Thursday, May 13, 2010

The One Where I'm Against Doing Illegal Things

I try not to talk about political issues. I have my opinions on them, but I don't like how riled up some people get when they're discussed. As such, I generally won't make commentary on stupid things liberals do, stupid things conservatives do, stupid (or smart) things the president does, gay marriage, abortion, etc. You believe what you want to believe, and I'll do the same.


The immigration law in Arizona is something I feel the need to make brief commentary on, and it's all because of a facebook group.

I know a lot of gay people. The college I went to had a large amount of them so, as a result, I am acquainted with quite a few. I was cruising around facebook (as you do), and I came to the profile of this one guy I know who had joined a facebook group called something like 1 Million Strong AGAINST the Arizona Immigration Law. Or something.

I clicked on it, and noticed that a lot of people I know are a member of said group, and most of those people are gay. I started wondering if it was a political issue. Political, meaning, Republican vs. Democrat. I know that most of the gay people I know are staunch liberals, so I had to assume that liberal people are the ones against this law.

(I don't really watch the news, so I legitimately only know what I hear on the radio/what catches my attention on news blogs/what I hear in passing/etc. I don't necessarily consider myself uninformed, but nothing these days is good news.)

But that wasn't what REALLY caught my attention. What did that was part of the group's description:

The new law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. Other provisions allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire undocumented workers for day labor or knowingly transport them.

Apparently, this is a problem for these group members.

But wait. Wait, wait, wait. What is this?

The new law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally.

Hold the phone. What? These people have a problem with the fact that the law says it's illegal to be in the U.S.. . .illegally? What I'm getting from this is that the members of this group feel like the new law is punishing people doing something illegal. . .and this is a bad thing.

If we take this stance with all our laws, this is what I forsee happening:

Murderer: Why are you arresting me? This isn't fair.
Cop: You broke the law. You killed that guy, and killing is against the law. It's illegal.
Murderer: But. . .I WANTED to kill him. I wanted to do it, so I did it. This isn't fair!
Cop: You have a valid point. . .OK, you can go.

That's what's going on here.

I am judging the people, all the people who joined the facebook group, because this is just stupid. Everyone in that group is saying, "We are mad that the law is saying it's illegal to be here illegally!"

I, personally, feel like the law isn't perfect, but at least it's a step in the right direction. I'm not going to get on my Illegal Immigrant Soapbox right now, but I have one, and I think they should all, every single person here illegally, should be shipped back to where they came from. I don't care if you're Hispanic, Asian, African, Scandinavian. . .whatever. If you're not supposed to be here, you need to go home.

And for those people who are on the other side of the fence about this. . .I could at least respect your difference of opinion if you knew what the hell you were talking about. But telling me that you're opposed to people being here illegally being illegal just makes me think you're either:

A) Jumping on a bandwagon you know nothing about, because you think it makes you look cool/that's what all your friends are doing/that's what your political party believes, so that's what you're "supposed" to say;
B) Horribly uneducated on what "illegal" means;
C) Dumb

I'd be more than willing to have a conversation with someone who disagreed with me if they had intelligent, valid points to make about why they believed what they believe. I have been known to change my mind about things, and I'm always open to conversations with people whose intent is to MAKE me change my mind (if they do it logically and aren't just plain dumb about it.)

But this one kind of takes the cake.


  1. The part of the law you cite is reasonable. However, what people are in arms about is not that part. The law gives the police very broad authority to question and detain anyone they SUSPECT to be here illegally, regardless of just cause. It might as well say: "Hey! See that Hispanic-looking guy on the corner? He looks Hispanic, so he might be here illegally!" In effect, Arizona has become a "show me your papers" state. That is why people are so upset, me included.

  2. I'll reiterate that it's not a perfect law, but if the federal government isn't going to enforce their own laws about people being here illegally, we have to start somewhere.

    I also feel like if you have nothing to hide, i.e., you're here legally, then it shouldn't be an issue. The law gives the police a broad authority to ask questions, yes, but there is SOME limitation to it. They just need to tighten the limitations and figure out exactly what the law needs to be to be functional.

    With a problem this big, the first solution, or possible step toward a solution, most likely isn't going to be perfect. But it's a step that needed to be taken to start toward something better.

  3. True, but how often do you think a policeman is going to stop a white guy on the street and ask for his papers? A law like this virtually condones discrimination. And I bet if you were stopped on the street you would be outraged that they would question your citizenship. I agree that something needs to be done about the immigration problem, but "find 'em and ship 'em" I don't think is it (as I know we have discussed in the past, so we shan't get into arguments here).

  4. Since we don't have the same problem with white guys being here illegally as we do with Hispanic people being here illegally, since their country is attached, I can't say how often policemen will do that.

    I would actually not be outraged by a cop stopping me on the street to question my citizenship, especially if I lived in a place like Arizona, where their healthcare system is basically being broken by people getting taken care of for free, people that aren't even supposed to be here. Should I be outraged when I get asked for my driver's license at a traffic stop? I didn't do anything wrong, and I'm not who they're looking for if they're looking for someone.

    No, I wouldn't be outraged by that, because it's all in the name of keeping people safe. If it's an alcohol checkpoint, and I've been drinking, I really can't be too irritated that they've stopped me, because I've done something wrong. But if I haven't been drinking? Still can't be irritated, because even though I'm not doing anything wrong, I'd be willing to bet money other people are.

    And as far as "find 'em and ship 'em"? I say, if they're here illegally, go for it. Ship 'em out. That's why it's illegal. They're not supposed to be here. Try going to Mexico and getting caught doing something even vaguely wrong and just saying, "Uh, well, I live here, but I'm not supposed to." See what happens then. We here are pretty much just bending over and taking it at this point when it comes to people siphoning from what we have.

  5. Amen, amen, and amen. Happy SITS Saturday, and I hope you feel better soon.

  6. I believe there is a (fairly) simple solution to illegal immigration, fine the people that hire them. Make it uneconomical to hire an illegal. The illegals (that come here for work) won't be able to find a job and therefore won't come.

    I find it very hard to blame people that are just looking for a better life. That is pretty much what this country was founded on. ALL of our forefathers were illegals. Thank God it didn't stop them.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest.

  7. I'm with you on keeping my mouth out of political conversation even if I agree. I maintain a very strong policy of keeping my opinions to myself.

    But, since we're here on the internet, I will divulge a bit;

    I get what you're saying about the law not being perfect and the federal government not doing what they need to and this being the first step.

    However, have you ever been profiled? My husband, who moved to a really poor, bad neighborhood with his mom after his parents divorced was profiled throughout his teens because the cops who patrolled his neighborhood had free reign to harass the teens there. Yes, there was a lot of crime in the area, but the profiling led to bullying and abuse of power. My husband now has to explain to the NY Bar Association why he has a juvenile record for trespassing (which he was arrested for while he was in his own front yard) before he can be licensed as a lawyer.

    Being profiled is a horrible thing. You are made to feel guilty when you are not. Accusatory stares do not provide for a comfortable living environment. Would you want to feel insecure in your own home? How about going to the grocery store?

    The thing is, this law lessons the standing of hispanic-looking people and puts them on a substandard level.

    There is something much too reminiscent of our too recent past concerning blacks, italians, the irish, japanese, and women. Do we really want to add another to the list?

    As a country, we need to move forward, but there has to be a better way than resorting to past practices.

    And most importantly, people are idiots. Especially when they are acting as a herd of cattle on FB.

  8. I also want to add, there are plenty of illegals in this country that look nothing like hispanics, but unfortunately, those people will most likely not be persecuted under this law.

  9. I'm not totally clear on the arguments for and against the law, but I believe the major issue people have with the law is that it promotes (however directly or indirectly) racial profiling. However, race and illegal immigration are inevitably intertwined, so I'm interested to see what will come of this law and the arguments both for and against it.

  10. I'm in England and I hadn't heard of this before... I'm *guessing* that the objection is to the details of the penalty, rather than to it being illegal to break the law. (What happens at the moment? Does this represent a significant change?) But I'm just guessing. Otherwise it is, as you say, stupid.