A number of high-profile detractors spoke out this weekend regarding Arizona’s controversial new immigration law - which would make being an undocumented immigrant in the state a crime, and allow police officers to ask anyone “suspected of being an illegal immigrant” for documentation. Rev. Al Sharpton and New York-area Hispanic leaders are planning a protest involving "civil disobedience" when the bill - which President Obama has referred to as “misguided” - goes into effect in late July or August.
"Uncle Al" is big on rhetoric when his name is not in the headline; in fact, he's especially outraged when his name is NOT in the headline.
Al has enough skeletons in his closet that a reasonable person would expect him to have clammed up years ago. But Al has come out of the closet, in the sense that the whole world already knows about his continuing story of misadventures (hint: even the leftist SLATE.COM has commented on the 1987 Tawana Brawley story, undermining Sharptons repeated assertions that "Juries are proven wrong every day".
Now Al is upset because a single state (Arizona) has passed a law stating that "Illegal Aliens are ... illegal".
What's wrong with that?
According to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the law will " ... [require] police to question people about their immigration status — including asking for identification — if they suspect someone is in the country illegally."
For Sharpton, this will lead to "profiling". Essentially, this means that police will focus on people who look ... Hispanic.
Al has a point here. There are 'other than Hispanic' people crossing our borders every day. In order to avoid "profiling", Arizona police should ask every person they see in the streets for identification. They may be Iraqi suicide bombers.
But this is obviously too broad a population sample for local police forces to consider. Yes, an Iraqi suicide bomber is a much greater danger than a man from Oaxaca who just wants a good job picking lettuce in California.
Arizona, though, is facing a crisis. For one thing, there are so any people unlawfully crossing the border to take advantage of American domestic policies ... such as Universal Health Care ... that many hospitals in Arizona have closed their doors; they have more unpaying patients than the paying patients can carry.
A 2003 article from Front Page Magazine says:
Inside the much-celebrated Christmas present to seniors from President Bush and Congress—the $395 billion Medicare package—another stocking stuffer went largely unnoticed, one that gouges the taxpayer yet again to benefit lawbreakers. Hidden within the sweeping reforms to Medicare is a provision that would provide $1 billion in federal funds for illegal immigrant health care. The Medicare bill, which swept through Congress , promises to be a centerpiece in President Bush's re-election plans.A 2008 article from Western Voices World News describes the plight of many states, similar in content, including Arizona:
Arizona, facing a $1 billion state budget shortfall in FY 2004 Southeast Arizona Medical Center- has filed for bankruptcy. Cochise's Copper Queen Community Hospital spends two-thirds of its operating income on uncompensated care for immigrants, a factor administrators say played a role in the hospital's decision to close its long-term care unit. University Medical Center in Tucson loses over $7 million a year caring for immigrants The five largest health care providers in Maricopa County loses over 400 million every year in uncompensated care.
U.S. Immigration Support.ORG reports that between 1990 and 2000:
[The] immigrant influx increased the total number of foreign-born residents in the state to over 650,000. According to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare association, providing care to illegal immigrants costs Arizona hospitals approximately $150 million annually. At least one hospital in Arizona has filed for bankruptcy and is in danger of closing due to uncompensated care for undocumented immigrants. As a solution to the millions of dollars these facilities are uncompensated for hospital administrators of the University Medical Center in Tucson Arizona, are reporting uninsured immigrants who do not pay their medical bills to immigration officials. In one four-month period in 2003, UMC incurred $3.3 million in immigrants’ unpaid bills. At least three Arizona hospitals are sending bill collectors into Mexico to try to obtain payments.The Washington Independent provided another counter-argument to the bill; this is the familiar cry "if Hispanics are victims of crimes, they will be reluctant to report to the police for fear they will be deported".
State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who voted against the bill, said it does nothing to target criminal and violent immigrants, instead jeopardizing the safety of Arizona communities. She brought up an interesting point: If an undocumented immigrant who is being assaulted or mistreated (think domestic violence, mistreatment of working immigrants) were to call the police to report an incident, that immigrant would be forced into custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would be deported for merely reporting abuse. In fact, the abuser could sue a law enforcement office for failing to check the legal status of the victim. Sinema said this creates fear among immigrant communities and limits the ability of officers to catch real criminals.It would be insensitive to suggest that those who are in this country without the benefit of Federal permission are "criminals", merely because they broke the law during their undocumented entry into this country. On the other hand, newspapers have reported a deluge of criminal acts (often violent) by "undocumented aliens".
How is it possible for law-enforcement personnel to determine the difference between those who unlawfully enter this country, and those who unlawfully enter this country and later commit criminal, even violently criminal acts?
If one is willing to break the law merely to be in America, doesn't that suggest a willingness to commit any other crime?
The dictionary defines the noun 'criminal' as:
"A person guilty or convicted of a crime"The dictionary definition of the word "crime" includes:
- an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
- criminal activity and those engaged in it
- any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin
And if you are reluctant to apply the word "guilty" without the supportive conviction ... then this law is designed specifically to find the "guilty" and allow the legal process to "convict" the guilty.
Yes, the law implies that a large number of people will be stopped and required to prove, by virtue of presenting documentation, that they have performed no unlawful act by simply being present here.
Yes, this law brings to mind the scenarios of Nazi Germany where the Gestappo stops a citizen on the streets and mildly asks: "Gif me dein papers, pliz?"
And yes, the concept of being stopped and being asked to present documents is personally repugnant to me. I deplore the necessity, and I sincerely hope that someone will suggest a less intrusive and accusatory method of winnowing the "undocumented immigrants" from lawful citizens.
Delete here a long exposition about the need for people who will "... do the jobs that Americans won't do".
Note that the unemployment rate in America today is only a fraction of the number of "undocumented immigrants", and think it through. I've been unemployed. I've looked for work ... any legal work, including harvest work (which I have done).
... Including production-line work (which I have done).
... Including minimum-wage work (which I have done).
... Including busing tables at a restaurant (which I have applied for, and was very disappointed because someone else was willing to do the job for less pay.)
In fact, the whole concept of "industry needs workers who will accept jobs for less than minimum pay" is bogus. I don't need to define the details, including students who need summer jobs (growing season) and people who have been laid off in a weak economy (O darn!)
You know as well as I do that the emergency rooms in hospitals are the first source of medical care, even something as minor as a cut or a cold, for people who don't have insurance. If they aren't able to pay ... the hospital jacks up the bill of people who CAN pay. That's you, and me, pal.
Last week I paid over $500 for emergency room charges when I had a kidney stone. That's after my "Cadillac Insurance" took care of 90% of the charges. It shouldn't cost me $2000 for an MRI ... but it does.
Sorry, I'm even disappointing myself here, but I am tired of paying for someone else's abuse of the medical system.
And I have no confidence that American National Health System will either make medical treatment more readily available to me ... even though I can pay for it ... or make it more affordable.
The effort to weed out the illegals who are a nonpaying burden on the health system has to stop somewhere.
The influence on medical care is just the most obvious effect of "undocumented migration".
But it's the influence which hits us all directly on the economy, and especially on those states which are closest to our Southern border.
If those border states find it necessary to enact draconian measures, I don't think that Al Sharpton is the most legitimate critic.
I don't much care for the opinion of an east-coast liberal swindler who has made a career out of playing the race card.