Sunday, October 24, 2010
Arizona Immigration Law (II)
States legislators in support of the measure echoed similar sentiments arguing they did what they had to in the face of the federal government’s indifference. Arizona was merely complimenting (but not contradicting) federal policy and/or filling a void where no policy existed. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Study Committee inferred, "States like Arizona should not have to act on their own, but Washington's decades of neglect for border security leave them no choice."
Meanwhile, Critics of the law were just as passionate in their opposition to the bill. First, President Obama’s administration, one of the harshest opponents of Arizona SB-1070, wasted no time bringing an action suit against the state of Arizona seeking an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect. Second, at least four pending lawsuits against the Arizona law sought similar ends, one of which was allowed to move forward after a federal judge threw out a challenge by Gov. Jan Brewer and others. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a detailed ruling denying the governor’s motion to dismiss the claims. In her ruling, she found that the plaintiffs, led by the Phoenix advocacy group Friendly House and the American Civil Liberties Union had enough ground to bring the lawsuit. Similarly, Mexico also challenged the measure and so have civil libertarians, arguing the new policies violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment as well as the Fourth Amendment's search-and-seizure clause.
Furthermore, opponents of the measure refer to it as a “vague law” due largely to the obscure language used to write the law. Term such as “reasonable suspicion” as police discretion is a perfect example since the lack of specificity in the language casted too wide a net and may help target innocent citizens unfairly. Other scholars argued the vagueness of the law may even --as it pertained to a highly critical Hispanic press-- provided government the tools to target and harass individuals deemed as nuisances; hence, a chilling effect preventing the exercise of their freedom of expression or contributions to the marketplace of ideas. The Obama administration hopes its aggressive actions against Arizona will send a strong message and deter states such as South Carolina and Texas, among many, from considering their own version of Arizona SB-1070.
As the United States vs. Arizona makes its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 1, “I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary,” exclaimed the governor vowing to appeal Judge Bolton’s ruling. Much to the contrary, the federal government is allocating and utilizing all of its resources to ensure that the immigration debate does not go down that slippery slope: actions that could unleash unprecedented ripple effects throughout the states, or worse, erode the federal government’s preemptive supremacy.
Discussions around the Arizona Act unveiled various interesting opinions. Some looked to Aristotle and his golden mean argument in pursuit of a balancing act. Others vehemently reject Gov. Brewer’s campaign as a political stunt fueling an already highly divided, saturated atmosphere. Still, other people highlighted the judicial process to frame their arguments for or against the Arizona measure. For instance, some feared that the failure to carefully weigh the competing interests of Arizonians against those of the greater society while taking into account the role of the federal government might cause certain states to target individuals unfairly. A system of checks and balances, argued some members, is a necessary tool to ensure that states do not abuse their power.
In addition, many concerned citizens stated while it was important to consider the rights of American citizens, it was equally important to consider their lives as it relates to the economic health of particular states. Jobs offered to illegal immigrants, they argued, are jobs denied to American citizens and could potentially raise unemployment rates; hence making life miserable for Americans. While some members of the press conceded the necessity for immigration reforms were long overdue, they also highlighted the importance of a comprehensive approach to ensure uniformity in the application of the law. Those analysts perceive the problem as a breakdown in society rather than a problem of particular ethnic groups.
In spite off obvious disagreements on immigration issues, two ideologically consistent views emerged from the discussions: a consensus on the supremacy of the US Constitution and the importance of the judicial process in ensuring careful analysis of a problem by qualified and trained professionals before the application of any piece of arbitrary legislation.
1) Nill, A. (Producer). (2010). Social and economic justice. [Web]. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/14/arizona-poll-immigration/
2) Bloomberg, M. (2010, April 28). How Arizona new immigration law will hurt America: mayor Michael Bloomberg assails the new immigration statute. New York Daily news, Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/04/28/2010-04-28_how_arizonas_law_will_hurt_america_mayor_michael_bloomberg_assails_the_new_immig.html.
3) Gladiel, P. (2005, July 6). Jobs Americans won'd do? An open letter to president George w. bush. Retrieved from http://vdare.com/gadiel/050706_letter.htm.
4) Markon, Jerry, & McCrummen, Stephanie. (2010, July 29). Arizona immigration law sb 1070 - judge blocks some sections.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/28/AR2010072801794.html.
5) NEPA Conservative , Initials. (2010, April 30). Arizona versus federal immigration law. Retrieved from http://news-political.com/2010/04/30/arizona-versus-federal-immigration-law/.
6) Archibold, R. C. (2010, April 23). The new york times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/us/politics/24immig.htmlGerson, M. (2010, April 29). The washington post. Retrieved from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/04/why_conservatives_should_oppos.html