27 Apr 2010

“Your Papers, Please!”

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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.

7 Feedbacks on "“Your Papers, Please!”"


You make very good points, and I usually agree with your posts, but i do not think that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. It hurts plenty of people around the illegals. Just as drug use often hurts the families or people around the drug user as much if not more than the user.

Victimless? Tell that to the motivated but not academic kids getting out of high school to find that illegals have taken all the local jobs that require brawn or craftmanship or routine chores rather than intellectual wattage. Or to the kids in my area who can’t get parttime work to help save up for school and gain useful job experience (because the entry level jobs go to illegals, who are cowed, and can be hired and fired at will).

There are plenty of American born jerks with a bad attitude, who are lazy, I grant you. Plenty of lazy and entitled kids and welfare scroungers. Where I work, my friends grumble to me about some of their American laborers who are lazy and unreliable. And plenty of illegals who work hard. BUT:

I’ve read studies that the family of an illegal (who pays no taxes) ends up costing US taxpayers between 40 and 45 K a year in health care and schools and other benefits. This suits the people who employ them because they don’t have to pay a living wage or give health coverage. That is left to ordinary workers like those in my family who are taxed and who are forced to pay higher fees to the local hospital (“for the uninsured”) to cover the illegals’ care.

Yes, most of our ancestors were immigrants, but most were legal ones. Who became Americans, and not hyphenated ones.

I spent formative years in Latin America (as an expat American brat, my dad working for Latin American companies in finance, and helping them organize their companies more like US ones), and we had to go thru all kinds of paperwork, register, and behave with respect for the cultures and traditions of the countries we were guests in. We were careful to speak the languages of the countries (English only at home).

Sorry to rant, but I was just in Arizona this last February looking after a sick relative, and I can sympathize with the law abiding residents there.

Having illegals is better for the corrupt leaders of their countries of origin (who have a safety valve because they don’t have to improve their country if the ambitious leave), and for unscrupulous employers who want a biddable and cheap work force subsidized by middle class citizens who pay taxes. If an illegal gets injured on the job, the employer doesn’t have to pay workman’s comp, the worker just disappears.

It doesn’t seem very American to develop a system like that of South Africa under apartheid with hordes of people doing dirty, dangerous work in the shadows, disposable people. Arguably, making them legal might force employers to treat them better? But there is no place for guest workers or for a caste system in a great country like ours.

Maggie's Farm

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Ratt Stone

Illegal Immigration is kiln us in the South, I have seen many a bricklayer, carpenter, sheetrocker, painter, roofer, ditchdigger, dozer driver, truck driver, plumber, landscapper, cook, waitress and mechanic loose their jobs to Illegal Immigration, and then come the trailor parks with 15 -20 living in a 12×40, and then comes the stealing, the wrecks they cause with no insurance, the overburdening of our Emergency Rooms, and the anchor babies. along with all their relatives. It’s not funny, nor pretty anymore. We have lost Washington State, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Colorado, S. Carolina and 1/2 of Virginia to Illegal Immigration, exactly where does it stop ? If the Federal Gov’t (which consists of our fine bought and paid for politicians) had done their jobs they took an oath to uphold rather than openly court the illegal vote and pander to big business we wouldn’t be in this fix. So, now, it’s got ugly, and a few heads are gona roll. 20 Million Illegal Immigrants is not Immigration, that’s an Invasion.


Ever try to get a hotel room in France? Documentation is required.

They happily helped exterminate jews. All Arizona does is want to send the undocumented south. There’s no Dachau or Auschwitz waiting for them is there?

John A

Um, Ellis Island was not a free-for-all, it was a point of detaining and/or refusing entry to prospective immigrants.

But yes, our immigration restrictions are outmoded if not actually repugnant. E.g. why do we have quotas related to prior place of citizenship/residence? Is a nuclear physicist from Spain always preferable to one from Lapland?


To paraphrase the late Sonny Bono:
“Congressman Bono, what do you think of illegal immigration?”
Congressman Bono: “Well, it’s illegal, isn’t it.”
‘Nuff said. May I suggest you take the dogs and try to enter Mexico without recourse to legal entry.
Btw, Sheriff Dupnik may be on the take from the drug runners. Oh, I forgot, drug use is a “victimless crime”. Oh, I forgot, bribery is a “victimless” crime.


NYM’d – You are wrong I and disagree with everything you stated in your post which is based on fuzzy wishful thinking.

I completely agree with “Retriever” – she totally nailed it and easily won the argument with facts and historical reference.
Brilliant comment Retriever!


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