Arizona Immigration Law Arguments Come After the Damage is Done

Whatever the outcome for Arizona's deservedly controversial anti-immigration law, the constitutional qualities of which are now being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, much damage will already have been done. My wife's pediatric practice in northern Arizona is located muchas millas from pretty much any kind of medical specialist to whom she might refer cases. Other than the short list of practitioners in Flagstaff, that requires a trip to the Phoenix area, in Maricopa County, or to Tucson, which can really only be reached by driving through Maricopa County. Unfortunately, Maricopa County is ground zero for Arizonan xenophobia, and an excellent place to get pulled over by the police — especially Sheriff Joe's oh-so-dedicated deputies — for driving while suntanned. So a significant number of my wife's patients have chosen to forego that particular gauntlet of crewcut peril and either put off treatment or seek it out of state. In fact, quite a few Hispanic patients and staff alike have decided to leave Arizona entirely because they're just not comfortable in the state anymore — even though many of them were born in the U.S. or are otherwise legal residents.

Numbers you want? Then numbers you shall have. According to a Spanish-language study (PDF) released by the private BBVA Bancomer foundation, in the months after the passage of Arizona's anti-immigration law, which essentally set local law-enforcement loose to stop people on suspicion of the most minor infractions and interrogate them as to their immigration status, 100,000 Hispanics left the state. The Department of Homeland Security estimates the illegal population of Arizona at 360,000 in 2011 (PDF), down from a high of 560,000 in 2008 (PDF).

Of course, if you're a stickler about getting the permission of the local satrap before setting up residence on the other side of an imaginary line on a map, you may think that's all well and good. But it comes at the cost of handing the police extraordinary power to stop people on the flimsiest pretext, demand their papers, run background checks, and otherwise harass the civilian population. The law rode in on a wave of xenophobia that has empowered thuggish populist demagogues like Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce who, ironically, seem to look to Latin American caudillos for their political inspiration.

And all of it unnecessary. Even as the law passed, Americans were managing to make their country a less attractive place to inhabit in all sorts of ways unrelated to Arizona's immigration fetish, and Mexico was becoming a remarkably less sucky place to live. The result has been the end of net migration from Mexico, and possibly an outflow back too the home country. Among those going back was my cleaning lady, who decided that she preferred checking in passengers at Benito Juárez International Airport over slopping out my bathrooms.

Can't really say I blame her.

So we ended up with mass police raids on popular restaurants, small businesses and even rival political agencies to arrest undocumented dishwashers and janitors even as those dangerous criminal types have been flowing back across the Sonoran desert to better job prospects at home.

Arizona's immigration law may sink or swim before the Supreme Court, but the stirred-up resentments, lowest-common-denominator populism and (because we never seem able to step back from this) smirking cops by the side of the road will remain.

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  • SugarFree||

    But, but ILLEGAL Immigrants are breaking THE LAW. ILLEGAL, it's right there in the name!

  • ||

    Circular arguments FTW!

  • Evil Otto||

    Strawman trumps circular argument.

  • ||

    Can we have circular strawmen?

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    I'm not trying to be a dumb fuck here but it may come out that way anyway. If I lived in AZ and my property line ran right along the border, would I be clear to shoot someone line jumping as a trespasser? If yes, doesn't the government have that same right since they can technically claim that they are the property owners for the country?

    I'm not necessarily for or against the current immigration laws, although I do think they could be better.

  • tarran||

    Sure, except the government isn't making that claim.

    Let's say you hire someone to work on your farm... or rent an outbuilding to some guy who wants a place to crash and is willing to pay you $300 a month for the privilege, and I shoot them because they didn't get my permission to be on your land.

    That's what the government is essentially doing. except they don't shoot them, they merely kidnap them.. and occasionally kidnap you for the temerity of doing business with the people they want to kidnap...

  • tarran||

    They will however shoot you if you try to resist the kidnapping.

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    OK, I'll admit I'm not overly familiar with property rights at a federal level or homesteading but isn't the government ultimately the owner of the land the way laws are currently written?

    I agree there need to be better (no?) rules for people who want to come in from another country. How much of what the government is doing now is them getting away with technicalities?

  • Ex Nihilo||

    isn't the government ultimately the owner of the land the way laws are currently written?

    Not necessarily the way they are written, but I would agree it seems to be the way they are enforced. You basically pay a quit-rent to whatever government entity you reside in (town, county, etc.). They own the land via the power of force.

  • Zeb||

    While what you say is true in reality, the government people will never put it that way. That would be showing their hand a bit too much.

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    According to the potentially unreliable Wikipedia, this is how the US does it. Although after reading through that article, I'd agree with Ex Nihilo that they do it poorly.

  • R C Dean||

    Interesting fact:

    All title to land in this country can be traced back to a grant from a sovereign.

  • Evil Otto||

    It's the crime of crossing the border that gives govt the authority to remove and detain people, even those on private property. It's not a property right.

    The sovereign has the authority to enter private property to remove persons wanted for crimes. That's not a new thing.

  • Evil Otto||

    That's what the government is essentially doing. except they don't shoot them, they merely kidnap them

    You gotta love death penalty opponents blurring the line between killing someone and putting them in jail when it suits their purposes.

  • Zeb||

    The government has no claim to owning the whole country.

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    OK, but surely they claim to own all land within a specific distance from the border no?

  • ||

    As long as there is property tax, the government owns all the property in the country. It merely rents it to its "owners".

    It may have no claim, but it owns it anyway.

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    And this is the shit I hate. If I buy a car I pay sales tax and then get stuck paying a yearly excise tax on it just for having it. If I buy a plot of land, I pay a property tax just because I own it. It sucks that there have to be taxes involved just because of ownership.

  • Paul.||

    Epi beats me to it. Yeah, sure you hold the deed to your property, but stop paying property tax on it and see how long it stays your property.

    No one owns shit in this country. We rent it from the government.

  • Evil Otto||

    They don't own the whole country, but they have the authority to enter with or without the permission of the owner in order to arrest someone who has broken the law.

  • Zeb||

    I say what I said in response to the idea that restricting immigration is justified on the grounds of property rights: that the whole country is somehow collectively owned.

    Yes, you are correct that agents of the government can come on my property to arrest someone who has broken the law. I argue that property rights mean that I should be able to employ or have on my property anyone I want to, regardless of what side of an imaginary line they were born on. Not allowing such people (as long as they are not carrying a dangerous disease or are dangerous criminals) on MY property violates my property rights and right to contract.

  • Agammamon||

    At no point in my lifetime have you ever had the right to shoot someone for simple trespassing - As a matter of fact, since most times trespassing is a misdemeanor you don't even have the right to detain them for the police.

  • SDN||

    Obviously you've never bothered to read TX law, where you have exactly the right to shoot trespassers.

  • ||

    Citation needed.

  • ned||

    Brilliant libertarian reasoning. Since the federal government says not to smoke weed or if the health care mandate survives the Supreme Court muster, lets comply with the federal government's every whim...

  • Ex Nihilo||

    The Department of Homeland Security estimates the illegal population of Arizona at 360,000 in 2011 (PDF), down from a high of 560,000 in 2008 (PDF).

    So the law worked. At least in the minds of the people who passed it.

  • Irwin Mann||

    As a resident of Arizona I can assure you that this article is hysterical claptrap.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But the author of the article also lives in Arizona....

    Looks like we got an New Mexican standoff, boys.

  • Just Dropping By||

    Only we ain't got no New Mexicans. (At least I'm assuming you were paraphrasing the best piece of dialogue from Shanghai Noon.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Always down for some Jackie Chan.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, technically our cuisine is New Mexican.

  • Drake||

    Are you sure he lives in Arizona? He says borders are just "an imaginary line on a map". He could live anywhere if I imagine a different line.

  • ||

    Oh good then. Now that we've settled that, I want you and everyone else to please leave the newly formed state of Darius, LEGAL population 1.

  • GILMORE||

    As a resident of Arizona, I suppose you may alse declare it balderdash, bombast, bunk, drivel, folly, gobbledygook, poppycock, rubbish, tommyrot, and twaddle.

    ...none of which would have any bearing at all on whether or not any of the points in the article are in fact *true* or not.

    Are you, as an all-knowing resident of Arizona, disputing that immigration checkpoints even *exist*?
    That they *do not* violate the constitutional rights of citizens? That no one other than the 'guilty' has ever suffered the capricious application of police-power in Arizona?

    ...that hordes of illegals continue to pour across the border, necessitating any and all emergency measures?

    really, 'claptrap' is hardly very specific.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, as a resident of Yuma county, I can say there are no immigration checkpoints from state or local police. Even the BP checkpoints don't start until you get into CA, though they might have one between here and Tucson.

    Can't speak for Maricopa county though - those people are crazy.

  • ||

    I ran into a BP checkpoint coming back from Tombstone to Tucson. They're there.

  • ||

    I ran into a BP checkpoint coming back from Tombstone to Tucson. They're there.

    Went through that one and 2 others while in Cochise county over the weekend. And anyone with a high clearance vehicle and a knowledge of the local dirt roads can bypass every one of them.

  • ||

    It's just east of Yuma in Wellton. On I-8. If you haven't seen it, You don't get out much.

  • ||

    I find it hard to believe that legal residents are fleeing the state in northern AZ. Here in southern AZ the legal residents seem to be staying put.

  • Suki||

    deservedly controversial anti-immigration law

    Hey Mayor Barry, you left illegal out of that statement.

  • wareagle||

    that happens a lot here. And it's not accidental.

  • ||

    Fuck off, JohnSukiBot. Just take your neocon ass back to whatever shithole you slithered out of.

  • wareagle||

    why, because there is no difference? Please. Team Blue sees potential additions to the looter class and Team Red sees cheap labor. Bipartisan indifference but that does not make legal and illegal immigrants the same. Maybe the feds could actually do something about a fucked up system instead of waiting till states come up with an out of whack response.

  • Ex Nihilo||

    Maybe the feds could actually do something about a fucked up system instead of waiting till states come up with an out of whack response.

    An Ellis Island in Texas. It should work as it did for my grandparents.

  • wareagle||

    my biggest grip with the system is its condescension. Folks come from every continent and do the drill yet the implication is that, for some reason, Hispanics are incapable of doing likewise. Of all the actors in this drama, the only one deserving of respect is the guy/gal willing to take such risks to get here.

  • wareagle||

    er, that would be "gripee" with the system...

  • wareagle||

    wow...fucked up gripe twice. I quit.

  • ||

    You know, I bet more Hispanics would come the legal way if the government didn't put artificial limits on how many can come from which country.

  • Ex Nihilo||

    I bet more Hispanics would come the legal way if the government didn't put artificial limits on how many can come from which country.

    This, and I also agree with Wareagle above, the only people who deserve respect are the ones willing to risk life/limb to make a better living for themselves and their families.

  • Zeb||

    That's the thing. Anti-illegal-immigration and anti-immigration are more or less the same thing unless you want to let far more unskilled workers in legally. The don't come illegally because they don't care about the law. They come illegally because it is practically impossible to come legally.

  • Evil Otto||

    "I installed an anti-aircraft battery on my roof illegally because it is impossible to do it legally."

    Doesn't sound like an excuse to me.

  • Zeb||

    Except crossing the border illegally can't hurt anyone.
    It doesn't matter if it is a good excuse, it is reality. People will come to work when economic reality makes it worth the risk and effort to do so. If the law fails to acknowledge reality, you get illegal immigrants. If the law did recognize reality, you would have far fewer.
    I stand by my point. If you are anti-illegal immigration, but you don't want to let lots more people in legally, then you are anti-immigration, period.

  • ||

    Tulpa, are there LEGAL anti-aircraft batteries that you can put on your rooftop, or is it the nature of the anti-aircraft batteries themselves that is the issue? I'll give you two guesses.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    For an openly Internet transgender/transracial Johnny T. is awfully intolerant of others. It's like the "breastplate of righteousness" in reverse.

  • Evil Otto||

    Yeah, you're totally in a position to critique the logical argumentation of others when this is your typical response.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • ||

    -1000

  • Suki||

    Feel the love of the big brain of EpiFree. Are you banning me any time soon, crybaby?

  • Zeb||

    Seriously, just go away. You contribute nothing and are not funny.

  • ||

    Yeah, you're totally in a position to critique the logical argumentation of others when this is your typical response.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't even know why anyone would consider coming here after they have been through immigration a few times and see how police state like this country has become.

    Every time I come back from international travel I wish more and more that the shit faced pricks would just try to deport me back to where I came from. I haven't been one place in the world where immigration has not been more polite to me than in my own freaking country.

  • rts||

    Coming home to Canada for Canadians is going to become (nearly) completely automated. I used these machines last time I came back from abroad and it was quick, easy, and I didn't need to answer a bunch of pointless questions from a power-tripping CBSA officer (they just visually confirm your passport now).

  • ||

    Every time I come back from international travel I wish more and more that the shit faced pricks would just try to deport me back to where I came from.

    Agreed.

    I haven't been one place in the world where immigration has not been more polite to me than in my own freaking country.

    Donestsk Int'l Customs could not have been nicer. Very few questions asked of me, no frisking, and the general mind your p's & q's speech. They do profile, however, and very similar to how the Irish and Israelis conduct inquiries.

  • wareagle||

    They do profile, however

    and maybe we should, too, if for no other reason than to avoid the weekly story involving the TSA and its assault on terminally ill cancer patients, assorted grannies, and little kids. But, our system treats everyone like a criminal, so not only is it disliked, it is also ineffective.

  • sarcasmic||

    our system treats everyone like a criminal

    If you've got a ticket then they've got probably cause to suspect you're a terrorist or hijacker, since past terrorists and hijackers had tickets.

    See?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In fact, quite a few Hispanic patients and staff alike have decided to leave Arizona entirely because they're just not comfortable in the state anymore...

    The State Legislature of Arizona thanks them for getting the hint.

  • sarcasmic||

    What do you mean by "like"?

  • sarcasmic||

    Fucking squirrels. That was a response to Hyperion|4.23.12 @ 3:18PM

  • Hyperion||

    like a police state

  • Ex Nihilo||

    I think Sarcasmic meant like a police state

  • ||

    My wife's pediatric practice

    My condolences, Tuccille. I hated peds rotations, never could really empathize with the darling little germbags.

    Question though, is Dr. Tuccille's practice private 3rd party network or within a county hospital/clinic network?

    Also, why is there such a small enclave of practitioners in Flagstaff?

    I'm not familiar with AZ, and I am curious.

  • jdtuccille||

    My wife's practice is private, one of a diminishing pool of independent practices in the area (she has several other practitioners working for her). We're actually 50 miles from Flagstaff, but Flag is a small city of only 60,000, and can support only a limited number of specialists. There's obviously much more available in the Phoenix area.

  • $öç íñδ√ Sparky||

    So now the truth comes out. Poorly placed commas aside, your wife and the pediatrician you live with are actually the same person. And here I was thinking you had potentially two women shacked up with you.

  • jdtuccille||

    Don't tell my wife about the pediatrician. It will only upset her.

  • Loki||

    Where at? My folks live in Prescott Valley, so I'm curious.

  • jdtuccille||

    Cottonwood. The greater metropolitan area, of course!

  • Loki||

    I'm probably one of the few people outside of AZ who knows where that is. Of course it helps that my wife's father and step-mom live in Sedona, and my wife and I both went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

  • jdtuccille||

    You've earned your Verde Valley credentials!

  • R C Dean||

    my wife's father and step-mom live in Sedona

    Beautiful (almost as pretty as NM, in fact), but infested with hippie new agers, is my recollection from several years ago.

  • Loki||

    infested with hippie new agers

    Unfortunately, yes. There's this possible magnetic field anomaly called "the vortex" that draws the hippies in (if only it would do so literally). Also a tourist trap, esp. during summers.

    Technically my wife's folks live in Oak Creek, which is where most of the non-hippies live, and is out of the way of most of the tourist traffic.

  • ||

    I used to live in Prescott Valley and rather liked it. Considering that it's already getting over 100 degrees during the day in the Phoenix metro area, this is starting to be the time of year I think about moving out of the fucking heat again.

  • Severstrand||

    I'm living in Tucson currently. It's slowly becoming a third world hell hole. Thanks Team Blue!

  • Loki||

    Slowly? One of my most vivid memories of Tucson was when I was in college, and went to a career fair at the Raytheon facility down there. On the way back I remember seeing shanties made out of plywood, tin roofs, and whatever else people had been able to scrounge along I-10. This was back ~2000. Don't tknow if they're still there or not, but it definitely looked pretty 3rd world.

  • ||

    As a 22 year resident of the Old Pueblo, I don't understand your use of the word "slowly". And even though Team Blue dominates the elections here, It's really more insider cronyism that Blue vs Red

  • Old Mexican||

    I have said many, many times that the TRUE purpose of the law was not to catch or deter undocumented immigrants but to harass American Citizens that happen to have la piel morena.

  • Evil Otto||

    Of course, if you're a stickler about getting the permission of the local satrap before setting up residence on the other side of an imaginary line on a map, you may think that's all well and good.

    I take it you don't have an issue with the invasion of Iraq either, since you don't think lines on maps matter.

  • Zeb||

    They still matter if other people think they matter. That doesn't make it any less arbitrary or imaginary.

    I, for one, would be just as opposed to an invasion or occupation of any territory by a military force without a pretty damn good justification, whether imaginary lines are crossed or not.

  • ||

    Because renting a house from someone in a voluntary agreement on private property is exactly analogous with an organized military offensive.

    You're not even staying within the realm of fruit on this one; that's comparing apples and yachts.

  • ||

    Because war and immigration are the same thing, right? Just ask the modern GOP, they'll tell you all about how those mean ol' wetbacks only come across the border because they hate good, hardworking Americans (excepting those Americans actually descended from webacks, the no-good scum).

  • Paul.||

    So a significant number of my wife's patients have chosen to forego that particular gauntlet of crewcut peril and either put off treatment or seek it out of state.

    Wait, what? Interstate commerce. We can so completely shut this law down at the Federal level...

  • Paul.||

    which essentally set local law-enforcement loose to stop people on suspicion of the most minor infractions and interrogate them as to their immigration status, 100,000 Hispanics left the state.

    Uhm, you do realize that to the Arizonans who hold the anti-immigration sentiment, this is a feature, not a bug.

  • Flemur||

    So a significant number of my wife's patients have chosen to forego ...
    Among those going back was my cleaning lady, ...

    Follow the money.

  • Alice Bowie||

    After 2008, I've become convince that we in this country need a divorce.

    I would love to see a law in which ALL Federal Laws, including the US Constitution itself, can be trumped by STATE Laws.

    This way, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Alabama can pass their "No Nigger and No Spick" Laws and the people in other states that like this policy may even consider moving to these nice southern states with their high standards education and opportunity for all...and hopefully stay there.

    And us that live in the North can Bar them from coming here. I'd rather not have these people near me.

  • ZungyMomo||

    lol, gotta jsut love those bought and paid for corrupt cops.

    www.Planet-Anon.tk

  • SDN||

    Well, Mr. Tucille, why don't you renounce your meaningless citizenship and move outside the "imaginary line" called the United States? Oh, that's right, you want the privileges that materialize inside our imaginary line without actually following your so-called "principles."

  • ||

    Here are the privileges of being a citizen and their approximate net present values:

    1. Not being deported: $400,000
    2. Being eligible to vote: $1,000
    3. Being eligible for elective office: $1,000
    4. Being eligible for jury: -$2,000

    Since virtually all the benefit is in the recognition of the right of residence, and since those who support free migration argue that the government should also recognize that right for noncitizens, your comment is something of a non sequitur.

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