The Daily Show: Law & Border

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote, "The states are the laboratories of democracy. The place where programs can be developed and tested to help solve national problems."

And then there's Arizona. The state passed legislation requiring a candidate to show a birth certificate in order to get on the presidential ballot. They recently became the third state to legalize concealed weapons without a permit.

And when Gov. Jan Brewer signed a controversial bill last week, Arizona became the state with the toughest law against illegal immigration.

Those three bills were just one week in Arizona. One week! It turns out Arizona's the meth lab of democracy.

What does this draconian new immigration law do, exactly? Increase border patrols? Taller fences? Piranha mote? Oh no.

"It makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally," reported Fox News. "Legal immigrants must carry paperwork proving their status."

Well, that's tough, but it's not unprecedented to have to carry around your papers. It's the same thing free black people had to do in 1863. Lord knows that didn't leave any residual anger.

Is there anything else?

"Police are required to check anyone they have a reasonable suspicion is illegal, and people can sue local governments if they think immigration law is not being enforced," continued Fox News.

You can sue the police for not enforcing harshly enough? Help! Police neutrality!

How much of a reach is this bill? Well, let's hear what Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado, has to say about it. He's the guy who called Miami a third-world country and said the Minuteman border patrol aren't vigilantes - they're heroes.

"I do not want the police here, there, Arizona, anyplace else pulling people over because you look like you should be pulled over," Tancredo said.

Holy crap. Tom Tancredo thinks you gone too far, Arizona. And he's the man Mexican parents tell their kids about to get them to eat their vegetables. That'd be like Ted Nugent pleading with you to just put down the guns and talk this thing out.

But one of the bill's sponsors, Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, can explain how laughable (ha!) charges of racial profiling are.

"I have two grandchildren that are Hispanic," said Pearce with a chuckle.

Yes, I have two Hispanic grandchildren, and I'm going to miss them.

How, in any way, do you enforce this bill without racial profiling? Or without violating the equal protection and search-and-seizure laws in the Constitution?

If you don't catch them coming across the border, how can you deem someone "reasonably suspicious"? What would they have to be doing to be declared suspicious? Gardening, or burping white people's babies?

And, actually, it's illegal to force someone to show their birth certificate and ID. Part of the law says that as a citizen of the United States, you're within your right to refuse to show identification.

Anyone can tell Arizona law enforcement, "Hey, I'm a citizen," and the police have to take you at your word. It's a loophole so big you could drive a truck full of, oh I don't know, day laborers through it.

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