Written by Steven Rosenblum
This week Arizona’s legislature passed and Governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The reaction from both sides of the aisle and political spectrum were predictable.
On the left you had proponents of amnesty and pro-illegal immigration groups calling the law racist, unconstitutional and calling for boycotts of Arizona and companies that operate in Arizona. Some people even wanted to boycott Arizona Iced Tea, but apparently didn’t do enough research to know that Arizona Iced Tea is made in Cincinnati, Ohio.
On the right you had support for the bill and Arizona, though even a few politicians on the right questioned certain provisions of the bill. For the most part conservatives were on-board with the legislation.
What was lost in much of the coverage of this issue is the fact that the Arizona law mirrors, for the most part, the federal laws that have been on the books for years but haven’t been enforced by the feds.
The intent of the law is clearly articulated: “The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States”.
In the wake of years of murders, drug trafficking and kidnappings, the people of Arizona demanded that their state government do what the federal government had failed to do, protect them.
The costs of illegal immigration to the law-abiding citizens of our nation are mounting everyday. It costs the states billions of dollars every year for medical treatment and education of illegal immigrants, who may pay sales taxes, but do not pay income taxes and who’s employers (who are also breaking the law) do not pay payroll taxes for them. In a time of double-digit unemployment it’s absurd to have illegal workers taking jobs from American citizens. It’s not only unfair to Americans looking for work; the illegal immigrants themselves are being exploited. They get paid less; have no benefits and no legal recourse when unscrupulous employers abuse them.
While the federal government continues to pass laws and mandates that violate the Tenth Amendment, and the rights of the states and the people, they ignore illegal immigration, which is actually something the Constitution says they should address. Defending our borders is a constitutionally enumerated power of the federal government. But lawmakers in Congress and the president have no interest in enforcing our immigration laws and sending what they see as 12-30 million potential voters home.
One of the main arguments against SB 1070 is that it will lead to racial profiling by the police. That argument assumes the worst of our police and ignores the fact that the law is written to avoid that. The law specifically states: “This act shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens”. The police can only inquire about immigration status if they stop the person for something else. If a person has a valid drivers license, they’re assumed to be legal since you have to be a legal resident to get an Arizona drivers license. Even if you’re driving without your license on you (which is a violation) the police today can check on you with the computers in their cars, so the chances of someone being detained or arrested falsely seems to be slim.
Additionally, the police officer that inquires about the legal status of someone stopped for another violation is not the one who will make the determination of immigration status. The law clear states: “IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THIS SECTION, THE FINAL DETERMINATION OF AN ALIEN’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY EITHER:
1. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO VERIFY OR ASCERTAIN AN ALIEN’S IMMIGRATION STATUS.
2. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AGENCY COMMUNICATING WITH THE UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT OR THE UNITED STATES BORDER PROTECTION PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c)”.
As a candidate for the Florida State House, District 89 I favor the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. If elected I will introduce or co-sponsor a bill very similar to SB 1070 in the Florida legislature.
It’s high time that the States invoke their sovereign right to protect their citizens by passing laws such as this. Oklahoma is already considering a similar measure and I hope they pass it. As for the San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and other cities that are calling for or considering boycotts of Arizona, they are all cities that are on the brink of financial ruin because they refuse to enforce U.S. immigration law. I think the rest of us should boycott them and support Arizona and businesses that reside there.
It is not racist, un-American or unconstitutional to defend our borders or enforce our laws. It is our right as Americans. No nation can be secure if its borders are open.
Steven Rosenblum is the Republican candidate for Florida State Representative, District 89. You can learn more about his candidacy and policy positions at: http://www.electrosenblum.com.