The Root of the Arizona Immigration Debate

I have parted company with one of my economist heroes, Professor Don Boudreaux, on the topic of illegal immigration. The issue here is not economics, but the rule of law.

The rule of law is the foundation of all organized civilized reciprocity among people with differing interests. In this case immigration law, as designed by legislatures responding to generations of Americans and their desire to protect their property (the United States of America) in the manner they see fit, emphasizes that some people have a right to the benefits of the property and some do not.

This is no different than you believing the sad person on the street corner who clearly could benefit from the resources of your personal property, your house, your computer, your bank account, and who clearly could also theoretically benefit your family by their proper use, should none the less not be given access to your home even though several of your children may object.

Now think of it. Is there not room in your home you do not use on a daily basis, perhaps attic space or a cellar? Do you have a vacation home you only seldom use? Do you not have equity tied up in valuables that could be put to economic use by the person on the street? OF COURSE YOU DO! So what gives you the right to choose to withold these values from the person on the street whose situation at home has left them so economically compromised?

The Rule of Law, that's what. One of the fundamentals of this principle is respect for property, not merely personal equity, but the equity of groups such as corporations and the respect for the equity of nations as well. A direct link exists between this respect for property, equity, and law and the wealth of nations, of regions, of cities, and of neighborhoods. Those who can husband and protect their property and will respect the right of others to do the same fare better materially and socially. They have stronger societies built on trust, not force. They are freer. They accomplish more. They are more generous.

This new state law merely gives peace officers in Arizona clear powers to enforce already existing federal law, law put in place, and jealously guarded by the American people. We are saying to enforce the law. Period. That is the proper way to deal with laws both good and bad. If the law really is bad enforcement will cause us pain and we will cry out as a people to have it changed.

I believe in the new law, and I believe in the property right theory of citizenship I've espoused above. If you disagree enforce the law and prove me wrong.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at May 1, 2010 9:22 AM
Comment #299902

Laws are made by people and change with time. What were the laws when you or your family came to the US?

The immigration laws need to change. We will have been and always be a nation of immigrants. Coming to the US and becoming an American citizen should be extremely easy, and while it is not within our capabilities to guarantee success for all newcomers, we can offer the opportunity, if not for this generation, then perhaps the next one. Immigrants can and should be encouraged to come here, and welcomed, and laws need to make easy and open immigration and citizenship available. Now.

Posted by: phx8 at May 1, 2010 11:07 AM
Comment #299906


that all depends on what you believe our immigration laws are designed to do. if you believe they are there to protect the integrity of our country for both social, and economic reasons, then making it extremely easy to enter makes little sense. regardless, lee makes a good point, if we are going make laws we need to enforce them, and if not repeal them. also you have to consider that we cannot afford to take in an endless stream of nonskilled immigrants who will need to rely on our social saftey net. to do so is a fiscal diaster waiting to happen. many states have discovered this already. my former state california is a prime example.

Posted by: dbs at May 1, 2010 12:16 PM
Comment #299909


The problem with immigrants is that they have become problems. I love tautologies, but this one makes sense. If we were only talking about opportunities, we would probably not be talking about this issue at all. But our modern welfare state has extended various rights. When immigrants came to the U.S. in the past, they made it - or not. It was their problem. When they made it, they enriched our country. When they didn’t, they caused little harm.

In fact, the previous immigration regime was a lot like illegals today w/o MIGRA.

I worry about culture change. I know it is un-PC to say so, but I like America as it is now. I have lived in Latin America. I like it, but I generally do not want the U.S. to become more like Mexico. I went to McDonald’s yesterday and tried to order an Angus Deluxe (#12). The woman tried to charge me $19.95. It didn’t make sense in any language to pay $19.95 for something that costs $6.

I am not culturally insensitive in general. I can speak four languages. But I prefer to be American in America and if others want to come here I think they should achieve a minimum assimilation. It is OUR choice, not theirs.

It just gets confusing. I am no sure what she thought I said. I finally resolved the situation by speaking Portuguese (the closest language I know to Spanish) She seemed to understand “Só o Angus deluxe e não doze bebidas” This just ain’t right to have to do this in America.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 12:33 PM
Comment #299910


You’re on the right track, perhaps.

The real issue in Arizona is violence. This is what people fear.

Is that being caused by illegal immigrants? To be sure, some of it is.

What is generating that violence? Illegal drug profits.

What if we legalized these drugs? The cartels would lose their weapon of money, and begin to disappear. So if we use rule of law properly, by treating drug addicts as medical and social problems rather than moralistic legal grandstanding, we might begin to solve the problem.

The issue is rule of law, but more precisely it is judicious use of law to achieve a desired effect, rather than using law as a battering ram to get elected by a population ignorant of the actual issues.

While there are economic issues surrounding illegal immigrants, if one really wished to end that, one would punish employers, with even jail time perhaps.

Since no one really seems to be discussing either of these obvious solutions, I think the whole thing is merely a rallying scream for racists and the ignorant, and their political opportunists.

Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 12:41 PM
Comment #299912

The law in Selma,Alabama in 1963 said that blacks had to ride in the back of the bus and could not eat with whites in resturants.What this law has done is to effectvely turn Arizona into the Alabama of 1963. The xenophobic rascist that jammed it through will be remembered the same way as Bull Conner and George Wallace.
There are other contrary laws involved. One of them is the Constitution. As you redily admit,the law is in response to immigration. That resposibility is one of the enumerated powers granted to the federal government. Whether or not the federal government is doing its job or not is irrelevent. The Constitution also protects us from unreasonable search and siezure. Being dark skinned or speaking with an accent is NOT reasonable grounds for the police to demand ,”Your papers,please.” and that is exactly what this law coerces police to do.Citizens will be swept up in this. Citizens will be constantly harrassed in this.
It is a bad law and will not stand. There is a proposed bill dealing with immigration moving through congress. The main emphasis is on enforcement both at the bordor with increased funding for survaillence equiptment,vehicals,drones,barriers and boots on the ground as well as increased employer penalities for hireing undocuemented workers. It also requires the issueing of biometric SS cards to eliminate forgery of work papers. For those undocuemented people that have been here for a long time the bill includes a path to citizenship that requires they report themselves and admit to breaking the law,paying back taxes,speak English,go through a criminal background check. I imagine by the time the bill is completed it will also include a guest worker program,at least for agriculture. Its a pretty good ,realistic attempt to fix the broken immigration system and deserves support and input from those Republicans more interested in solving problems than political grandstanding or corporate sponsered obstruction.

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 12:50 PM
Comment #299913

I remind you that people in Arizona have been speaking Spanih since 1540. It was also the part the US region that was part of Mexico for hundreds of years and there are many decendants from that time in that whole section of country. Latin roots run deep there. Do not confuse VA with the whole country.
Thoughts on the proposal comming out of congress?

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 12:58 PM
Comment #299916

bills, The Az. legislature on 4/29/10 have amended the law to prevent the things that you imply. Your assumptions are unfounded. The law will not mirror the stupid ignorant law of ALABAMA. By the way wasn’t George Wallace a Democrat.

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 1:08 PM
Comment #299918

The reference to Alabama refers to Arizona becomming the moral battleground of the country until this travesty of justice is thrown out or repealed. The battle is starting already. The people of Arizona will suffer economically and spiritually by allowing this to happen to their state.——the-wrong-answ_b_557955.html

“I recognize that Arizona has become a widening entry point for illegal immigration from the South. The wave has brought with it rising violence and drug smuggling.

But a solution that degrades innocent people, or that makes anyone with broken English a suspect, is not a solution. A solution that fails to distinguish between a young child coming over the border in search of his mother and a drug smuggler is not a solution.”

Desmond Tutu

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 1:42 PM
Comment #299919


I agree with what you say, but there are a few problems:

1.You speak of the rule of law; but we live in a nation whose politicians and citizens believe the rule of law is “evolving”. It applies in some cases but not in others. Hence the response from bills, “it is racial”.

2.It is based upon protecting ones private property: but there has been a concerted effort in America to delete ones right to own private property. The SC recently determined that government does not have to have a legitimate reason to take private property, and Obama and Co’s goals of redistribution of wealth.


Legalizing drugs will do nothing; what drug do you want to legalize? I’m sure the cartel smuggles all drugs in the country. You want to legalize anything and everything?


Your statement is ridiculous. Contraire to your little world, not all things are about race. Some things are about right and wrong. Al Sharpton and Jess Jackson bring up “the back of the bus” in every scenario. Let it rest, a majority of Americans elected a black president. We don’t live in the days of “back of the bus” anymore. If it weren’t for the continued racist charges by Sharpton and Jackson, they would be unemployed. They are non-relevant, and don’t know it yet. This is called beating a dead horse, and NOBODY believes it.

Don’t try to make race an issue, when the issue is the safety, citizen’s rights, illegal invasion, and the law.

Posted by: Beretta9 at May 1, 2010 1:44 PM
Comment #299922

When Desmond Tutu becomes a taxpaying American citizen, then he has the right to give us advice. Until that point, I don’t really care what he thinks. Iput it in the same catagory with advice from Chavez, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: Beretta9 at May 1, 2010 1:55 PM
Comment #299930

bills, Az. has the right to protect it’s citizens when the feds won’t. I suggest you read more then the Huffington post and I suggest you try reading the law. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are nothing but racist bigots themselves. The law PROHIBITS and I repeat PROHIBITS profiling and anything to do with racism. By the way I think the boycotts are going to backfire. Also 70% of the people of Az. support the law and over 50% of the country. I think there are 5 more states considering the same type of law including my own. This IMO is a wake up call to the feds to get off their pompous butts and do something about this situation before it really gets out of control.

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 2:26 PM
Comment #299931


My brother-in-law was one of those original Spanish land grant people. His family forgot how to speak Spanish a couple generations ago. He is proud of his Spanish (not Hispanic) roots. Too much. He won’t call himself “Hispanic” so he misses out on lots of the affirmative action goodies.

There are not many of them and they are not immigrants (obviously). Just because SOME people who spoke Spanish once lived there doesn’t mean we have to let others just show up.

Land changes hands. The U.S. got this land more than a century and a half ago. It is ours now and we have the right to make decisions about it.

Actually, there is a lesson for us. The Mexican government in the 1820s had too generous an immigration policy. Soon Americans outnumbered Mexicans and that is how we got the whole place. We don’t want to make that mistake.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 2:32 PM
Comment #299932

Beretta, whatever you smokin’, man I do NOT want any of it!!!
Hope you feel better soon!

It doesn’t take a great intellect to discern that legalizing drugs deprives the illegal sellers of profit motive. Not only would drug violence decline hugely, and almost immediately, the cost of arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating these people would plummet to well… This is a bad thing how, exactly? It might be helpful to lose the knee-jerk reaction to drugs, and think of what’s good for our country and it’s citizens.

I’m not pro drug; I don’t use drugs, or smoke cigarettes, or drink any alcohol. But honestly, my anti-drug/alcohol prejudice shouldn’t get in the way of doing what’s right.

Posted by: steve miller at May 1, 2010 2:34 PM
Comment #299933


Did you once say you were from around Cleveland? If so you are correct, Ohio is talking about the law. Our county Sheriff is one who is pushing for the law in Ohio.

Gov. Strickland is saying he will veto the bill, but he will only be with us till the end of the year, and then he will be unemployed by the state of Ohio,

Posted by: Beretta9 at May 1, 2010 2:37 PM
Comment #299935


Do you support the right of Israel to all the land of Palestine? They lived in the land aprox 2000 years BC. By your logic, the Jews have a right to the land because they were there first.

Posted by: Beretta9 at May 1, 2010 2:45 PM
Comment #299937

You got that right B9, he will be unemployed. Yes I live in a suburb of Cleveland.

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 2:54 PM
Comment #299938

The Pope is not an American citizen either but many of us have a measure of respect when he speaks.Bishop Tutu has lived in an apartied country and helped guide that country through that dangerious period of transition peacefully. He has some credentials in dealing with human conflict.”Blessed are the peacemakers…”
Pretty silly your asertion that I live in a “little world” and then you dismiss a major world figure because he is not from your little world.
As for the Arizona law being rascist, of course it is. Everybody knows that. Just many won’t admit it. Its not Mormons they are trying to kick out.Its not Frenchmen that are going to get pulled over or stopped in the street for looking for work.You are correct that the law does concern the rights of citizens. It infringes on the right to protection from unreasonable search and the right to equal treatment.You may be comfortable throwing the Constitution out the window to gain a little security but I and many others are not.

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 3:03 PM
Comment #299939

bills, If the Az. law mirrors the federal law then by your assertation the Federal law must be racist also. If a Frenchman is here illegally he might get pulled over, also a German, Irishman, Brit, Canadian or any other perssuasion. If this law goes against the constitution so does the Federal law. I’m betting it will be upheld by the scotus if it gets that far. I’ll even bet the 9th circuit will uphold it.

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 3:20 PM
Comment #299940

To all of you,

I appreciate that ideas on the law are “evolving”. Fine. Let them evolve in the text of the law after the American people have had a chance to express to legislatures what they want the shape of immigration to be. That is how we defend the rule of law and the integrity and legitimacy of the law in a nation of free citizens.

Until the rule of law “evolves” in the text of the law the law we have today is THE LAW. ENFORCE THAT.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at May 1, 2010 3:36 PM
Comment #299941


I recall when lots of Polish immigrants were coming illegally to the U.S. Poles were denied visas and treated with suspicion when they landed in Chicago.

I suppose there is some racism, broadly defined, in the Arizona law. I say broadly defined because Hispanics are not a race. What people object to are behaviors and habits, broadly defined you could call this culture.

IMO - we should not take too many immigrants from any one place or culture nor should we encourage large concentrations. I don’t think our goal is to become a polyglot nation where various groups sit next to each other w/o much mixing. And I don’t think we want the SW to become culturally Mexican to a much greater extent than it is already.

I was just driving around Southern California. I went through a place called El Centro, which seemed very much like Mexico, except better because it was run under American rules.

I don’t want my country to be much more like Mexico. Mexico is not as nice as the U.S. AND immigrant all agree with me. Otherwise they wouldn’t come here.

America is a nation of immigrants. My grandfather was an immigrant. But we should not lose sight of the fact that we want immigrants to bring their talents and energy, but we want them to join the mainstream of America.This means limiting the numbers so that we can absorb them.

I was on the school board for an American School in Poland. We had to limit the numbers of local kids or kids from any particular third country because there is a tipping point at which it stops being American. This is not racism. We limited the numbers of Poles, which are exactly the same race as I am.

My fear, and I think the fear of most people in Arizona, is that we are reaching that tipping point, may have passed it. We want to stay American and we are under no moral or legal obligation to allow foreigners to change that. People coming to live in the U.S., in contrast, have an affirmative obligation to live by our laws and work to fit in with our customs.

This is not a balance that we have to strike between “their” rights and “our” rights. This is our country. If I travel to Mexico, I am obligated to respect the laws of Mexico. This is just how it is.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 3:41 PM
Comment #299942

There are good sized communities in the region where Spanish is the predominant language and have been for a long time.There are huge sections of Los Angelus. There are even large nieghborhoods where Chinese is the predominent language. If you were in Cajun country you also might be confronted with cultural differences. Its a big deverse country.These people are US citizens. This law will hurt them. Two questions.#1 Have you had a chance to look at the proposed immigration law cooking in congress?#2 Haven’t you ever gotten poor service from some pimply faced,stoned out,English speaking shmuck in a fast food joint?
You should be aware that VA is not typical of the whole country.LOL,Some states would laugh an AG out of office if he changed the state seal to cover up a naked breast.

I never said anything about Mexico having a land claim to Arizona or the SW. I did mention that there are Hispanic communities in the region that was formerly part of Mexico that have been there for a very long time. Really,what have you been smoking?

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 3:45 PM
Comment #299943

Well writ, Lee. I agree, entirely. We are a nation of people who have chosen for more than 230 years to be governed by a rule of law decided by the representatives of the people elected by a majority, subject to constraints by a Constitutional foundation. We subscribe to the principle that the law should be applied equally to all, without passion, prejudice, nor minority domination or interpretation.

These principles do not set well with many folks on the Right and Left, but, they have fostered one of the greatest nations on earth, and to abandon these principles in deference to passion, bigotry, or minority domination is to undermine the viability and sustainability of these United States.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2010 3:46 PM
Comment #299944

Here is some stuff on the Immigation reform bill. I am interested in your thoughts on the proposal. The biometric SS cards makes me a little nervous but reports are the e-verify system is not working well. Between that and terrorism we are going to be stuck with some sort of national ID. Grahm helped craft it but has decided to play politics.

Nice you are on a road trip. Just what the doctor ordered.Get some sand in your shoes.

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 4:02 PM
Comment #299945



Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 4:09 PM
Comment #299946

The AZ law does not mirror the federal law. Where did you get that? Same pipe as B9?

Posted by: bills at May 1, 2010 4:10 PM
Comment #299947


Have you ever been deep in Appalachia? It’s a different culture, although this was more obvious 30 years ago.

It’s right at your back door.

Mexico’s problem has been corrupt governments and poverty. The same problem has been true in Appalachia. It reminds me of Appalachia in many ways.

We want to stay American

To be very honest this is little more than code for European dominated America. I have now lived in Texas for 30 years. I identify with Mexican culture here. There in nothing un-American about it. This was Spanish Mexico. In some sense it still is. It never has been the America that you have experienced in Wisconsin or Virginia.

Rodeos,ranches, trail rides, and Cinco de Mayo (my birthday)has it’s roots in Mexican AND Texas culture. Mexican food is the bomb. Nothing better. Not very many Cowboy hats in Wisconsin. Lots in Mexico and Texas. It’s a different part of the US. Just because it’s different from you and your experience, doesn’t make it un-American. You are a gringo and yankee down here. Yankee go home.

Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 4:26 PM
Comment #299948


What part of illegal don’t you understand?

Why don’t you pack your little baggies and cross the border into Mexico, without an ID and see what happens there:) I’d like to see you explaining your rights to the Federalies. And what would be the result of you telling them they have a bias against Americans? For that matter, go to Canada, and tell them about your rights. Go to Cuba or Venezuela and tell them about your free speech rights. Oh, sorry, they don’t have any rights. But they do have laws, as ignorant as they are, when we go to their country, we obey their laws. I’m sure, if the May Day protesters were in these countries, they wiould be dragged off and imprisoned, whether citizens or not.

Posted by: Beretta9 at May 1, 2010 4:30 PM
Comment #299949

David and Lee,

I have no issue with a land of laws, I have no issue with enforcing immigration law. No one on the side of this Arizona law can seem to explain why the state has to duplicate a Federal law. Why can’t police enforce a Federal Law? This is nothing but political grandstanding appealing to a White dwindling minority.

I don’t even object to Arizona making it about the Feds not doing enough. There are other more realistic ways to reduce the problems going on in Arizona. This law will eventually be knocked down over jurisdiction. Lawmakers know it. It’s mostly a waste of time and effort.

When illegal drugs are made a medical issue rather than an underground grant for the DEA and police agencies, and Dope peddlers, and illegal immigrant employers are targeted in a serious way, then I’ll believe this is about rule of law.

Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 4:35 PM
Comment #299950

bills, The news and the people that live in Az. And by the way like I said before the Az. legislature amended the law to PROHIBIT and again I repeat PROHIBIT racism and racial profiling. It is basically the Federal Law at the state level. I don’t know what the Huffington Post says about it but I can guess from your comments. The news that I watch is not all Fox either.

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 4:45 PM
Comment #299952

bills What would happen to you if you don’t produce and Id. or papers in the Phillipines?

Posted by: MAG at May 1, 2010 4:50 PM
Comment #299956

gergle said: “No one on the side of this Arizona law can seem to explain why the state has to duplicate a Federal law.”

I have explained this, in another thread. Federal law is enforced by federal authorities. State law is enforced by State and local authorities. It is a matter of jurisdiction. States don’t have the constitutional authority to trump federal jurisdiction. By passing State laws against illegal immigration, the State’s law enforcement has jurisdiction to enforce their law. If federal law enforcement authorities wish to intercede, they may. Absent federal interdiction, however, the State and local authorities, with the passage of the Az. law, have statutory enforcement authorization. Law 101.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2010 5:09 PM
Comment #299958


I get around outside Virginia.Please take a look at my personal blog.You probably remember how to find it. I don’t say this to prove anything to you, BTW, but I hope you might enjoy some of it. It is almost completely non-political.

I personally think it is really dumb for anybody not to learn English if they have the chance. People around the world are fighting to learn English because they know it is a big advantage. It is past-stupid for communities within the U.S. to resist what everybody else wants. There are communities in the U.S. that have managed to hold onto their old customs. This is okay, but in doing so they relegate themselves to second class status. I am a let-it-be type guy and I would say “F-them if they are that dumb” but then we hear the crying of discrimination. I person who cannot speak fluent English WILL suffer justifiable discrimination because he simply cannot be a full participant in American politics, culture or economy. It is like somebody not learning to read.

Re the immigration bill, why are you trying to make me actually work? Now I will have to read it and make thoughtful comments.


A have been to lots of these places.I truly appreciate the contribution of Spanish culture to America.I like much of the music of Northern Mexico. It is like cowboy music. I just finished a short study of the Spanish missions and ranchos in California. This is all part of “our” culture now. I did learn, however, that the idea of the Southern California “El Camino Real” mission trail was largely an invention of American land developers. All the royal roads were actually Camino Real. This one was not particularly unique.

I like our culture in many respects. But that doesn’t mean that I like all parts of it equally or that I want more from other parts of the world. Simply stated, immigrants should come with skills and attributes that we want in America. If not, we have no obligation to let anybody in, with possible exception of the moral obligation to refugees.

Appalachia has some great cultural aspects and some not so good. It is incumbent on all Americans to develop useful skills or work habits so that we can contribute as citizens – help pull the wagon instead of hopping on for a free ride.

I am eager to let people do what they want as long as they don’t bother me. But I recognize that some cultural characteristics will prevent people from achieving very much. This is true of some of the people of Appalachia and of the SW. If they are okay with that, so am I. But they shouldn’t complain when they experience the logical consequences of their decisions.

If I go to other countries I try to speak the language and respect the established customs. If people choose to allow me to speak in English (usually because I have money and they want some of it) I am grateful. I think it makes perfect sense for firms to cater to speakers of Spanish, Chinese or any other language. But it should be only if they choose. In America, we really should be able to communicate in English. I recognize that no everybody wants to do that. It is there business, but I cannot learn all the languages of the world, so most of them won’t be talking to me unless they speak English.

A simple question. How stupid to you have to be not to learn English if you live in the U.S.? I know that I posed it in an aggressive way, but it is a good question. In my experience most immigrants really WANT to learn English. We should enable them and not pretend that not speaking English is okay. They want to become Americans. They left wherever it is they came from because they thought America would be better.

BTW – I had an interesting talk with a Pakistani cabdriver the other day. He was from Lahore and I was asking him questions about Pakistan, which he was not really able to answer. He finally said to me, “I have not been back to that place for 14 years. It was a shithole and that is why I left and I don’t know much about it anymore.” America was the country of his choice. Good for him.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 5:22 PM
Comment #299961

I, for my part, like to say I was born in “occupied East Texas”. That is what it felt like to be from a town where the downtown streets were named after Texas heroes, but you had to live in a state where the law is still based on Napoleonic code. Yep, different culture.

None the less even in 1830 Texians of American descent far outnumbered Texians of Spanish or mixed European and Native American descent in the area north of the Rio Grande. Yes, yes, there was considerable racism in the post-revolution treatment of Tejanos, but they self-identified as Texans and Americans rather than Mexicans, regardless of the undeserved delay by Texans of American descent to acknoweledge their claim.

Still, Texas, particularly South Texas, has always been bi-lingual, and it’s probably just as well.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at May 1, 2010 5:40 PM
Comment #299965


If you get fool-proof employer/employee verification, you probably don’t need as much border enforcement. The things in the summary sound good, but will not be enforced. That has been the problem all along. Illegal immigrants don’t come unless they think they can find jobs.

We don’t properly enforce laws because we have built a legal thicket to prevent it. Some cities set up sanctuaries etc.

Existing laws are probably sufficient to take care of the problem – IF we actually enforced them.

I think we need to change the mind-set. The Emma Lazarus poem was great for the last century, but it was never official policy and it really doesn’t make much sense any more. We should make our immigration policies fit our needs as a country. We should let in immigrants with education and skills we think we might need and let the others stay home.

I don’t like to let in unskilled workers. Cheap labor creates its own demand. There are lots of little jobs that would be done by machines or not done at all if it wasn’t so cheap to hire illegal aliens or recent immigrants. For example, we could just do without all those guys blowing grass and leaves.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 6:09 PM
Comment #299976

C&J, dry up the legal employers, and the vast multi-billion dollar black market economy is still wide open. The border seal is indispensable as a component of comprehensive national security and the illegal immigration problem. The motivation of the poor to seek incomes will not, for the most part, reject black market jobs in lieu of no jobs or very low wage jobs in their home countries. The marijuana growers in America used to be English speaking almost exclusively. Now, a large percentage of growers speak little or no English.

Where the legal job market wanes, the black market employers will exploit and entice. Ergo, the border barrier is an essential component of any solution which dramatically reduces the size of the problems spawned by open borders and open job opportunities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 1, 2010 9:16 PM
Comment #299978

What used to work? We very effectively limited illegal immigration from the 1940s through the 1960s. It certainly can be done because it WAS done.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at May 1, 2010 10:20 PM
Comment #299979


There will be some illegal activities, of course. Just make it harder. Think of how much illegal immigration declined when the economy went bad and jobs dried up.

We don’t have to have all those low paid jobs. We have them because we have low-paid people. All those leaf blowers would just stop. Lots of those low-paid jobs would be done by teenagers or not at all. We could/should create a program for temporary agricultural workers.

Posted by: C&J at May 1, 2010 10:23 PM
Comment #299982


Nonsense. Any police officer may arrest you committing any federal, state or local crime. The only difference is the court system that will prosecute and try you. That’s law 100 (a prerequisite).

As to a border fence, it may be effective temporarily in limited areas. It will never be built across the entire border and is mostly a waste of money. A fence without armed guards isn’t a barrier. Then there are tunnels. Then there is smuggling in cargo. etc, etc.

There is no vast black market of employers. There will always be a small cadre of black market business. Going after employers will dry the flood to a trickle. It will also increase competition, because the playing field will be more level.


I’ve lived in Texas a long time and only speak minimal Spanish. If I were immersed in Mexico, perhaps I’d learn more. Maybe I’m just dumb. Many Mexicans here find enough dual language to get by, in South Texas, Spanish is more common than not. To be an effective construction foreman here, you need to speak Spanish.

I agree fool proof ID’s will do the trick. I know nothing is fool proof, but we’re just kidding ourselves when we pretend we don’t know who is legal and who isn’t.


Racism used to work.

Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 11:15 PM
Comment #299983

If the US wants to stop the flow in Phoenix, particularly with the shooting of a police officer, they could dry it up in a few days with a military presence.

Fly an AWACS and put a few armed drones and Blackhawks on the border, a unit of marines, or army and border crossings there will stop. They will move west or east.

I don’t think that would be uncalled for. It isn’t profiling.
I doubt it will happen, even if nutjob Sarah Palin were in office.

Posted by: gergle at May 1, 2010 11:27 PM
Comment #299987


You learned some Spanish to be able to run your business better. That makes sense, even though the need for Spanish is local. How much more sense does it make for a Spanish speaker to learn English? Those who don’t speak it well are really putting themselves at a disadvantage and condemning themselves to a minority slice of the U.S. market.

I know Spanish is useful in Latin America (besides the biggest country of course, Brazil, along with a few others. But English is the world’s most useful language. An English speaker can get by all over the world. A Spanish speaker will be out of luck in most of Asia and Africa and Europe north of the Pyrenees. Even in Spain itself, the people of Catalonia will give a Spanish speaker a hard time. It is simply a very bad choice for someone in America to marginalize himself by not learning the language.

I think you are right about the mendacity of not knowing who is an illegal alien.

Posted by: C&J at May 2, 2010 12:08 AM
Comment #299993

I don’t think the language is a huge issue.

I studied Spanish for 5 years in High School, but I haven’t had to use it in the two years since I graduated except when I read Las Bicicletas Son Para el Verano (Bicycles are for Summer) in the original Spanish.

There are many immigrants, and most of them try to learn enough English to get by. Even if the adults don’t have mastery of the language, the children almost surely do.

Of course there will always be a few stubborn holdouts. There are towns in northern Maine where they still speak French even though the French colony of Acadia was handed to Great Britain in 1713. Martin Van Buren (our eight President) grew up speaking Dutch even though the Dutch lost control of New Amsterdam (New York) over 100 years before he was born. I don’t think the holdouts will have much impact on the rest of us, whether they speak Dutch, Spanish, French or anything else.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 2, 2010 12:54 AM
Comment #299995


Language has become an issue because it has become a right. Our largest minority group is still Germans and the English-only laws in places like Nebraska (1920) were aimed at them. But the Germans had no right to bilingual education or documents printed in their language, so it died out. Today nobody knows or cares about who is German. It was a big deal 100 years ago. I believe that Hispanics will be assimilated like the Germans before them, but we slow the process by making ideas such as bilingual education or cultural maintenance programs.

My grandfather was Polish. I think Polish culture is very interesting and I speak Polish. But I learned it as an adult and it was not my first language. I am glad English was the language I learned first and glad that nobody cares about my ancestry unless I tell them. I want the same gift to be given to new immigrants, the gift of forgetting their grandfather’s homeland.

Posted by: C&J at May 2, 2010 1:20 AM
Comment #299996
Language has become an issue because it has become a right.

Could you please explain what you mean by this?

I think that there are certain services that should be made available to linguistic minorities. Madawaska, Maine is 84% francophone, so I would hope that ballots there are provided in the French Language and that the judicial and law enforcement systems are bilingual in order to handle the large francophone population as well as the small anglophone one. Also, we need to keep in mind that these people are the descendants of people who became a part of a predominantly anglophone country unwillingly. They settled that region when it was a part of French Acadia and they had the reasonable expectation that they could continue using the French Language indefinitely.

IMO a similar argument can be made for the languages of the Native Americans as well as for Dutch and Spanish.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 2, 2010 2:02 AM
Comment #299998

Lee and all.
What used to work in California agriculture demonstrates the principle of unintended results. Many compesinos would migrate every year to work the great harvest of the Central Valley and then return home to Mexico. In the early Clinton years the bordor was tightened. It became much more difficult and dangerious for migrants ,often with their families, to cross. Given a choice between hunger and remainning underground in the US,many chose the latter. To survive they moved out of mostly agricultural jobs into construction,domestic work etc.
I,like many others on the left,are conflicted in regards to immigration. I like immigrants generally and actually enjoy the cultural diversity,ie. a big fat burrito,a little tequilla and a dance with chica. I spent a lot of time working side by side with mostly Hispanic immigrants in the building trades in California. Many were highly skilled and ALL were hard workers.Conversly I am well aware that improvments in the social net I believe necessary to keep the US a first world country have limits. An uncontrolled stream of immigration will overwhelm any advances.
The long term solution,of course, is to help move Mexico and Central America towards economic progress and more equitable distribution. Wishful thinking. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Still the US does bear some responsibility for conditions in Mexico. The near anarchy and rise of powerful drug cartels is the direct result of our failure to deal with our drug problem effectivly.We could,perhaps,change some trade policies to improve the lot of Mexican workers etc. and increase family planning efforts.
I have noticed a few wonks waking up to the possibility that immigrant lobor may well be a part of the solution to the US entitlement quandary by providing more workers paying payroll taxes.
Any linguest will tell you that the when statutes declaring one official language are being seriouly proposed for a region that fact alone is de facto proof the region is bi-linguel, like it or not.

Posted by: bills at May 2, 2010 2:28 AM
Comment #299999


Government services are provided in many languages. Personally, I don’t think they should be. It should be incumbent upon everyone to learn English. It just is not worth the cost and trouble.

People can speak whatever language they want. I don’t care. I just don’t want to pay for it. I know that I have an un-PC point of view on this. But it does nobody any favors to maintain linguistic minorities.

It is a tautology but true that if you don’t have a common language, you just can’t talk to each other.

Posted by: C&J at May 2, 2010 2:33 AM
Comment #300000

In the past, most immigrants came from across the ocean. It was hard for many of them to assimilate into a new culture and often a new language but, easier for their children to do so. In doing so, each group added a small amount to our culture.

This is not the case with the majority of today’s immigrants. They share a two thousand mile border with our country and they see no reason to assimilate to our culture and language. Instead, we are told that we must accommodate their culture. How this will work out in the future is anybodies guess.

Posted by: jlw at May 2, 2010 2:39 AM
Comment #300001


As far as I know the countries you mentioned are not under the authority of the US Constitution so the subject of Constitutional rights is not relevent(duh!).I am sure you or I would rountinely be asked to show our papers in North Korea or Iran. Is that your model of how the United States should act?Apparently.
Also you might want to know that the AZ statutes are contrary to the will of GOD:

When an alien lives with you in your land,do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself,for you were aliens in Egyt. I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 33-34

Posted by: bills at May 2, 2010 2:44 AM
Comment #300005

gergle said: “Nonsense. Any police officer may arrest you committing any federal, state or local crime.”

You DON’T know how this works. No, a San Antonio police officer MAY NOT ARREST the CEO of Goldman Sachs for securities and exchange commission violations, nor even interstate fraud, for that matter.

Yes, the jurisdictional lines have cross over in regard to public safety, for example. Kidnapping is a federal offense, but it is also a State offense. Therefore, all applicable echelons of law enforcement may intercede in a kidnapping. Local police cannot, however, enforce interstate commerce law violations without authority granted by federal authorities giving them agency power. But, there is a hierarchy established in the Constitution and S.C. rulings, that prevents lower echelon authorities from usurping the authority and responsibility of upper echelon authorities.

Hence, the necessity of Az. to pass their own illegal immigrant laws IN ORDER to create jurisdiction for themselves to enforce it, without acquiring federal agency authorization to do so.

When it comes to law, trying to logic your way through, will ver often prove your conclusion wrong. Law is an extremely complex subject and there is no substitute for actually studying cases, statutes, and precedents, many of which do not appear, a priori, to be logical to the lay person.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2010 7:00 AM
Comment #300006

Lee, I think you have to consider the population numbers difference in the 40’s to 60’s to today’s population numbers, because with the vast growth in population numbers in both Central American and Mexico and the U.S., the pressure to migrate to the U.S. and the relative anonymity in America today due to the population increase, make an enormous difference in our ability to use 1940 to 1960 immigration policies, effectively.

What worked then, will not be as effective, today. When circumstances change, so must policies and strategies. Many a civilization has collapsed for failures to accommodate changed circumstances. It’s the reverse of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Failing to alter solutions as circumstances and realities change, is just as nuts as Einstein’s proscription for insanity.

Fighting the N. Vietnamese with WWII attrition tactics and strategies was a monumental example of what I am talking about here.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 2, 2010 7:11 AM
Comment #300008


Does this mean you oppose letting Native Americans conduct their government business in their Native Language rather than English?

I agree that the vast majority of government forms and the like should only be provided in the nation’s predominant language. Today the predominant language is English, tomorrow it might be something else.

Some things should provided to linguistic minorities. I’m thinking of printing ballots in other languages and providing interpreters at court to allow linguistic minorities to enjoy due process and our judicial system. Of course, the government shouldn’t bend over backwards to accommodate everyone. However there are a few languages that should be accommodated. Particularly the ones that predated Anglo-American rule such as the indigenous languages, Dutch in the New York area, French in Maine & Louisiana, Spanish in former parts of Mexico.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 2, 2010 9:56 AM
Comment #300010


Native Americans can conduct their business in any language they want. It doesn’t matter to me if somebody wants to revive Hittite and do all their business in that ancient language. The COMMON language of our country is English and we should expect that everybody will do business in English or adapt in some other way.

Does anybody really still speak Dutch as their only language? Even in Holland everybody speaks English.

We do nobody a favor when we do not insist on English. All we do is spread the pain from one generation to many. In fact, I believe it is almost a violation of human rights to allow the persistence of this kind of disability in the U.S. It just is very bad not to be able to speak good English. And this is not only in America. Many international businesses, even those from non-English speaking places, use English as their common language. If you go to Europe or Asia to do business, you need English. If you have a groups of business people from Germany, China, Japan, Brazil and Senegal, their common language will be English, even though none of them are native speakers.

Equipping people with English is a competitive advantage. Letting them slouch into something else is punishing them for their ancestry.

Posted by: C&J at May 2, 2010 10:22 AM
Comment #300011


Nice attempt at a dodge, but Police officers CAN arrest illegal immigrants without adding a state law. Houston chooses not to ask immigration status as do many police agencies to encourage the reporting of crime.

So your argument is empty.

BTW, an SEC violation is a civil issue, not a criminal issue.
I cannot be arrested for not paying my bills, either.

BTW, a San Antonio officer has a jurisdiction in San Antonio. He may not go to NY and write tickets, either. I suspect he may not carry his gun either. I’m not entirely sure about that, though.

I seems you are simply pretending a complexity that does not exist. Now when it comes to CHARGING someone for illegal immigration that goes to the DHS and the Federal Courts, but you seem confused about the difference between arrest and prosecution. Joe Arpaio isn’t confused. He may be a showboating jerk, but he seems to understand the law.

Posted by: gergle at May 2, 2010 10:53 AM
Comment #300016

Here the issue is not as simple as you would like to have it be. The new law is intended, in part, to prevent cities from choosing not to permit their peace officers to enforce federal law, as many have in staking out their claim as “sanctuary cities”. That an officer “can” enforce the law does not mean he will if the policy of his employer is to punish him for doing the right thing.

As to languages, I don’t see how that’s really germane to this discussion. If the American people or the people of a given state choose to make a given language, or set of languages “official” languages and set that choice to law we have an issue. This discussion is really about something that actually HAS been set to law and whether the people have the right to expect their governmental apparatus to enforce that law.

Native Americans operate, in many instances, by treaty as sovereign people within the confines of the United States. Their reservation territory is their own. They have their own laws and their own courts. Cherokee, for instance, is an official language of the Cherokee tribe in the courts of their reservation in Oklahoma. In those instances “our” laws would have no impact on their policies.

As to changes in numbers and populations, that is indeed a factor that should be applied to our lawmaking, but for right now the people are highly resistant even to responsible change because their government has been ignoring the law and, frankly, US altogether. When the government acknowledges and enforces the law, and the people can see that they are both being listened to and affected by the flaws in current law, I believe they will be far more amenable to responsibly listening to rational changes in Immigration law.

Our system is not, it should be pointed out, a guarantee of perfect laws. Nor even will we necessarily get good ones all the time. The point is the legitimacy of the law comes from the people’s participation in the process. If a law goes bad we know we took part in the error. People learn from that sort of process, because they know they have significance and as with the handling of guns they come to realize they can cause themselves and others harm by carelessness.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at May 2, 2010 5:46 PM
Comment #300017

Steve Miller
So you want to legalize drugs. Legalizing meth.? You have evidently not see what meth is made of, nor how it affects the body, and how it impairs ones behavior. If we legalize drugs, the usage will increase and the number of drivers under the influence of drugs will increase. Go to the bank with that.

The federal laws that can be enforced by state/local authorities have a provision in the law that empowers the state/local authorities to enforce the law. If there is no provision, it is strictly a federal issue.

You need to read AZ SB1070. After reading it understand it. Don’t try to be the SC and intrepret it according to your dictates. Just understand it.

When IA’s come to this country they have been getting on the SS rolls and getting a couple thousand dollars each month. This year and next they don”t have enough money to do the cost of living allowance for those who are rightfully receiving SS. Of course, Congress gets to rip off the taxpayer for their annual raises too.

I’m going to repeat what I have already posted from a couple of days ago. In Pinal Co. AZ a sheriff’s deputy was shot with an AK-47. Large quantities of pot were left behind as the perps fled. They were described as hispanic. They were in a corridor where IA’s and drugs are moved. This is one reason why the AZ people have told the federal government to take a hike. AZ authorities have phoned, written letters, made personal contacts and they got nowhere with it. My congresswoman made a visit to the border for her photo opts after the rancher in Cochise Co. was killed. She refuses to have any town hall meetings facing the people to answer their questions. Homeland Security chief Napolitano said just a few days ago the borders are as safe as they have ever been. What a lie. She knows they aren’t!! Drugs are interdicted on I-17 at about 30 miles south of Flagstaff on a regular basis. And they are coming from south of the border.
So why does AZ have this law? Enough is enough and if you don’t like it, put up or shut up. Those who want to sue, quit wasting the taxpayers money. Those officials who don’t want to enforce the law (Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima Co.) start looking to update your resume or take that fat retirement check you got in the cache. Am I angry? Not yet. Am I upset? You betcha I am. I have never not voted in an election. Some of these people that were voted in are going to have to get a real job. I will work to see that it happens.

Chapter 2 coming.

Posted by: tom humes at May 2, 2010 6:33 PM
Comment #300019

P.S. On the deputy that was shot, 17 IA’s arrested. Good job Pinal Co.

Posted by: tom humes at May 2, 2010 7:12 PM
Comment #300020

tom humes,

Don’t try to be a lawyer. Read my link.

IA’s do not collect 2000 a month in SS. That is utter nonsense. Provide proof or stop spreading lies.

Homeland Security chief Napolitano said just a few days ago the borders are as safe as they have ever been. What a lie. She knows they aren’t!! Drugs are interdicted on I-17 at about 30 miles south of Flagstaff on a regular basis. And they are coming from south of the border.

Napolitano quoted apprehension stats. You rant.

Napolitano also defended federal efforts to police the southwest border. “More assets have been put into Arizona in the last 15 months than ever in history, and actually, the numbers, if you step back and look at it, the numbers actually are down in terms of apprehensions, which indicates fewer illegal crossings, but also up in terms of actual enforcement actions,” Napolitano said.

If you wish to convince me, offer something more than your anger.


My responses have been to issues raised by others.
I think removing an elected sheriff, may prove to be more difficult than Arizona politicians believe. They are going to watch crime rates rise under an attempt to push illegals further underground. The political backlash is building. This is an unsustainable appeal to what is becoming a minority population. The issue of jurisdiction of the courts will not stand. As shown in the link I offered to the lawyers page, making this a trespass issue may work and the populism may delay some intervention by the Feds, but eventually there will be some stupidity on the part of Arizona and the house will come tumbling down. The law won’t stand a challenge from the Feds.

If one doesn’t understand the history of sanctuary rules, and the issues of unreported crime, one is apt to repeat history with the same stupidity that occurred in the previous generations.

The end result is as predictable as saying the border fence would not be completed.

I don’t think it’s any more complicated than fear mongering, and racism, regardless of the convoluted arguments that are being made.

Posted by: gergle at May 2, 2010 7:24 PM
Comment #300032

under no stretch of the imagination is the border safer than ever. That is pure, unadulterated lying. You missed my log so go figure. I said when the IA’s come here they were getting $2k a month. They have to make an appearance in a sanctuary city and apply, then they will get it. Sorry I had to spell it out to you. I am the foolish one here. “prove it or else”. You would not believe the proof whichever way it was presented. You have shown that on other issues. When you run out of anything worthwhile, “proove it”. This foolish one is gone.

Posted by: tom humes at May 2, 2010 9:32 PM
Comment #300036

Tom Humes,

That isn’t what she said. If you are going to criticize her at least get her quotes right.

What is your log? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Sorry, but illegals are not eligible for SS. It’s likely some nonsense you read on some right wing blog. You have no proof. It’s just ranting nonsense. Your prejudice is showing, in my opinion. I live in a “Sanctuary” city.

I don’t believe it because it simply isn’t true, which is obvious, because you can’t offer proof.

Posted by: gergle at May 2, 2010 10:15 PM
Comment #300051

What kind of proof are you looking for? I don’t think you would believe the truth if it bit you in the arse. The SS question is so well documented both from the left and right. I don’t know which one you want to put your marbbles and eggs into.

Posted by: tom humes at May 3, 2010 11:55 AM
Comment #300052

BTW—blame CSPAN for her quotes. That is where I saw her move her lips in sync with what my TV speaker was putting forth. They matched perfectly. Maybe CSPAN was putting me on. But, then they were putting on the whole of those watching. That doesn’t fit. Gee, what else could it be?
Could it be that some people find it hard to accept the truth, which was not what she said, but what she presented was portrayed to be the truth. How else does one explain what was spoken. And I did not have to press 1 for English to understand what was being said.

Posted by: tom humes at May 3, 2010 12:05 PM
Comment #300053

Tom Humes still waiting for evidence. If it’s so documented why can’t you seem to find a reputable link? Hmmm.

A good article for immigration nuts: a dose of reality.

Posted by: gergle at May 3, 2010 12:12 PM
Comment #300056
Native Americans operate, in many instances, by treaty as sovereign people within the confines of the United States. Their reservation territory is their own. They have their own laws and their own courts. Cherokee, for instance, is an official language of the Cherokee tribe in the courts of their reservation in Oklahoma. In those instances “our” laws would have no impact on their policies.

Exactly right. The Cherokee have the right to administer their own affairs in their native language if they wish. I would continue this to mean that they can administer federal elections in their own language as well. The Acadian francophone community has the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, which transferred ownership of Acadia from France to the United Kingdom. The Treaty of Utrecht guaranteed the right of the Acadians to continue using French in government. This is represented today by the fact that French is a provincial language in New Brunswick.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 3, 2010 1:02 PM
Comment #300062

While I, too, look forward to Tom Hume sourceing his specific charges on illegal’s abuse of Social Security, there are people looking at this from the aspect of state budgets. Texas senator Dan Patrick, who serves on the state’s education committee as Vice-Chair, posts the following in a recent Facebook update-

“We need to control our border and determine who comes into our country. If we do invite workers to take jobs Americans will not take we cannot allow those workers to bring entire famiies with them. While we do not have exact figure, an estimtated 25% of our 180 billion budget goes to pay for illegals in Texas”

Given the cost of education of the children of illegals alone this is not an unreasonable estimate in a state where two-thirds of the budget goes to education.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at May 3, 2010 3:11 PM
Comment #300069

They’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Read it:

By many measures, Arizona has become safer since illegal immigrants began pouring into the state in the 1990s.

Crime has dropped all across the country since then, but the decrease has been as fast or faster in Arizona. The rate of property crimes in the state, for example, has plummeted 43% since 1995, compared with 30% nationwide.

That’s no surprise to those who study immigration — both sides, whether for or against increased immigration, agree that immigrants tend to commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

Wouldn’t expect it, would you?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 3, 2010 4:39 PM
Comment #300075


Dan Patrick is a blowhard who’s qualifications for office are apparently that he was sportscaster in Houston.

That said, one of my favorite quotes is this. ” We hired migratory laborers for temporary work and then discovered they were human beings.”

Posted by: gergle at May 3, 2010 10:33 PM
Comment #300076


“Given the cost of education of the children of illegals alone this is not an unreasonable estimate in a state where two-thirds of the budget goes to education.”

One can only imagine the costs if the illegals children were left uneducated.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 3, 2010 11:44 PM
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