistics and cited places where you can find actual numbers for Arizona related to crime. The numbers consistently show undocumenteds are no more involved in serious crime than citizens are. The fact of the matter is that Arizona citizens do migrate — I don’t know if they “stream” or not, but neither do you know that about undocumenteds — to Utah, including those who smuggle drugs here, end up kidnapping Utahans, and murdering Utah residents. It’s quite unusual, but so is it unusual for someone crossing from Mexico into Arizona and doing those things. And some of the same dynamic is true of Utahans going to Arizona, also. Speaking of non sequiturs — you misspelled the word, incidentally — your argument defines one. Arizona citizens have inflicted on Utahans as much woe as undocumenteds have on Arizona.

    Regards Joe Arpaio. Supposition again. I suppose you err. And if Joe Arpaio is such a hero for you, you should spell his name right. He’s not a hero, but looks like a bigot.

    You are naive about litigation and legal challenges, thinking it’s just the ACLU that disagrees or that those who bring cases will make silly arguments.

    You misspell non sequitur, then say you think my statement was one, and then you presume those at home are so ignorant that you need to tell them what non sequitur is? Give us a break. It’s easy for you to use such rhetoric instead of being engaging in your argumentation.

    Immigration is the purview of the federal government not the states. Not Arizona for certain. Wait and see. The law is unconstitutional. You can read the breaking news and filings on this as well as I can. I hear you and agree on holding to the law even when unhappy with it. However, I hold in high esteem those who stand up and defy unjust laws. People like Rosa Parks, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King (I’d add some names common and held in esteem by many locally relative to polygamy, but I detest polygamy and think they were on the wrong side relative to its practice) to name some of the most notable. When we’re speaking of laws, in order to know which are unjust (or just) a good dose of morality is essential, and it includes the notion of love.

  36. Scott Garrett says:

    The reason the hispanics are targetd so much as opposed to the Scandanavians is because the increased crime rate they are bringing with them, as well as the drug trafficking. It isn’t a race thing, it’s a crime thing. If you took the time to do some research and look at FBI, ATF and other government reports, the crime rates are increasing with the illegal hispanic increase. People are jsut looking at the very basics, skin color and what the government is doing. They aren’t taking the time to look at the reasons the government is doing what they are doing. Their are plenty of illegal immigrants from war torn African Countries, but the government doesn’t go after them because they are not causing many problems, unlike the drug runners from south of the boarder. Stop trying to say it’s a racial thing. Do some research, get educated and stop making yourself like stupid. I love how closed minded Utah residents can be.

  37. Scott Garrett says:

    weddyornot, I want to say that I am glad somebody else on here actually understands what is going on. Thank you for your input, I hate being the only person that atcually posts facts on these topics.

  38. Michael Trujillo says:

    Scott Garret and any others using the specious “crime” excuse for the AZ law:

    All immigrants bring some bad elements which cause crime. The Italians brought the Mafia, the Russians and Soviet Bloc countries brought hardened criminals, the Asians have brought crime with them. It’s the nature of the movement of people from one country to another that low-lifes travel side-by-side with those who are bringing an honorable work ethic to the U.S.

    And, though we were certainly bigoted and passed some stupid laws as a result of these previous waves of immigration from other countires, you’d think we’d learn our lesson as a Nation and realize that they don’t work. They’re merely knee-jerk, feel-good reactions that do nothing but bring us one step closer to a totalitarian government. They usually get reversed later.

    Once immigrants assimilate (and they ALL do), they cause no more or less crime than people with other cultural backgrounds. I’m sure you don’t get nervous in 2010 about an Irish or Italian family moving in next door.

    The crime everyone’s crying about is the result of the failed war on drugs. Our Southern border is a supply route for America’s voracious appetite for drugs. This crime would exist with or without the immigration issue. You’re getting two problems mixed together and using tactics against one in order to try to have an affect on the to other. Hey, I know, let’s put speed bumps on the Interstate to solve the problem of drivers exceeding the 65 mph speed limit.

    Lastly, this “law” is supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to identify gang members, who are causing the crime that has you all scared about. Well, let’s see. Arizona has a lot of Hells Angels living there. The Hells Angels are allegedly involved in drug trafficing and other types of crime. They wear jackets that say “Hell Angels Motorcycle Club” in big letters on the back, and the police haven’t been able to stop their criminal activities. They know who they are and they can’t stop them. So, tell me again, how is stopping a pick-up with a burned out tail light and asking the driver for “papers” going to help cops better “identify” the couple of thousand hard core criminals amongst the touted 460,000 illegal immigrants and God-knows-how-many legal citizens?

  39. Joan says:

    I listened to KSL’s Nadine Wimmer and reading advocate Barbara Smith explain the importance of reading and Deseret Media Company’s new literacy campaign. Though I don’t necessarily agree with their reasoning, I don’t have a better answer. With Arizona’s immigration law, I find it interesting that so many adults could benefit from their campaign as far as reading the law instead of prophesying and laughing about it. If we don’t want to enforce immigration law, get rid of it. Allow anyone to come in anytime they want. I am sure there are plenty of Iranians, Iraqis, Chinese, Russians, etc that would love to live here at their discretion. If we want immigration law to preserve our life style and freedoms, we should enforce these laws. It appears that many people would rather just laugh and make fun of any attempt to enforce the law rather than providing solutions that might work. The only Racism here is to specifically invite illegal immigration of Hispanics.

  40. Owain says:

    Looking at the news this morning, what did I find? A story about a suspected illegal immigrant shooting a sherrif’s deputy with an AK-47 assault rifle.

    I guess the deputy didn’t include “the notion of love” when he attempted to apprehend the suspects. I’m sure that if asked, the deputy would agree that all this talk about illegals being the source of increased crime in Arizona is just crazy racist talk.

    Nope, no need to attempt to control illegal immigration here…

  41. Owain says:

    Oh, and from the article, it would seem that the officers definately had a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the suspects were in the country illegally, just so nobody gets their panties in a knot that racial profiling was involved.

  42. Owain says:

    Good news. Dirt bags apprehended.

    This news clip provided as a public service to inform libs that, yes, Arizona does indeed have a problem with increased crime due to illegals coming across the border.

  43. Owain says:

    A further public service link. The Arizona law has been tweaked to address complaints that have been raised:

    The most significant change, in my opinion:

    “Another change replaces the phrase “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest” to apparently clarify that officers don’t need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.”

    This seems to be a good addition, and address the concern above that the law would apply to mere witnesses of a crime, and similar benign circumstances.

    So now that the law specifically targets only illegal immigrants who have been stopped as the result of a separate crime, and thus probably aren’t role models for ‘citizen of the year’, if there is a ‘reasonable suspision’ that they are in the country illegally, is it ok for Arizona to verify immigration status so at least we can get rid of the actual criminals, or is THAT too much to ask?

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