Two recent polls show that Americans support Arizona’s tough immigration law that the Obama administration is trying to overturn in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Arizona’s law, passed in 2010, has been under siege ever since the Obama administration declared it racist and launched a full-scale legal assault on the Grand Canyon State that is now awaiting a settlement by the highest court in the land.
According to CNN, 75 percent of those answering its poll favor the law, with 24 percent opposed. CNN did not offer much detail about its poll beyond those numbers; but the numbers show that most Americans clearly believe that Arizona — which pays $2.1 billion annually to support its illegal alien population, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — has the right to protect its borders.
The CBS/New York Times poll offered a little more detail. It reported that 52 percent said the law is “about right,” with 11 percent saying SB 1070 “doesn’t go far enough.” About 33 percent think the law “goes too far.”
The numbers mean that 63 percent of those polled, a clear majority, believe the law is a good one that may be too lax. Those opposing the law are a clear minority.
Oddly, the New York Times did not report the 11 percent figure that CBS put in its story, but did add an interesting bit of detail: “As a general matter, more than 6 in 10 Americans said both the federal and state governments should play a role in addressing illegal immigration. A quarter said the federal government should have sole responsibility, and 11 percent said only state governments should address the matter.”
Again, then, the polls show that most Americans want the states to help the government enforce immigration law. They likely understand the federal government cannot hire enough border agents to tackle the problem across the 50 states.
Last year, an official with the General Accountability Office told Congress that the federal government has little or no control over the border with Mexico.
SB 1070 has enraged the Obama administration and the radical Left in general since it was first passed in Arizona.
The law’s most “controversial” provision requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they lawfully encounter if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. As well, the bill stops municipalities in the state from becoming “sanctuaries” for illegals and punishes employers who hire illegal aliens. And it prohibits employers from stopping at street corners to pick up work gangs of illegals. The bill requires the state and its local law-enforcement agencies to help enforce immigration law.
The left-leaning U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down SB 1070, backing the administration’s argument that the law is irredeemably racist. The court also agreed that the law would trespass the federal government’s prerogative to make immigration policy and impede the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Several foreign nations even voiced their objections to the law.
Ninth Circuit Judge Carlos Bea dissented, pointing out that Congress required the states to assist the federal government to enforce immigration laws. He also observed that listening to the complaints of foreign nations about SB 1070 gave those nations a “heckler’s veto” over American law.
Congress has clearly expressed its intention that state officials should assist federal officials in checking the immigration status of aliens and in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of aliens not lawfully present in the United States.... Congress has clearly stated its intention to have state and local agents assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law, at least as to the identification of illegal aliens, in two federal code sections.
Arizona appealed, and now awaits a decision from the Supreme Court. The state argued that its law is not only constitutional, citing Bea’s dissent, but also that federal immigration enforcement, as a practical matter, is “broken.”
This broken system leaves the people and government of Arizona to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of a national problem. The Arizona border is so porous that an estimated 50% of illegal aliens entering the United States come through the State. Its status as a conduit for human and drug smuggling has rendered large areas of southern Arizona highly dangerous. Significant swaths of public lands have become so dangerous that National Park rangers have been forced to patrol with M-16 carbines and public access is forbidden or sternly discouraged. Strongly-worded warning signs are posted as far as 80 miles from the border and only 30 miles from the city of Phoenix. Police officers in the border town of Nogales, Arizona have received death threats from Mexican drug cartels. Private ranchers living near the border constantly face the problems and safety risks associated with a steady flow of illegal crossings of their land.
Approximately six percent of Arizona’s total inhabitants — an estimated 400,000 individuals — are aliens who are unlawfully present and not authorized to work. Nonetheless, over half — 230,000 engage in work, composing 7.4% of all Arizona workers.
The Left's Attack
The main line of attack against the law, as is typical for the left, is that it is racist because it will encourage “profiling,” given that most illegals are Mexicans and Hispanics.
But SB 1070 prohibits “profiling,” which used to be called good police work. Moreover, observers have noted that it stands to reason that most border jumpers collared because of the law will be Hispanics because, again, they constitute the largest population of illegals. After all, they point out, the country is not suffering an invasion of Swedes.
No matter. The Left began beating the drums the minute the law passed. A group of “civil rights” organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and other leftist groups, has filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that “S.B. 1070 will transform these routine traffic stops into mini-trials where detained citizens bear the burden of proving their status."
In its press release, the long-ago discredited Southern Poverty Law Center argued that “these laws are blatantly unconstitutional and have wreaked havoc for citizens and non-citizens alike in the states where they have, even in a very limited way, gone into effect,” and “will harm racial and ethnic minorities in particular.”
Analysts point out that these groups fail to mention what harm illegal immigration does to the United States, such such as costing American taxpayers $113 billion annually, according to the latest estimate by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
For his part, President Obama also attacked Arizona. And he did so with Mexico's President Felipe Calderón standing by his side. “In the United States of America, no law-abiding person, be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant or a visitor or tourist from Mexico, should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like,” Obama declared.
Unsurprisingly, Calderón agreed, calling Arizona's law “discriminatory.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said the administration’s attack against her state was nearly unimaginable. She commented that she was “stunned at the audacity of the Obama administration to file suit against an individual state seeking to safeguard its people."
Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and other states joined Arizona in passing similar laws, with federal judges ruling differently from the Ninth Circuit.