July 4, 2010

Let's Be Clear: If You Oppose the Recent Changes to the Arizona Immigration Law, You Oppose United States Immigration Law

Monique Chartier

Because, see, the substance of the revisions to the Arizona law make it almost a carbon copy of the federal law. "Almost"; the Arizona law is actually less harsh than the federal law because, unlike with federal law, Arizona officials cannot simply walk up and ask someone for their papers.

And, did you know that the Arizona law includes the following provisions? [Emphasis and editorial comment added.]

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The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.

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The terms of this act regarding immigration shall be construed to have the meanings given to them under federal immigration law. [Again, emphasizing that this law is based upon federal law.]

C. 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.

I point this out both because there has been widespread confusion about the Arizona law, reaching as high as the White House, and for the edification of two Rhode Island candidates in particular: Anthony Gemma, candidate for the first Congressional district and Ken Block, candidate for governor. A transcript of the portion of Mr. Gemma's recent appearance on the WPRO Buddy Cianci Show dealing with the Arizonal law is posted after the jump.

Mr. Gemma is a nice man. But the transcript reveals that he is clearly in way over his head on the matter of illegal immigration: he is unaware that the United States already has in place a path to citizenship (and has had for decades) and he doesn't even understand the concept of birthright citizenship. Yet lacking a full understanding of the issue, he inexplicably proceeds to voice an opinion on it.

And, while Ken Block appears to warily support Governor Carcieri's Executive Order on e-verify, he describes the Arizona law (thank you, Andrew, for attending, recording and transcribing) as "assinine" and "xenophobic".

Shall we take two? Do both of these gentlemen - and everyone who opposes the Arizona law - stand by their reservations now that they are aware that the law is simply a less rigorous version of federal immigration law?

Anthony Gemma, June 21, on the WPRO Buddy Cianci Show.

BC: How do you feel about the bill that was passed in Arizona, that will take effect in July, July 29th, being able to ask an immigrant for their papers once a police feels there’s something suspicious about them, you know, behavior?

AG: Umm

BC: … an immigrant, its not only , any person is asked who’s acting suspiciously, might even be in the process of committing a crime, now, that the law in Arizona says that the cop can ask him for his papers to see if he’s legal or illegal, what do you think?

AG: Well, I think what most people forget, especially around here… I’m, I’m, my grandparents were immigrants, so, I have to say that….

BC: Were they illegal immigrants?

AG: No, they were not, but I have to say that I’m not in favor of, I think the Arizona law goes too far and I think we have to create a rigorous path to citizenship, then secure the borders, and work with Mexico and Canada to make things right.

BC: What do we do with the ones who are already here that are illegal?

AG: I think that we should work to getting them into a path to citizenship so that…

BC: What would that require and how’s, what’s the path?

AG: Ummm

BC: … and I don’t know what it is, do you know what it is?

AG: Well, actually, we’re trying, we’re working it out right now but I would say that checking everyone, ah, umm, out, making sure that getting criminal background checks, and then getting them onto a place where they can work here and pay taxes here, which would be significant for us and for them.

Anchor babies?

BC: How do you feel about the anchor baby legislation, in Arizona that’s being proposed?

AG: Umm, I’m not familiar …

BC: Ok, let me, I didn’t mean to catch you off guard.

AG: No, its quite all right.

BC: But no, the anchor baby, we talked about the other day, I didn’t know about it either, but there’s a law that’s being proposed, saying that if you, if you’re an illegal immigrant, have your kid here, then, you know, the kid is, everyone assumes that its naturalized, that person, that baby is a US citizen. They wanna pass a law in Arizona that says, that isn’t true, uhhh what do you think, is that law ‘Ok?’ I mean it anchors the family here, that’s the problem, that’s what they say the problem is, what do you think?

AG: Well, umm again, I think taking everyone onto a path to citizenship and that, that includes the whole family – ummm whole family unit, so I believe Arizona goes a little too far and it kind of forgets our heritage, forgets what America is built on, we’re a melting pot and we need to remember where we come from and just embrace that. And getting everyone back involved in their government and that includes undocumented residents as well.

ID Cards for Illegal Immigrants?

BC: So, undocumented residents are ‘ok’ you think we should give them an ID card say, go about your business, just stay out of trouble and we’re going to think about having a path to citizenship?

AG: I think that we should do it sooner than later, I think its appropriate and I think most undocumented residents want that,

BC: I’m sure they want it!

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Make no mistake about it, Gemma and Block are two stupid liberals. The just don't get it.
At this point in time, if you haven't read the Arizona law, and fully understand that, at worst, it mirrors federal law, you are an idiot. Or, as a cowardly politician, you are trolling for votes, telling people what you think they want to hear.
The lame rationalization that illegals are just trying to do better for their families, would also apply to a crack dealer looking to make money to buy groceries for his children.
Do we make dealing crack OK, too, you stupid liberals?

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at July 4, 2010 11:43 AM

Very few people, myself included, have either the time or experience to read and completely understand complex legislation.

I suppose if the law is legal, the Supreme Court will eventually determine it so. I may or may not agree with that when the time comes, but that is our system and I will accept it for better or worse.

However, it is pretty amazing that Monique is so sure - probably more sure than the Supreme Court - that this is 100% within the law and consitution, that she can state that as a fact.

Maybe it's me? I was taught to question authority.

Posted by: Stuart at July 4, 2010 11:48 AM

Sticks and Stones, Mike.

The hyper-partisans on RIF are as certain that I am to the right of Dick Cheney as you are that I am as far left as it gets.


Instead of spew, why don't you try to insert something constructive into the dialogue.

Monique -

The AZ law stands NO CHANCE of actually solving the issue of illegal immigration. Implementation of this law would be like trying to empty a pool with a teaspoon.

I do believe that a version of E-Verify with teeth (i.e. substantial penalties for non-compliance and the hiring of illegals) CAN actually stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Take away the jobs, and a large number of the illegals will go elsewhere.

From a pragmatic standpoint, I would much prefer to spend my time, energy and political capital on a plan that will have the largest impact on the problem - that plan is E-verify, and not AZ.

Posted by: Ken Block at July 4, 2010 11:59 AM

Ken, I appreciate your support of e-verify, which is a very important tool because it removes the largest impetus for people to come here and, I agree,

"CAN actually stem the flow of illegal immigrants"

In fact, e-verify, if implemented and enforced, could single-handedly stop about 90% of illegal immigration. (This is how T. Paiva-Weed and other elected officials who refuse to implement it make it patently clear that, far from wishing to stop illegal immigration and all of its negative consequences, they embrace it in a big way and wish, in fact, to encourage ever more of it.)

That doesn't mean that we drop all other tools. Again, the AZ law mirrors federal law. Does your response mean that you feel that federal immigration law, other than e-verify, should be tossed aside?

Posted by: Monique at July 4, 2010 12:37 PM

Actually the Arizona law is neither very long nor very complex. It doesn't establish or authorize sweeps to pick up illegal aliens. Basically the law states that police should establish the status of individuals they come into contact with as a result of a lawful stop, search or arrest related to some other charge if there is reasonable suspicion that such individuals are not lawfully present in the U.S. Establishing the identity of such individuals is standard procedure anyway and the Arizona law specifically states that a valid driver's license is prima facie evidence of lawful presence.

Most of the law is actually directed at those who illegally employ aliens including requiring the use of e-verify.

Frankly the strident opposition to this legislation is baffling considering its rather narrow scope and the fact that it focuses most of its attention exactly where opponents say it should be, on the employer.

Posted by: David P at July 4, 2010 12:57 PM

I mean just what I said.

You have to pick your fights. I choose to focus on fights that directly have a positive impact on the problem at hand.

I don't see the point of fighting the AZ law fight - not from any perspective since the law won't address illegal immigration better than E-Verify - AND may in fact have a large constitutional challenge attached to it.

Posted by: Ken Block at July 4, 2010 1:41 PM

Seeing as how I was on the street (and the border)from 1976 to 1996 as an INS agent I guess I could say something constructive.I have.ad nauseum,and I've noticed how this situation has escalated beyond reason-mainly,but not exclusively from the left.
We won't lose our culture because of illegal aliens.We are the ocean that absorbs everyone.We are the srongest culture in the history of the world.
We aren't racists because we want to deport lawbreakers.We have the right to defend our national security and borders.
I'm done with this issue because we might reap the whirlwind when we didn't have to.
Have a great 4th of July and think how lucky we are to be Americans of every background.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 4, 2010 5:18 PM


You say you don't want to "fight... the AZ law fight" but "assinine" and "xenophobic" sound like fighting words to me. I have to ask if you've read the law because it seems to embody the immigration policies you claim to support. The law requires the use of e-verify as a condition of receiving state economic development assistance and includes a number of measures to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens as well as alien smuggling and transportation. Measures directed at illegal aliens themselves are limited to a misdemeanor offense for failure to carry a federally-mandated alien registration document. Arizona does not presume to deport anyone on its own authority but instead refers illegal aliens to the federal authorities for disposition.

In short the Arizona law should be a model for a sensible federal immigration policy. First establish control of the problem through strengthened border security as well as more effective enforcement of labor laws. If illegal aliens cannot obtain employment or public assistance, the majority of them will leave of their own accord. Once the federal government convinces the public that it can control immigration we can have a rational debate about the level of legal immigration required to sustain our economy as well as the use of temporary work visas and possibly some form of amnesty to address the issue of whatever illegal aliens remain in the country.

But it is critical that the government first demonstrate its ability to control the border. After the 1986 immigration reform fiasco I see no reason to trust the government with any form of amnesty in the absence of real results in immigration enforcement.

Posted by: David P at July 5, 2010 3:57 AM

"Let's Be Clear: If You Oppose the Recent Changes to the Arizona Immigration Law, You Oppose United States Immigration Law."

I oppose United States Immigration Law. Immigration law says x number of people can immigrate. Americans have given jobs to some 10x immigrants, to give American consumers what American consumers have made clear to them they want. I'm with the American business owners (and the American consuming public) and against the government. Therefore, I oppose United States Immigration Law. Let's be clear.

Sheriff Arpaio has actually been at it for a few years now. It's been a disaster. Since he made immigration his job, it now takes his department twice as long to respond to 911 emergency phone calls. It gives thiefs, murderers, and rapists more time to get away. What does it say about a people who sacrifice their safety (by giving thiefs, rapists and murderers more time to get away) but go after people who want to work (and who by working are helping our economy).

Please be clear. Why do you think it's better to give thiefs, rapists and murderes more time to get away?

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 5, 2010 9:56 PM

Sorry for those multiple postings. I was having some trouble. Here's what was happening in Maricopa Country before sb1070. There will be more of that to come.


Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 5, 2010 10:04 PM

Arturo-I think you mentioned that you came here as an immigrant when we were debating the DREAM Act a few years ago.I don't recall if you stated where you came from,but listen up-wherever that is and any other country in the world for that matter has immigration laws.If you know of one that doesn't please enlighten me.
Not having immigration laws is like not having traffic laws.
BTW,what is your thought about legal immigrants who commit serious(or multiple) crimes?They are deportable(I arrested hundreds of them)based on their convictions.Would you give them a pass?
If and when you become a citizen(unless you already have)vote for politicians who agree with you,like David Segal.Until then,you can be against the law all you want,but it prevails.
regulating naturalization(which by definition includes immigration)is a duty of the Federal government in the Constitution.
I'm not sure that states can criminalize immigration violations,but they certainly can criminalize identity fraud.
States can however,assist Federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration laws.
If you believe in open borders,you're in the wrong country.In this day and age,that is suicidal.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 5, 2010 11:29 PM

Joe, are you asking me if I oppose Mexico's Immigration law. Yes, I oppose it. If I lived in Mexico, I'd say it often. Monique thinks it's scandalous, unpatriotic, to oppose United States Immigration law.

When the federal government says we can allow x number of people to immigrate, but American business owners are giving jobs to 10x that, to give American consumers what they value, that's bad immigration law. I oppose that law, like I would appose lowering the speed-limit on the highway to 10 miles per hour.

I want to know what you think. Since Sheriff Arpaio shifted his focus to immigration and away from theft, rape and murder, it takes his department longer to respond to 911 emergency phone calls, giving more time to thiefs, rapists and murders to get away? Why go after people who want to work (and who by working are helping our economy) and give thiefs, murders, and rapists more time to get away? And why is Arpaio so popular when he's done that.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 6, 2010 1:09 AM

Arturo-immigration problems encompass a lot more thaan people coming here to work.
I've often stated that most illegal aliens are individually pretty benign,and are mostly coming here for jobs.That said,in the aggregate,they aren't benign at all.This is an economic issue much more than anything cultural or "racial".At this time with high unemployment and no rosy future for more jobs in sight,an amnesty would be very counterproductive.And then,what?Like after the last amnesty,those "in the shadows"would not take any more substandard wages or conditions lying down,so the employers would hire new illgals.
If the Federal authorities did their job,Arpaio could go back to be a local sheriff.
My view of what police should do vis a vis immigration is this:
(a)utilize the 287(g) program which provides professional trining to local/state officers
(b)concentrate on their classic job-i.e.crime,traffic,emergencies,etc.BUT if in the course of those duties they arrest someone or have someone detained for investigation of a crime,they should not be allowed to overlook the potential violation of immigration laws if they have an articulable reason to suspect such a violation.Police should not be primary enforcers of immigration laws EXCEPT in the case of a felony in their presence,such as an obvious smuggling/transporting situation encountered during a highway stop.
A bunch of people in a van isn't enough absent some other factors.It's too complicated to go into here,but suffice it to say the years I spent working alien smuggling cases gives me a perspective that is hard to impart on a blog.
I can't say it's unpatriotic to oppose immigration laws,but I think it is very ill-considered.Supporting open borders is insane,period.
Arturo-you seem to overlook the issue of criminal aliens and terrorists i your homage to people coming here for work.Even those people are breaking a law or two in the process.
The vast majority of aliens,legal and illegal are not engaged in lawbreaking unrelated to immigration.Probably 10 or 15% of the total,but that's literally millions of criminal aliens.
Terrorists are a much more minute number,but extremely dangerous.
There is more to this immigration debate than the guys in the parking lot at Home Depot.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 6, 2010 8:07 AM

"If the Federal authorities did their job,Arpaio could go back to be a local sheriff."

Actually, the Fedral authorities have done an excellent job by your definition. Not by mine. There really are now very few undocumented immigrants coming to the US to work. I don't have numbers, but my experience tells me a big majority of those crossing the border these days are deportees coming back to their families, and to the place they know as home. Mexicans are not yearning for it like they used to. 1. it's dangerous, 2. our economy sucks, 3 Mexico's growing free-market economy is keeping them there, and 3 Mexican women are having fewer kids (two compared to six 30 years ago).

So it's not the failure of the Federal authorities that's created fascist
Arpaio. Arpaio exists because there are ugly elements in American society (there is ugliness in every society). As we've seen, the fact that in his department thiefs, murderers, and rapists have more time to get away, did not give the people of Arizona pause, it caused them to follow. With more thiefs, rapists and murderers about, it's sure to get uglier.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 7, 2010 1:38 AM

Arturo-whtever you think about Arpaio,it doesn't change the fact that there are millions of alien criminals in the US.Some legally here,others not.
They really are a small fraction of all the aliens here,but "small"is relative-we're talking about maybe 11 or 12 million illegals and many more residents and legal non-immigrants.So the 10-15% that criminals usually amke up in any group of people is a real serious issue.
In addition to controlling the border,we have to deal with the criminal alien problem in a zero tolerance mode.
Only after those two things are done,and only after a viable verification system for employment is in place,should we be discussing other issues.
And Arturo,the Hispanics don't own the immigration issue,although to check the media,you'd never know it.
I think it actually is destructive for people on both sides to portray immigration as an Hispanic issue.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 8, 2010 4:02 PM

"Only after those two things are done...should we be discussing other issues."

It doesn't make sense that we can't discuss the needs of noncriminals until we've eliminated crime completely.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 8, 2010 9:29 PM

"whtever you think about Arpaio..."

It's not about what I think. It's a fact that he's giving thiefs, rapists and murders more time to get away, because he'd rather deal with immigration matters. It's rather important that the people of Arizona want that for all their state.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 8, 2010 10:47 PM

Ken Block,

If you're reading this, I'd never heard of you (I'm in the west coast), but I commend you for not wanting to follow the AZ example. You live in a great State (I've visited). Keep it great!

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 8, 2010 10:59 PM

Arturo-we can't REALLY eliminate criminal aliens,but we can make a much more serious effort than we are doing now.
It's lot more than the Mexican drug gangs.Almost every nationality has a criminal network here.
Independent offfenders are also amajor factor.
PS:It's "thieves".OK.We're not worlds apart on that issue.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 9, 2010 12:39 AM

ok, thieves.

Posted by: arturo fernandez at July 9, 2010 1:53 AM

Thieves=pinche ladrones
Y-necesitamos tambien echar del EEUU asesinos,narcotraficantes,y hombre que violar mujeres y ninos.Verdad?

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 9, 2010 2:58 PM
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