Borders, boots and bearing arms

As Michael Barnett points out, government can’t do anything efficiently, at least not without spending enormous amounts of tax dollars and violating our rights.  The border wall is one example of a project the Federal government will never be able to complete to anyone’s satisfaction: for closed-border advocates, it won’t be effective in keeping out illegal immigrants; for open-border supporters, it will be a monument to government waste and tyranny.  The only way it might work at a reasonable price (reasonable for government, anyway) is to put a lot of armed guards along the wall.

Arizona is now seriously considering another application of the brute-force approach, in the form of a “papers, please” shakedown of anyone who doesn’t look, well, legal:

The Arizona House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a wide-ranging bill that, if signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, would cement the state’s reputation as the leader in tough and controversial immigration-control measures.

Senate Bill 1070 would, among other things, make it a state crime to be in the country illegally and bar what its proponents call “sanctuary city” policies.

Most disturbing among the bill’s provisions is granting cops the ability to arrest an immigrant without a warrant if they have “probable cause” to believe the person has committed an offense for which they can be deported.  And inviting an illegal immigrant over for dinner could land even legal residents in hot water, if they know their guest’s immigration status.

Just imagine how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who holds illegal immigrants, criminals and civil liberties in equal disdain, might utilize these new powers.  Given that his uniformed thugs already routinely round up Mexicans in sweeps and were so abusive of their authority that ICE stripped the sheriff of some of his immigration enforcement powers, the Arizona legislature has effectively granted Arpaio a license to perform “enforcement” actions akin to ethnic cleansing.  The state will protect you from the brown menace!  And never mind the boot on your neck.

It’s all the more outrageous for the fact that it’s so unnecessary.  The same week the Arizona House was debating this evil bill, Governor Jan Brewer signed a far more laudable measure that will do more to improve her citizens’ safety than an entire file cabinet of anti-immigration statutes: allow residents to carry a concealed weapon without a license.  If Arizona residents are truly worried about violence from Mexico’s U.S.-backed drug war spilling over the borders, I can’t think of any better security measure than arming themselves.  And Brewer’s spokesman said that the governor did not believe that residents needed permission from the government to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.  I’ll wholeheartedly agree with that!  Now if only she was as consistent on people being free to go about their daily business without being harassed by the cops for having a suspicious skin color.

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  • Say what you will about Sheriff Arpaio, and there is much to say, but he is elected by the people of Maricopa county and accountable to them. ICE cannot strip the Sheriff from enforcing existing immigration laws.

    Also, comparing the arrest and deportation of people that are in the country illegally to genocide is really, really stupid. Whatever position one takes on the issue.

    • “he is elected by the people of Maricopa county and accountable to them.”

      Indeed he is, although I fail to see how that refutes my assessment of him or the immigration bill. But your argument is a familiar one: elected officials can be bad, but it’s up to the people to do something about it! The fact that the voters of Maricopa County continue to keep a thug like Arpaio in office is hardly a ringing endorsement of democracy.

      “ICE cannot strip the Sheriff from enforcing existing immigration laws.”

      Sure they can. For better or worse, immigration laws are created and enforced by the Federal government. ICE has been recruiting and training local LEOs to carry out immigration enforcement activities. Arpaio overstepped his bounds by carrying out raids in cities where he does not have primary jurisdiction. Therefore, ICE told him he couldn’t do that anymore, not that he seems to be listening.

      In any case, the new bill does give him authority to arrest illegals, so it has interesting implications for federalism, but it doesn’t change my argument.

      “comparing the arrest and deportation of people that are in the country illegally to genocide is really, really stupid.”

      I sure am glad I didn’t make that comparison then! But maybe you’re conflating genocide with ethnic cleansing. They’re not synonymous.