I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately reading lots of outcries from people regarding our new AZ immigration law. I can understand that people don’t want to be “profiled,” but I’m wondering what the answer to the immigration problem is if this law isn’t?
Could law enforcement use the law as the catalyst for racial profiling? Of course they could. But I think it’s also true people can be racially profiled without it. People of all colors. White people, too, if they look a certain way, or maybe drive a certain type of car in a certain type of neighborhood (though I suppose that would be more “societal” profiling).
I heard a latino gentleman on the radio yesterday (he was from Mexico) talking to the host of the show (I forget his name), who asked him what was the policy regarding illegal immigration in Mexico. The caller said “zero tolerance,” and if someone is caught illegally, they’re immediately sent home.
I think what could potentially cause problems with this law is that it leaves things up to individuals. And people are people. Are there racist or poorly trained law enforcement officers in Arizona who may choose to…use this law in a way other than it was intended? Could be.
But I think it’s unfair of people to assume that every cop in Arizona is going to start pulling people over for being brown. I also think, though, there will have to be some serious, serious training involved, from the bottom to top. This is a tough new law, and it has the potential to either work, or crash and burn epically. I’m hoping the former. But I guess we’ll see.
And while I understand that people might be afraid they’re going to start becoming targets for law enforcement because they’re brown, or yellow, or pink, and law enforcement assumes they’re illegal, I think these same people should also not make the assumption that Arizona law enforcement will automatically be cruising for people to arrest. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that all cops are bad because some of them COULD be, given the opportunity. Do we not trust the police anymore because a law was signed by the governor?
Make no mistake, this is groundbreaking legislation. And it’s up to all of us how it works.
And like I mentioned earlier, if not this legislation, then what? What are we to do about borders, and about immigration? I’m from San Diego, and we have a wall there that doesn’t work very well. People laugh at it, and rightly so.
What’s the answer? Tougher laws? Easier laws? No laws? I don’t know.
Bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
I submit that it’s possible to do that without coming across the border in a boat in the dead of night, or swimming across a river, or cramming into the back of a van with lots of other people.
I work as a DoD contractor, and I meet a lot of interesting people. I was on a test once where I met a soldier from Poland, who was now a combat engineer for the United States Army. He’d done two tours in Iraq, and was now training for a third tour—this time in Afghanistan. He was going to take an energetic young black lab named Bear to go sniff out mines and IEDs. Anyway, this young man had come to the states to attend college, and had liked it so much he stayed illegally after he was done with college. But he fell in love with the country, and wanted to serve, so he eventually went home to Poland, and did what he had to so he could come here legally. And he joined the Army, where today he is probably in the mountains of Afghanistan, protecting my way of life.
Anyway, I don’t like that we have this type of legislation—that it’s necessary to secure our borders, if indeed they can be secured.
But what’s the alternative? No borders at all?
We don’t live in the type of world where we can hold hands across our borders and sing happy songs, congratulating each other on what great and tolerant people we are.
So what do we do?