Thursday, April 29, 2010

SB 1070 Arizona and Illegal Immigration


Senate Bill 1070 was passed by the Arizona House and Senate and signed by Governor Brewer, drawing both criticism and praise within the state.

Police officers will be made responsible for checking immigration status as well as given the power to stop people who might be illegal immigrants to check their papers. In the hands of a repressive police force, this law is dangerous.

On a practical level, I don't think the cops are interested in repressing or hassling anybody and that they now have plenty to do managing public safety concerns. The role of local police in our society has been to maintain order.

In order to maintain order, several criteria must be enforced:

• Traffic safety

• Immediate violence prevention

• Investigations into violence

• Enforcing court orders

This maintains continuity and consequences and preserves the fabric of our society.

The attitudes that created this law, will not be solved by this law. Let us think about Mexico and the Cartels for a while. There are a few facts on this that should be noted:

• Increasing violence in Mexico against police and Federales

• Rival factions in Mexico are competing for a market share of the USA drug trade

• The Cartels are reported to have $$$$$

• Is the Mexican government in danger of falling?

• the last Mexican election was quite close, with the populist candidate losing

• Recession has caused Mexicans to return to Mexico from USA, losing income

• Mexico produces about 450,000 more people a year than they have jobs for.

• The USA as population outlet for Mexico has slowed down due to higher unemployment in the USA

• High unemployment or underemployment rates in Mexico

• The USA has a law giving citizenship to anyone born here

• Arizona/Mexico is part of an ancient migration route

• Hispanics settled in what is now Arizona during the 1500s

• Anglos settled in what is now Arizona mostly after 1850

Recent history needs to be reviewed:

• During the subprime boom, Developers and Builders dominated Arizona politically

• Large numbers of undocumented workers were hired by developers and builders

• Mexicans heard about the good jobs available and headed to the USA

• Cultural change caused by the influx of Hispanic workers upset some residents

• Existing medical and educational services are used by undocumented workers

• Resentment over undocumented workers rose as unemployment grew

• Violence from Mexico appears to be spilling over into the USA

• An Arizona rancher was killed on his own land, apparently by a trespasser from Mexico

• Drug cartels in Mexico continue to feed the demand for drugs in the USA

• Illegal immigrant apprehensions are down in Arizona as jobs became scarce

• Federal action on illegal immigration has been fragmented and ineffective

• Some politicians are asking for militarization of the USA/Mexico border

Is illegal immigration a public safety issue? The immigrants have criminals among them, like any other human group. The drug cartel violence, drop houses and coyotes give the Mexican nationals a bad reputation, but the reality is that most illegal immigrants are peaceful people trying to find work, have children in the USA and build a better life for themselves and their families. Many of them send money to Mexico in support of impoverished relatives. Some of them ask for medical help and they all send their children to school. These human needs cost money to fulfill and the state of Arizona is bankrupt. Don't wait for the government of Mexico to offer to help pay for these services their citizens are receiving while in the USA: no money has ever been sent to pay for these services or needs, although the money the illegals send home to Mexico is certainly welcome.

So we have a situation where the impoverished come to the USA to work, their presence utilizes state services, but no sovereign entity is picking up the extra cost. Therein lies the resentment. Mexico and the USA should refund the cost of these services to Arizona and the other states taking care of undocumented immigrants. WE NEED THE MONEY.

As for SB 1070, I regret the perceived need for such a law on the part of lawmakers. Law enforcement should be able to concentrate on public safety issues. It is increasingly obvious that immigration reform is needed on the federal level, whether or not special interests oppose action. This election year politicians are finally talking reform.

It is about time!