General Question

majorrich's avatar

Is the immigration law in Arizona similar to the States Rights argument that led to the American Civil War? Are we headed for another Civil War?

Asked by majorrich (14711points) May 17th, 2010

We essentially have an open border with Mexico and it appears Mexicans are pouring through to the United States to take advantage of our welfare systems Medical care jobs and many other advantages of American citizenship. The Federal Government is charged with securing the border and is failing miserably at it. Arizona has finally decided to enact a State law to protect themselves. With all the Federal and media backlash has this turned into an argument over states rights as happened before the Civil War? Is this the kind of issue that can be so polarizing so as to trigger another Civil War?

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27 Answers

wilma's avatar

I thought that the AZ, state laws were very much like the Federal laws, and were mostly a way to reinforce them.

gorillapaws's avatar

AZ has the right to pass any legislation they want, so long as it doesn’t violate the Federal constitutionally protected liberties that it’s legal US Citizens are guaranteed. For example, AZ can’t pass legislation that would ban reporters from writing articles that promote illegal immigration (even though it’s arguable that such a measure might result in reduced illegal immigration).

marinelife's avatar

No, Arizona will not secede.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

They’re not coming here to take advantage of our welfare systems. They come here because they can get work. When they get sick, they don’t have any place else to go, so they go to emergency rooms. Nobody is cutting them welfare checks. Take away the jobs, and you take away the incentive to cross the border. If you concentrate your law enforcement efforts there, you take care of the problem. No reason to do it on the streets, one illegal at a time. How cost-effective could that possibly be, when there are 11 million illegals in the U.S.?

States’ rights was last discussed extensively during the Civil Rights movement. It didn’t get Maddox, Wallace,, anywhere. Article VI of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment effectively limit states’ rights to diddly; if the Federal government wants to do something, the 10th Amendment seldom gets in the way. I think AZ is arguing that the Federal government wants to do nothing, but that’s a false premise; ICE has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2006, and border crossings are down since then.

AZ is flipping Washington the bird and daring them to do something about it. If the Republicans were still in control there, everything else could be the same, and AZ wouldn’t have lifted a finger, certainly not the one they’ve got flipped at Obama. That’s the only thing this farce is about.

Nullo's avatar

This (well, this and a few dozen other tension-builders that we have floating around) certainly could start another civil war, but I don’t think that illegal immigration was at all the cause of the first one.

missingbite's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex Tell the victims of violence in AZ that this is just a farce to get to Obama. AZ has one of if not the highest crime rates in the country mainly due to illegal immigrants and those who support them. Not all the crime but a large portion of it. If you don’t believe me, come on down and hang out in Phoenix. You will see what is happening.

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite please explain how passing a law that is unquestionably unconstitutional, isn’t politically motivated. I certainly don’t deny that illegal immigration is a major problem. However if a loved-one or myself were a “victim of violence,” I would be seriously pissed off that my politicians were clowning around with legislation that will get struck down by the courts rather than figuring out measures that will actually help fix the problem (such as targeting the businesses that hire illegals as @IchtheosaurusRex has suggested).

missingbite's avatar

@gorillapaws We should be targeting businesses that hire illegals. Have you read the law? I’m not so sure it’s unconstitutional. It may be, but it may not be as well. Time and the courts will tell. It is by far not unquestionably unconstitutional. What AZ has done is brought the problem to the national stage. (where it belongs) That is a good thing. That will help.

Please explain how you think it is unconstitutional. If I am caught driving 75 in a 50, don’t I have to show a drivers license? That license is my proof of citizenship if issued by most states. Not all but most. The idea that some people will be stopped just for taking their kids out for ice cream is an out right, down and dirty LIE. Obama knew it when he said it and neither he nor his AJ had even read the law. That is a joke! It’s 10 pages. How about we read the law before we say its unconstitutional.

Nullo's avatar

Depending on how things go, this could set off a war between the United States and Mexico. Given the state of things in Mexico, it would most likely feature tactics similar to those that we’re seeing in Afghanistan.

@missingbite Haven’t you heard? It’s unfashionable to actually read bills these days. Especially if you’re voting on them.

missingbite's avatar

@Nullo How correct you are about the bills. If the border town violence and drug cartels in Mexico don’t settle down, we may very well end up with a military showing. They will eventually end up in our towns. It is very dangerous in many of these areas.

PupnTaco's avatar

@missingbite: check your facts re AZ’s crime rate compared to other states:

missingbite's avatar

@PupnTaco Check your date. Those were from ‘06.

missingbite's avatar

Here is an article a little closer to today and it’s still a year old. Link

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If it does come to a confrontation with Mexico, it will be like 1916 all over again. US troops occupying northern Mexico and imposing martial law, as Wilson and Pershing did. The Mexican governments inability to control the drug cartels and illegal crossings is as much a provocation today as Pancho Villa’s activities of 95 years ago. It’s all a matter of how the US wants to officially interpret things. Arizona may be trying to influence US foreign policy as much as defying the current administration. A “zone of occupation” in northern Mexico might be beneficial to Arizona’s economy.

PupnTaco's avatar

@missing bite: that’s only about a specific kind of kidnapping, not all crime as you inferred.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@missingbite , I’m sorry for Phoenix’s troubles, but there are better ways of dealing with them than passing a bad law that has no chance of ever being enforced. My understanding is that there’s a lot of crime related to the drug trade in Phoenix. These are not migrant farm workers or domestics, now, are they?

National statistics show that immigrants, legal or otherwise, actually commit fewer crimes than citizens.

missingbite's avatar

@PupnTaco Keep looking. That was one kind. There are more examples. Study up and you will see what we are facing. Don’t just let the media and the AJ (who hasn’t read the bill) convince you it’s unconstitutional.

@IchtheosaurusRex Again. If you read the bill you will see that it mirrors and is even more restrictive about racial profiling than the Federal law. A good portion of the drug trade is by illegals and almost all of the kidnappings are done by illegals some of which are to illegals. What are your better ways? Ranchers are being murdered, car jacking are going up, robberies are up. All of this can be attributed to a poor economy and an over population of illegals. It’s like the broken window theory of NY. It’s a lot easier to commit a crime if you are already a criminal. The simple fact that they are here illegally makes them criminals. Your theory of them committing fewer crimes is a false hood. They are breaking the law just by crossing the border and continue to break the law and cost taxpayers money every day they stay. I’m sorry. That is a fact. Now I know some will say we need them for work that Americans won’t do. Fine, have the Federal Government set up a worker program. I have been wanting every administration for the last 20 + years to do this. They won’t. Why, they want the votes and are too afraid to not be politically correct.

Why should a German citizen have to spend years and hundreds of dollars to become a citizen when others just cross the border because they can?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@missingbite , you’re talking about violent crime, not the simple act of being here illegally. The murders and kidnappings you speak of are being committed by people who are involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities. Being in the country illegally is just one more crime among many. The vast majority of illegals in this country are just trying to make a living at menial jobs that citizens and legal residents don’t take, often because the people who employ them are unscrupulous and wouldn’t meet minimum wage and OSHA requirements. A guest worker program wouldn’t fix that, as the employers are breaking the law, too.

This is my source on the crime statistics. Feel free to comment. As to the reading of the law, the courts will study the language, but I don’t think it will save it from an injunction.

missingbite's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex The vast majority of the illegal’s may be here just looking for work. Read this link that states “Border Patrol confirmed that the day before the Arizona rancher was found murdered they had seized 290 pounds of marijuana and apprehended eight Mexican nationals on the property” So your theory that “The murders and kidnappings you speak of are being committed by people who are involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities” is correct and some of these people are illegals. Those murders and kidnappings and drug dealing are being committed by citizens as well. Once you add that the illegals are here illegally, in my mind that makes it worse.

Your idea that a guest worker program wouldn’t fix the problem is also a incorrect. Once you establish who these immigrants work for through the guest worker program you can determine what they are being paid and how much they are working.

If you feel so strongly in favor of the illegal immigrants, are you not also concerned about the many that die in the desert or in the back of the trucks while they are being smuggled in? A guest worker program would stop the majority of that as well.

Again, I don’t think the law is unrealistic or unconstitutional. AZ is simply trying to secure its state the best way it knows how. Since the Federal Government doesn’t want to do anything but call the law racist without reading it, I side with AZ.

Nullo's avatar

The AZ immigration law only permits police to ask for papers, and that only after someone has done something. Should the officer come to doubt your credentials in the course of, say, writing a speeding ticket, or interrupting a felony, he can ask for documentation. It’s rather like the probable-cause business that they use to justify searching your car.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@missingbite , can you go back through my posts one by one and show me the part where I said I feel strongly in favor of illegal immigrants? Please take a minute to read them each very carefully and tell me where I said that. Once you’ve done that, post the results.

You believe I am in favor of illegal immigration because I don’t like this law? That’s what’s called a false dichotomy. I don’t like illegal immigration at all. It sucks weenie that people wait years to get a green card when others just overstay their visas or sneak across the border and nothing happens to them. I don’t like that situation in the least.

What I don’t like is bad law. Bad law is what gets struck down in the courts and ends up costing people money and grief. Bad law is what creates wedge issues. Bad law is what this is, because it’s going to run afoul of legal precedents that date back to the late 1960s. When it gets struck down by the Supreme Court, what then? Politicians pissing and moaning about activist judges! We Need Law and Order Dammit! Strap on your guns and go kill some liberals! Arizona is an open-carry state, right?

And incidentally, we already have a guest worker program. It’s called H1-B, and I would revoke it in a heartbeat if I could. It’s just another form of indentured servitude that doesn’t benefit anybody except the big companies that keep lobbying Congress to raise the caps.

missingbite's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex No need to re-read your posts as you are correct. You never said that. I read into your post and should have known better. For that I apologize.

I also know what a false dichotomy is and don’t believe this is an either or situation. It’s not right or wrong. I asked you for your ideas how to solve our problem and all I hear is this law is bad. Sorry.

As for H1-B, I would agree that it lowers wages for the NON-IMMAGRANT visa holder it is hardly “another form of indentured servitude.” It requires at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Any idea what some professionals in other countries make?

As for Goehring, we have idiots everywhere. He said he hit share by mistake. Who knows what to believe.

Yes, AZ is open carry and in about 90 days Conceal Carry for anyone who can legally own a gun. No license required. Thank you Gov. Jan Brewer. One more freedom back that was taken away in the name of progress.

Again, I apologize for assuming you were pro illegal immigration. It’s rare to have a debate like we have had and actually had common ground. It’s also very difficult to read intent and I tried to do that. I should know better.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@missingbite , the problem with H1-B is that your visa turns into a pumpkin if you don’t want to stay with the company that’s sponsoring you. That’s not quite the same as the indenture we had in the early American colonies, but it’s close enough. If you can’t leave the outfit you work for without being deported, you’re basically a slave.

That’s the same situation most illegals are in, except they get paid a lot less.

missingbite's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I guess we will disagree on H1-B. While not perfect, it is usually a lot better than the conditions the skilled worker comes from. This is exactly why a guest worker program if set up correctly would be great. Many companies in AZ and CA alone are hiring illegals at slave wages. That is wrong and I think you and I agree on that. If we know where these illegals are working the government can control how much they pay and how they work. At that point if company A does better than company B, the worker can pick and choose which company they like better.

Let’s not forget that as crass as this may sound, these are not American citizens. They still come here for a reason. As poorly as we like to think they have it, it is usually MUCH better than where they came from or they wouldn’t come. Have you ever been to Monclova, Mexico or Torreon, Mexico or Aguascalientes, Mexico? Not the best places to live. I have seen most of Mexico and let me promise you, it’s not Cancun.

We are a little off topic as the question was about the law. I guess we will disagree here as well and only time will tell who is right. If we follow the law in AZ, create a guest worker program that shuts down companies that take advantage of hard working illegals, and deport the illegals that are here committing crimes like the Salvadorian that killed Chandra Levy in DC, America will be a better, stronger place. (sorry for the grammar in the last sentence)

Anyway, the debate has been fun and I have enjoyed it. Good luck!

harryf's avatar

I agree we should target the businesses that hire people illegally in the country, with a
mandatory punishment and fine, ever increasing for each subsequent violation.
I also think we should change the laws to become a US citizen. Either a person must go through the naturalization process or have a parent that is already a US citizen. No more giving amnesty to people that violate our laws just to sweep the problems under the rug.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@harryf , the idea of an amnesty program for people who’ve been flouting the law rankles just about anybody. The problem is, what is the alternative? There are some 11 million people in this country illegally. Many of them have been here for decades and have children who are U.S. citizens (“Anchor Babies” is the term the Arizona wingnuts use for them). There is simply no way to round up any significant percentage of these people and deport them. So what do we do with them?

You obviously want to get rid of the worst – the drug smugglers, the violent offenders. But for the rest, the only possible solution is to find some way to integrate them into society. Make them pay a fine, get sponsors, something or another – I don’t know what – but if you can’t send them back across the border, you’ve got to do something else with them.

Nullo's avatar

@harryf The Arizona law does target employers.

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