Welcome to Arizona. Now get out.

Fans: Hey Barry, what do you think about the whole mess getting messier out in Arizona? 

Barry: Boy, am I ever glad you finally asked! Short answer: Arizona has the right to enforce laws regarding trespassing in the state.  If you are an illegal immigrant, in Arizona illegally, I can’t think of a more clear-cut example of trespassing.  Long Answer: Holy cow, this could be complicated.

Fans: Wait, the long answer is shorter than the short answer!

Barry: Well sheesh, you didn’t let me finish.  On the surface, the purpose of HB 1070 is to prevent further illegal immigration to Arizona and to attempt (however impotently) to take legal actions against those who are already here.  Simple enough, I should say.  Illegal immigrants are just that, illegal.  I won’t bore you with fancified jargon like “interloper” or “undocumented worker” or anything like that.  We’ll not pussyfoot around the absolute basic fact that an illegal immigrant, is by definition, in the act of committing a crime.  Even if that crime is simply being in the U.S. without permission.

                And yes, it is a crime to be in the U.S. without permission.  It is a federal crime to enter the U.S. without taking proper steps to obtain visas or other proper, legal permission to be here.  I don’t care one bit about a person’s reasons for entering the U.S. illegally, reasons are moot.  People have what seem to be perfectly good reasons for committing other crimes too (bank robbers pay bills, crack heads ease withdrawal, killers act to stop the voices!).  These reasons do nothing to change the fact that their actions are crimes, by letter of the law.

                Some say that the U.S. is entirely to strict with regards to its policies on illegal immigration.  Indeed, there has been increased enforcement of existing laws, but those laws pale in comparison the severity of immigration laws in Mexico, for example.  If I were to sneak into Mexico illegally I could expect one of two things to happen:

  1. I could be caught soon after entering and arrested.  When this happens in the U.S., the offender is most often checked for warrants and if found to be clean simply transported to the nearest port of entry and released back into Mexico.  An illegal immigrant caught in Mexico is usually arrested, transported to a federal holding facility just outside Mexico City (yes, that’s where they hold em).  They are typically held for about a week, during which time it is the prisoner’s responsibility to contact an embassy, a lawyer, family or other friendly party to arrange their release.  Oh, and to arrange the prisoner’s meals, almost forgot about that.  Upon release, the illegal immigrant is walked outside the holding facility (read:jail) pointed north or south depending on their home country, and given 72 hours to get themselves the hell out of Mexico.
  2. I may get lucky and not be caught right away!  Hoorah!  Now, to find a place to live, maybe a job, have some fun, etc.  What’s that you say? It is constitutionally legal for Mexican businesses to refuse to give me a job?  It is constitutionally legal for Mexican landlords to refuse to rent to?  Right, and next you’ll expect me to believe they have those same constitutional rights to deny goods, services, employments and benefits to legal immigrants as well.  Sorry for the sarcasm folks, but yes, all this applies to legal immigrants too.

See, that’s the way it is.  An argument tossed around is that if American laws were more like Mexican laws, nobody would bother sneaking in here.  That’s a silly argument, given the numerous reasons people risk life and limb to come to America.  However, if our laws were more stringent and uniformly enforced, I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe we could have far fewer problems with illegal immigration.

So all this being said, where does YourBarry stand on the issue?  I think Arizona is doing the right thing.  Before you berate me for that, I’ll add the caveat that I think there are going to be serious issues with the way the law is enforced.  It’s going to be tough, and I don’t think anyone involved predicts an easy road ahead.  And while opponents say it could lead to a patchwork of 50 different immigration laws in the U.S., we must keep in mind that Arizona faces an absolutely unique set of circumstances.  I think it is up to the U.S. government to work with Arizona on a compromise, rather than suing to prevent the state from acting in what it considers to be its best interests.  I could spend days debating all this, but I feel like I’ve tried to cram so much into your heads over the last couple of days.  So I’ll leave you for now and hope to be able to discuss the outcomes and merits of the law and some date in the future.

And in the meantime, Sheriff Arpaio is going to be exceedingly busy!  I don’t support everything that man does, but you gotta respect that work ethic.  And wish him luck, cause he just took on what could be the toughest law enforcement job in the country.

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1 Comment

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