Posts tagged ‘Russell Pearce’

Immigration Debate May Get Uglier (and Nuttier) Here in Arizona

Readers know I oppose recent Arizona immigration legislation and enforcement initiatives.  I don't think government should be stepping in to effectively license who can and can't work in this country, and am thus a supporter of open immigration (which is different from citizenship, please note).  As I support open immigration, both from a philosophic standpoint as well as a utilitarian perspective, I don't support laws to get tougher on illegal immigrants, any more than I support laws to get tougher on the failed practice of drug prohibition.

That being said, reasonable people can disagree, though some for better reasons than others.  But I don't see how all these folks who support tougher laws on immigration with the mantra that it is all about the rule of law can justify this piece of unconstitutional garbage:  (Hat tip to a reader)

Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they're on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona "” and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution "” to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene....

The question is whether that would violate the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment states that "all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." It was intended to provide citizenship for freed slaves and served as a final answer to the Dred Scott case, cementing the federal government's control over citizenship.

But that was 1868. Today, Pearce says the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants. "They use it as a wedge," Pearce says. "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created." Pearce says he is aware of the constitutional issues involved with the bill and vows to introduce it nevertheless. "We will write it right."

I didn't like SB1070 that much, but as ultimately amended it was not nearly as radical as this.  I think those of us who feared SB1070 as a first step on a slippery slope should feel vindicated by this.

When Conservatives Turn Against Private Property and Private Contracts

Update:  Yes, I am aware that it is ILLEGAL as many people have informed me in all caps.  Here is my response, and a thought problem for those posing that issue to me.

Apparently, our Arizona legislature is about to past a tough new anti-immigrant bill, to make sure that no one can work for us or be on our property without the government's permission.  Why is it that Conservatives who are nominally supportive of private property and private contracts disavow these rights when Mexicans are involved?

First, to the issue of property:

A bill empowering police to arrest illegal immigrants and charge them with trespassing for simply being in the state of Arizona, is likely just weeks away from becoming the toughest law of its kind anywhere in the country....

"When you come to America you must have a permission slip, period," said state Sen. Russell Pearce, the Mesa Republican who sponsored the bill. "You can't break into my country, just like you can't break into my house."

So aren't they essentially using a socialist view of property here?   This means that a person can be found to be trespassing on my property, even if he has my permission, if he doesn't have permission of certain members of the government.   It means that the government has more say over who can and can't be present on property than does the private owner.  This is horrendous precedent that Conservatives will someday come to lament.

As for contracts:

The measure allows police to detain people on the suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, outlaws citizens from employing day laborers, and makes it illegal for anyone to transport an illegal immigrant, even a family member, anywhere in the state.

Oops, so much for my ability to hire and fire at will.  And doesn't it make one all warm and fuzzy to think that having brown skin is officially going to be sufficient probable cause for Sheriff Joe to haul your ass into custody?  Because I am not exaggerating, Arpaio will haul in thousands on mere suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.  He already hauls in hundreds without this law.  What's next, checkpoints with state troopers telling us that "ve vant to see your papers" like we were living in occupied France?  Because the bill essentially requires that people present in Arizona be able to prove they are a citizen at all times.  Do I need to carry my passport when I am jogging?

I know a few paranoiacs here have managed to convince even relatively smart people outside this state that we are somehow in the midst of an invasion.  I live here, and no such thing is true.  We have a large Hispanic population that makes the state more interesting, and the limited number of problems immigrants cause for infrastructure here are no worse than the issues any major city faces.  I operate business all over the state, including right down at the border, and there is simply nothing awful going on here to justify this kind of paranoia.

Postscript:  Just to be clear, I believe I have the right to hire anyone I please, and to lease an apartment to anyone I please.  I don't think that people who happen to be born in another country should have to get a license from the state to be able to contract with me in these ways.  Both Democrats and Republicans are awful about this -- they rail against some modest state intrusion in their lives and then support an even bigger one.

Next Step for Author of AZ Employer Sanctions: Target the Babies

Russell Pearce is the Arizona legislator who authored the AZ employer sanctions law.  Remember, that's the law that requires, among other things, employers to check the immigration status of current employees using an INS system that has federal rules in place that make it illegal to use this system to... check the immigration status of current employees.  His plan is to reduce a major source of labor in the Arizona economy which, by the way, has a 3.5%-4.1% unemployment rate over the last year, the lowest level in 30 years. 

Anyway, now Mr. Pearce has decided to target babies:

The newest front in the battle over illegal immigration is dragging health-care workers into the fray.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is trying to kill a
proposal by Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, that would require its members
to check the citizenship of patients who deliver babies at Arizona

If neither of the parents can prove citizenship, the hospital would be barred from issuing a regular birth certificate.

Babies of parents who are here legally but not citizens also would be denied regular birth certificates.

Beyond the obvious concerns about driving moms away from medical care for their deliveries, Mr. Pearce has a teeny-tiny Constitutional issue he must deal with in the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the
State wherein they reside.

Mr. Pearce is hoping that "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" can be stretched to say that such persons do not include immigrants.  In fact, the Supreme Court does not seem to have ruled on this specific issue (corrections welcome in comments) but historically they have been extremely loath to place limits on this.  And no one except Mr. Pearce and perhaps a few of his immediate family members believes that barring citizenship to children of legal immigrants will pass Constitutional muster.  And I am pretty sure that no matter how these questions come out, disallowing birth certificates would never survive a court challenge.  I don't think the immigrants' home country would issue a birth certificate in such a case so we would be creating people without a country.