Rassmussen finds that a comfortable majority of Americans think this kind of thing is just fine.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last week signed a new law into effect that authorizes local police to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 60% of voters nationwide favor such a law, while 31% are opposed.
It’s true that Arizona does have serious crime problems associated with illegal border activities.
In Arizona’s case, the public safety threat obviously comes from smuggling connected to the illegal drug trade. Arizona is the unhappy victim of the confluence of two forms of irrational law making, both of which Americans commonly support and both of which Americans also commonly ignore.
We have an unfortunate tendency toward statutory overreach, and are prone to pass laws expressing moral sentiments, wishes, and aspirations which, at the same time, we have every intention of personally ignoring. That is how we got Alcohol and Drug Prohibition. That is how we got a 55 mph speed limit. And that is why we have immigration quotas that make the existence on American soil of the large pool of cheap labor we require illegal.
No one wants to see Latino gang members on the streets, and no one wants day laborer flop housing anywhere near them, but everyone wants his produce picked, his meat processed, his table bused, his lawn mowed, and every other kind of low skill labor available and affordable.
If the 21st century equivalent of Ellis Island were open and in operation, and people desiring to come to America to do work Americans need done for wages Americans can afford to pay were able to enter freely and legally, you would not have coyotes leading desperate people across the Sonoran desert over the Arizona border.
If we had intelligence enough to end our futile policy of drug prohibition, we could eliminate the enormous profits associated with trafficking and smuggling and all the warfare over drug-sales turf. There would be no drug cartels, no drug gangs, and no smugglers murdering Arizona ranchers like Robert Krentz.
It was Mr. Krentz’s shooting last month that produced the wave of indignation that caused the controversial bill to pass the Arizona legislature.
Arizona Republicans took the politically expedient course and pandered to an angry public by passing the draconian immigration bill. Making illegal immigration into a crime, like all victimless crime laws, will produce only random and selective enforcement, accompanied by increased official corruption. The new law will not cure Arizona’s crime problems, but it will poison Arizona’s, and the nation’s, politics.