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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Did The Danish King Wear An "I Could Be Illegal" Button?

It is over-the-top and out-of-control when it comes to the Arizona immigration bill recently signed. Not the law itself, but the reaction.

Linda Greenhouse's opinion piece in The NY Times epitomizes the absurd rhetoric (emphasis mine):

I’m glad I’ve already seen the Grand Canyon.

Because I’m not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into....

Wasn’t the system of internal passports one of the most distasteful features of life in the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa? ...

So what to do in the meantime? Here’s a modest proposal. Everyone remembers the wartime Danish king who drove through Copenhagen wearing a Star of David in support of his Jewish subjects. It’s an apocryphal story, actually, but an inspiring one. Let the good people of Arizona — and anyone passing through — walk the streets of Tucson and Phoenix wearing buttons that say: I Could Be Illegal.

Actually, Linda, not everyone remembers the Danish King driving around wearing a Star of David. Because it is not true. It is a myth. [see note below] But it sure does sound good when making a hyperventilated argument on the pages of The New York Times.

And isn't the opposition to the Arizona law based on mythology and hysteria. Yesterday Last week Arizona was a great place, now it is the last bastion of Nazis, Communists and Apartheid-ists.

And why? Because Arizona decided to implement procedures which have the effect of forcing the federal government to enforce existing immigration laws.

Under the Arizona law, the State of Arizona will have no power to deport anyone, only to turn them over to the federal immigration officials.

To say that the Arizona law requires internal passports, or creates an apartheid state is absurd. We already require identification for a whole host of day-to-day activities (see Byron York's piece today) such as checking into a hotel or boarding an airplane. Check out this Georgetown database of federal immigration laws to see the sweeping scope of the immigration laws already on the books.

There are procedural aspects of the law (such as the provisions which make violation of federal law also a violation of state law) which will be challenged, perhaps successfully so. But overzealous state enforcement of the law (if that is what it is) hardly changes the substance of the federal laws.

If Arizona is a fascist, communist, racist, apartheid state because it has decided to hold the federal government to the letter of the federal immigration laws, then wouldn't that of necessity make the federal immigration laws racist?

And isn't that really the point here. The people screaming about the Arizona law really are screaming about the substance of the federal immigration laws, demanding that such laws not be enforced in any meaningful way.

Update: Greenhouse uses the term "apocryphal" in her article, signifying that the story was not true. Yet she builds her call to action on mythology, which is the point.

Heh: It appears that Greenhouse was using the wrong version of the bill for her article. I can sympathize with that fault, because many of us on Saturday had trouble sorting through the various versions being linked by news organizations, until Allahpundit resolved the problem. If Greenhouse had read HotAir or here, she would have been alerted to the problem.

Related Post:
Saturday Night Card Game (The Arizona Immigration Bill Is Not Racist)

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  1. This is just another example of the unhinged left making insulting and inappropriate allusions. To associate enforcing the immigration laws, to fighting Nazi atrocities is repugnant. Someone needs to teach these morons what the Holocaust was. Maybe those on the left should go visit the Holcaust museum in Washington DC and learn the real history and implementation of genocide. Heaven forbid though that those nutcases would actually go to Jerusalem and visit Yad Vashem. But their psychies can't assimilate that, its just disassociative for them as they might actually learn that their entire world view is inane.

  2. Linda Greenhouse writing while feeling instead of thinking. A sad and sorry sight in the New York Times of course. All the fit that's shnews to print. (Say that three times quickly.)

  3. Linda Greenhouse's ravings have long pushed her off the NYT Op-Ed except as an occasional Nina Totenberg without plagiarism on her resume.

    When I read or hear of nonsense like Greenhouse in the NYT, I laugh as I recall Bill Keller's remark about Rupert Murdoch's being "corrosive." Pot/Kettle---and Murdoch's kettle at the WSJ now cooks almost 3X as much as Keller's shrinking pot at the NYT.

  4. As you say professor, the new law in AZ is not the issue. The issue is the lack of enforcement of existing laws by the feds whose primary constitutional duty is to provide for the national security of this country.

    A country that can't control its borders is not secure. A government that refuses to control the borders is guilty criminally abdicating its main reason for being and should be taken down.

  5. The issue is replacing the current electorate, which the progressives/liberals/democrats don't like, with one that will vote them in over and over. An electorate that can be bought with other people's money. Divide and conquer. Sound like the kind of country you would want to live in?

  6. I find it hilarious that all the usual talking heads on the left have no idea what reasonable suspicion is in regards to stopping someone by the police. I am in my 3rd semester studying criminal justice at Corning Community College, which the Professor can verify is a tiny school in the middle of nowhere. By mid-terms of my first semester I had to be able to define reasonable suspicion given different situations.

    Given that most of the MSM and the left-leaning media never bother with sharing those details it really is amusing the controversy this law is creating. I bet the da Prez is even thankful that Governor Brewer was nice enough to dump the crisis of the week in his lap. Especially, when he wants to do push through Wall Street reform so quickly.

  7. I think that Arianna Huffingglue and Jon Stewrat .. and Al not very Sharpton should all move to the AZ Mex border .. I really dew ...

  8. With all due respect, the quote you beat on did use the word "apocryphal" when discussing the story of the Danish king. Last time I checked, that word meant: "probably not true, but widely believed to be true".

    Seems to me the author is somewhat correct about the Arizona law. It does have a bit of the "where are your papers" odor to it and does provide powers to the police that can be easily abused. I live in Texas and my wife is a Thai immigrant. She waited in line and is now a citizen. I abhor illegal immigration. That does not mean I want to live in anything resembling a police state whether it is run by Dear Leader Obama or a bunch of populist conservative idiots at the state level.

  9. Like swanspirit said, Linda should join them. If you want to talk the talk, walk the walk. Move into a tent out on the range with only yourself for personal protection. Like most liberals who believe in the "Dances with the Wolves" meme, become that leader among those oppressed masses you opine to defend.

    No, she choses to boycott, and stay in NYC, a city made safe by another Republican mayor insisting people obey the law.

  10. There are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and race-baiting. Typical leftist fear-mongering about what appears to be a carefully crafted law, based upon nothing more than a prejudiced view of law enforcement officials. And I thought we were in the "post-racial" era.

    I agree with you dailytimewaster, the leftists know the agenda is failing, and they fear the ultimate deportation of illegal immigrants because it reduces the number of future Democrat voters if amnesty gets passed. And if this is such a horrible law that will be abused by "racist cops", then this should be a boon to the Lib.s most loyal base- the trial attorneys!

    And finally I would ask people who think like Greenhouse and others (Eugene Robinson at WaPo), why is being asked to see ID if one is here legally a more heinous burden than living in perpetual fear of dying violently at the hands of gang members and drug warriors?

  11. She wasn't even looking at the bill as it was signed into law.

    That's a simple fact that should be harped on over and over.

  12. If all current residents of Mexico heed the words of Linda Greenhouse, and join her in staying out of Arizona, she will be a true hero of the right.

  13. I think we are overlooking the upside here:

    If you pass some kind of law against criminal immigrants, Linda Greenhouse won't come to your state. Say those words again out loud.

    Think about that... a little legislation and your home state becomes to leftists like salt to slugs.

    With a little fine tuning, you could write laws
    which would keep all sorts of annoying Stings, Damons, Gores, and Obamas from ever darkening your door again.

    The possibilities they are endless.

  14. "Because I’m not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state" ... Is she also staying away from AMTRAK?!?


    "Recent news that AMTRAK is increasing security on its trains as well as stories that DHS agents are profiling "foreign-looking" AMTRAK passengers and demanding to see identity documents serves as a reminder to permanent residents to always carry their green cards with them. "

    It is frightening that someone who is the Times legal correspondent can be so IGNORANT of existing Federal law, and not aware that Arizona is doing nothing more than what the Federal Government already has been doing (in a lackluster, failed way) for years.

  15. I speak here as a foreigner and also one who has visited both USA and Canada. In 1984-85 when we were living in the USA for a time, each time we crossed into Canada we had to provide our "papers" - our passports - and we were searched. This also included the time when my American relatives were in our car.

    Last year when we visited the USA and Canada, we went through the immigration process. The declarations and procedures were simple, and not all that arduous at all. However, when we crossed into Canada by train we had to not only give in the declaration form, and produce our passports, but my husband had to produce proof of our intention to leave again!! This also happened to the German family in our carriage and the Canadian who had been living and working in the USA. He was also grilled about his intentions!!!!!

    When we lived in Fairborn OH we were asked for the SSN which of course we did not have. We were asked for it each time we gave over a cheque and I remember being asked when purchasing my groceries at the base. We did not have an international license to drive but used our Australian licenses instead. We used the number on the driver's license to form the SSN!!!!!!!
    It was only a means of identification so we were not behaving in a fraudulent way.

    From what I have read about the Arizona law it is not arduous at all. It does not mean that Mexicans are going to be picked on and asked for their papers.

    Compare that to the situation in Mexico where Illegal immigration is treated in a very severe way.... what are these lefties howling about?

  16. How about this as a response to the leftists and their "I could be illegal" pseudo-argument?

    "I could be Cuban"

  17. Re: AMTRAK

    When we started our train journeys from NYC we had to pick up our tickets from AMTRAK Penn Station. The tickets were ordered in advance in Australia. A friend of ours picked up the tickets and we were supposed to provide our passports as proof of identity.

    Our train journey started in NYC and from there we took the train to Hartford where we stayed for a week, then from Hartford we traveled to Albany via Springfield (that station is a real dive), then from Albany (the best station) we traveled to Montreal. The border was in the middle of nowhere. From Montreal we traveled across Canada to Vancouver by train. Then from Vancouver we traveled to Los Angeles by train. We had to produce our documentation at the border on the way to our overnight stay in Seattle. The American side of this process was not as bad as the Canadian side. No badgering questions. Everywhere we went we had to show our passports upon request... just like we did in 1984-85.

    Therefore it is no surprise to me that AMTRAK is tightening up a bit and requesting the ID. I guess there has been too many threats to blow up trains and stations in recent months.

  18. do you know what apocryphal means? Greenhouse wasn't saying the Danish king story was true, she was saying it is a myth, as you point out.

  19. Coming from the Balkans where we had our own share of legalized bigotry gone wild a couple of decades ago, I'm kind of appalled by the U.S. public support for this measure. I live in Arizona where the public is split on the issue (some integrated Hispanic people actually support the law), and while I also dislike some of the liberal hyperbole, my activist colleagues have documented that enforcement of immigration laws has been anything but professional. Therefore I have reasonable grounds to believe that, whatever the intent and legal grounds for the law, its effect will be one of fairly arbitrary racially based harassment. I assume you would oppose a law that explicitly gives police the right to harass people of undesirable origin. I am wondering, are there other criteria which would lead you to conclude that law enforcement should yield to human rights concerns? Specifically, would you, as a legal scholar, consider judging a law by its likely effect on a given population (given past and present practice and prevailing political and cultural attitudes of enforcement officials, should such data be available), rather than by its stated intent or purported federal mandate?

  20. Miranche: "... where we had our own share of legalized bigotry gone wild a couple of decades ago, I'm kind of appalled by the U.S. public support for this measure."

    In other words, you have no valid opinion on the matter.

    Miranche: "... I live in Arizona where the public is split on the issue ... "

    And, you're disingenuous.

  21. Ilion, I don't see how my origin makes me unable to have a valid opinion on the matter or how living in Arizona makes me disingenious. I may guess, but seeing that you have provided no backing for your claims, there is nothing for me to respond to. We all have strong opinions on these matters, and as reasoned discussion is central to a democracy, I asked the author for an explanation. If you have a reasoned reply I'm all ears. On the other hand, if you think that me disagreeing with the prevailing opinions of this blog somehow makes it ok to insult me, just go ahead and knock yourself out.