Supporters of the new Arizona immigration law (which gives state sanction to what the Sheriff of Nottingham has already been doing with no legal justification at all) have been jumping all over the shooting of a Sheriff's deputy in Pinal County as 'proof' that we need the law.
This of course is absurd. The shooting was carried out by suspected drug smugglers and smuggling drugs is a felony and local law enforcement already have the full authority to take action against suspected drug smugglers. So the people in more danger from the new law (and the past six years or so of increasing anti-immigrant and anti-Latino legislation and ballot initiatives pushed by Russell Pearce) are 1) migrants who are NOT otherwise committing a felony that the police already have license to go after them for-- in other words those who are here working at a job and not committing any crimes, and 2) people (like one of my close personal friends) who are Hispanic American citizens who have been detained, questioned and humiliated by police for apparently no other reasons than their skin color or surname.
In fact, if they really want to catch the drug smugglers, human traffickers and others who are causing violence along the border, then destroying any remaining trust that members of the Latino community might have towards local law enforcement seems a curious way to do it. As unscrupulous employers, drug kingpins, prostitution ringleaders and others who often exploit migrants know well, someone who is afraid to go to the police is someone who can very easily be intimidated into doing anything. Any law that makes them even more afraid of the police strengthens the hand of the real criminals, not weakens it.
Maybe GOP members might want to consider and contrast the view of migrants that this law puts forward with that espoused by their biggest icon:
I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still. -- Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, 1989
Because in this law and others I don't see the optimistic and forward looking spirit of conservatism of the type embraced by Reagan, but instead a reactionary, angry and misguided spirit that is as far as possible from anything that Reagan ever stood for.
Hat tip: To Pres Winslow, who first pointed this out.