Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Arizona Experience, Part II

Federal immigration officials conducted their biggest roundup of undocumented workers last week in the northeast farm community of Postville in Iowa. In doing so, they simply reinforced the foolishness and historical bigotry behind this policy that President George W. Bush has surprisingly allowed to proceed unabated.

Postville, from this reporting by a local TV station, is being forced to endure what I call The Arizona Experience, which means shooting yourself in the foot by making the deportation of undocumented workers and their families into a law enforcement priority. Then you have to embarrassingly backtrack after you realize historical bigtory and fear are poor motivations for public policy. There is now a bill in the Arizona Senate to bring back undocumented workers under a two-year work permit.

You can read about The Arizona Experience in a previous post on my blog or look at this comment from one Arizonan who read the KCRG story:

"same things are happening here in arizona. they raided all the business and now no one wants those jobs economy is dropping and now the law makers that pushed so hard to get them out are now pushing harder to get them back to save us. everyone hates to admit it but we need the illegals. so good luck up there. oh and the issue with the whole splitting the families is becasue their childern are legal and cant be forced to leave the country so really they are saving you money in tax think about it."

Read the KCRG story about the arrests of nearly 400 workers at

Proponents of a foolish, fear-based immigration policy point to the law. It is against the law to be in this country illegally. It is, but it is not a felony. Crossing into this country illegally is a civil offense. Yes, and you pay a fine.

America has lots of law. We're also supposed to inspect all shipments coming into America's ports. But we don't, because we don't have enough inspectors. So we're making it easy for a dirty bomb to slip into this country and kill a lot of innocent and good people.

The real issue here is law enforcement, and the priorities that should be followed by authorties -- local, state and federal -- in best protecting the well-being of the citizenry. Here is another reader comment to the KCRG story that points out the obvious to those poor souls motivated by fear or unconscious, historical bigotry:

"2 helicopters and 100 FBI types(to conduct the Postville raid). You got Osama bin Laden, right?"

No, we haven't. He's alive and well and planning more terrorist attacks. And we're not looking for his supplies coming into America's ports, because we've got federal agents crawling like ants all over meat processing plants to catch undocumented workers. Talk about ignoring the war on terror. It's time to start a war on ignorance and this punitive immigration policy, pushed by a Bush administration that has fallen asleep at "compassionate conservatism" wheel.

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