Thursday, July 29, 2010

Both sides claim victory in Arizona immigration ruling



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


Finally a court ruling both sides can live with. At least for the moment.

Seemingly everyone is happy with a federal court ruling striking down portions of the new Arizona immigration law which took effect today.

The law was designed to give local cops the authority to enforce government immigration regulations. In other words - stop and arrest illegal immigrants.

The federal government challenged the new law - arguing that its not within the purview of the states to enforce federal law. As a result, several key components of the law were ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The other side will now appeal. Bringing us exactly where we would be if the feds had lost. As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer explains, no matter who won, the other side would have appealed.

The spin over the ruling is quite interesting.

FAIR - the Federation for American Immigration Reform - called U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's ruling "a step forward." This in spite of the fact that FAIR supported the law.

The ACLU, which opposed it, similarly called Bolton's ruling "an important and critical first step."

This may be the first time in history that FAIR and the ACLU have agreed on anything.

Of course, this is where the agreement ends. The details, naturally, show the differences.

The ACLU says this is just the beginning in the fight against oppressive tactics by police.

"I can tell you from first-hand experience that the reactionary forces that have been pushing this law will stop at nothing to see it enacted," said Vivek Malhotra, ACLU advocacy and policy counsel.

“The sad reality of Judge Bolton’s ruling is that law-abiding Arizonans will have to continue to endure the effects of the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws,” FAIR President Dan Stein said. “Arizonans will continue to face billions of dollars in costs, overburdened schools and hospitals, and violent crime that is associated with the federal government’s non-enforcement policy."

Fair enough FAIR - but here's my question. Why, in Arizona's desire to get the federal government to enforce its own laws, must it violate civil liberties in the process? Are there not other ways of approaching this problem besides saddling local and state cops with the unenviable burden of trying to determine who is here illegally - then question them and demand their papers?

Surely the intent of the Arizona legislature was not to put law abiding U.S. citizens of Latino heritage in the position of having to carry proof of citizenship? Of being questioned just because of the color of their skin or their accent?

Why are these two desires - one for a secure border - the other for the maintenance of civil liberties - so mutually exclusive? Can't we have both?

I'll answer that last question myself. We must have both. Arizona lawmakers should go back to the drawing table and rewrite the law with this in mind.

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