Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Other States Consider Arizona-style Anti-immigration Statutes

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anti-illegal immigrationAttorney General Eric Holder’s declaration to ABC News that Arizona’s recently enacted anti-illegal immigration law (S.B. 1070) is “not racist in its motivation,” may signal the Obama Administration’s intent to ratchet down the reckless rhetoric with regard to the country’s immigration policy, specifically S.B. 1070.

There is little wonder why. From across the nation, newspaper headlines chronicle the anti-illegal movement that is burgeoning in spite of the hate-filled race baiting on the part of advocates of amnesty and other pro-illegal policies.

In Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reports that a state legislator in the Wolverine State is drafting legislation substantially similar to the bill passed in Arizona, empowering local law enforcement to inquire into a person’s residency status if that person is stopped for any other lawful purpose.

Rep. Kim Meltzer represents Clinton Township, a suburb of Detroit. Representative Meltzer is crafting a bill that would authorize law enforcement to request proof of legal residency from people lawfully stopped pursuant to another matter. Those unable to verify their legal immigration status could be arrested by officers under a provision in the soon-to-be proposed bill. “We have borders in place for a reason," Meltzer said. "Everyone should play by the rules."

A candidate for state Senate, Meltzer blames the need for potent state immigration policy on the toothless impotency of the federal government and its determination to sit idly by while the United States is invaded. Like her counterparts in Arizona, Meltzer is aware of the “financial liability for our states, local communities and schools” such a law would create. The alternative, however, is much costlier in the long run.

Predictably, Meltzer’s announcement has generated a vituperative response from those opposed to stronger anti-illegal immigration stances on the part of government. “This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Emily Diaz-Torres, executive director of the new Macomb Hispanic and International Service Center in New Haven. “If it's anything like the Arizona law, we will definitely fight it.”

Another familiar figure in the pro-amnesty huddle is shuffling onto the field in Michigan, as well. Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, proclaimed her organization’s firm determination to fight this bill on the floor of the Michigan state legislature — and in the courts, if such proves necessary. “We don't want an Arizona-style bill. It encourages racial profiling," Weisberg said.

Meanwhile, the legislative director of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, Ken Grabowski, commented that the bill’s intended aim of empowering law enforcement to exercise lawful authority over illegals is “probably something that needs to be done.”

In Oklahoma, lawmakers are similarly drafting legislation that would discourage illegal immigration into their sovereign borders.

In Oklahoma, state Representative Randy Terrill is prepared to propose legislation like S.B. 1070 (and stronger) that imposes stiff penalties for illegal immigrants caught with firearms.

Although hundreds of miles from any national border, Terrill believes that the decades of disregard by the national legislature has so obliterated our borders as to make every one of the 50 states vulnerable to same malady. “The states have to act because the federal government has refused to enforce our nation's borders and turned every state into a border state," he told reporters with the Washington Times.

Terrill claims that since his election in 2004, there has been a crescendo of constituent complaints of increasing numbers of illegal immigration in and around Oklahoma City. To address these concerns, Terrill introduced legislation in 2006 aimed at combating the seemingly uncontrollable influx of undocumented workers into his district outside Oklahoma City.

The first bill authored by Terrill was defeated. The second, the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, cutoff all publicly funded benefits to those unable to prove legal residence in the United States. This bill passed and made great strides in the fight to discourage the hiring of illegals.

One of the law’s principal provisions makes it a felony to assist or transport any undocumented person for commercial purposes. This is very similar to a provision in the new Arizona law. The Oklahoma law also made verifiable legal residence a qualification for getting a driver's license or any form of state identification. Finally, the bill imbued local law enforcement with a panoply of new powers designed to more effectively cooperate with federal immigration authorities such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Flush with political capital after an impressive victory in his 2008 re-election campaign, Representative Terrill is ready to introduce a broader legislative package, one in line with the bill passed in Arizona. The Terrill bill would “add asset-seizure and forfeiture provisions for immigration-related crimes and harsher penalties for undocumented immigrants caught with weapons.”

What has driven Terrill to work so tirelessly on such a controversial issue. According to the man himself, “Flagrant illegal immigration threatens the very integrity of our Republic.”

It’s not just state legislatures that are responding to the din of citizen outcries against the illegal invasion of America. In Georgia, immigration has become a hot button issue in the governor’s race, as well. In the home of Hank Aaron, former Rep. Nathan Deal is ready to step up to the plate and knock the issue of illegal immigrants out of the park.

When asked about the topic by reporters, Deal states, “The new Arizona law is called ‘controversial’ but 70% of Arizonans approve of it,” Deal said. “I think there would be similar support in Georgia for such legislation. Our public services are stretched beyond their limits during these tough economic times, and our open borders result in our states and counties importing poverty. Local taxpayers foot the bill for these significant additional costs.”

Echoing Representative Terrill’s statement quoted above, former Congressman Deal believes that the national government’s lassitude has made the protection of the border a crucial concern to citizens in non-border states, too. An impenetrable border is paramount to perpetuating the prosperity that all Americans, those born here and those who have come here legally, currently enjoy. After all, it is that prosperity and the liberty engender by it that attracts immigrants in the first place.

At least eight other states are currently considering legislation aimed at staunching the flow of illegal immigrants into their sovereign territory. The push to protect our borders is gaining momentum coast-to-coast and border-to-border. Americans are electing local representatives committed to enforcing laws that were enacted to both safeguard citizens and legal residents, as well as to encourage legal immigration. These laws draw the good people of the world to America by defending that liberty that has made the United States the shining city on a hill and the palladium of freedom.

Photo: AP Images

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