The Supreme Court yesterday pretty much eviscerated Arizona’s harsh immigration law, SB 1070. According to the Court, there were four major provisions in that law for review:
Section 3 makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor; §5(C) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State; §6 authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person “the officer has probable cause to believe . . . has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States”; and §2(B) requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person’s immigration status with the Federal Government.
The Supremes voided §§ 3, 5(C), and 6, saying they preempted the federal government’s power in that area granted by Congress. Regarding §2(B), the Court held:
It is not clear at this stage and on this record that §2(B), in practice, will require state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns. And it would disrupt the federal framework to put state officers in the position of holding aliens in custody for possible unlawful presence without federal direction and supervision. But §2(B) could be read to avoid these concerns. If the law only requires state officers to conduct a status check during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision would likely survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives. Without the benefit of a definitive in- terpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to as- sume §2(B) will be construed in a way that conflicts with federal law. Cf. Fox v. Washington, 236 U. S. 273, 277. This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.
Essentially, the Court said that, since the law hasn’t gone into effect yet, they can’t void it. But it stated that, if the police were only conducting a status check on someone during their lawful detention for another matter, it would probably be ok. But once the law goes into effect, the Court can look at it again.
Where does this law come from? Why this hatred of brown people? I suppose this could be asked of any new group that seeks refuge in a country that was built on immigration. The original Germans from the Rheinpfalz who came here in the late 1700s and later became the
Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish must have been looked down on by the colonists. I must imagine that the incoming German immigrants that reached tidal wave status in the latter half of the 1800s had to be an object of scorn. Clearly, the Irish, fleeing the killing potato famine and desperate to feed themselves and their families were vilified. Here we have clear evidence, with signs and advertisements in newspapers that stated “No Irish Need Apply.” The Jews who came here were characterized as big-nosed monsters, and described sometimes as practicing rites requiring them to drink the blood of Christian infants. Italians, whose wave began in the early 1900s, were characterized as thieves and sneaks. Essentially, any new group coming to these shores to seek the American dream has been vilified and put upon during their early years.
Part of the problem people already here had with immigrants was their reluctance to speak English (one of the more difficult languages in the world to conquer) and their tendency to stay together in neighborhoods, or ghettos. In my own family I know that my great-great grandmother, born in 1870 to immigrant parents from the Rheinpfalz, spoke German only as a child and went to German schools in a community now known as Lindenhurst but then called Breslau, after the second largest city in Prussia before the end of World War II. Why is it so frightening to many conservative Americans that modern immigrants from Mexico are more comfortable speaking Spanish? These people get exercised if a ballot is written in both languages. I sometimes wonder if they’re like my great-uncle Jerry, who honestly believed that when people were conversing in a foreign language around him, they were talking about him. The arrogance was, and is, mind boggling. And these same people come up with horrendous legislation in return.
The people who write these laws (Russell Pearce in Arizona, and most especially the Attorney General of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who drafted that legislation and others around the country) that clearly intend to make life a living hell for the undocumented are invariably white conservatives. Their fear is that ‘their’ nation will not be theirs any more, that the reign of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant is over. But rather than welcoming the newcomers and helping them assimilate, they lash out at them. Epithets are spewed, positions are taken (in the name of protecting the country) and outrageous ideas are seriously entertained. Does anyone actually believe that we’re going to wall off the southern boundary of our country and that will solve the problem?
In fifty years we will look back on this time and wonder how our fellow countrymen (and women) could have been so stupid. Because in the current 11 million undocumented people exist doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, university professors, and business creators. Take a look at this list to see what immigrants can do for this country:
Immigrants on the Forbes 400
The Forbes 400 is a list published by Forbes magazine of the richest 400 Americans. It was first published in 1982. It is ranked by net worth and is published annually in September and 2010 marks the 29th issue. In the Forbes 400, there are 35 individuals who are immigrants. Here is a comprehensive list of these immigrants, including their nationality, net worth, age, organization, title and source of wealth (arranged by net worth).
|Sergey Brin||Russia||$19.8 B||37||Co-Founder||Google; Self-made|
|George Soros||Hungary||$14.5 B||80||Quantum Fund||Founder||Hedge funds; Self-made|
|Leonard Blavatnik||Russia||$10.1 B||53||Access Industries||Founder; Chairman; President||Access Industries; Self-made|
|Rupert Murdoch||Australia||$7.6 B||80||News Corp.||CEO||News Corp; Self-made|
|Pierre Omidyar||France||$6.7 B||43||Ebay||Founder; Chairman||Ebay; Self-made|
|Micky Arison||Israel||$5.9 B||61||Carnival Corporation||CEO||Carnival Cruises; Inherited and growing|
|Patrick Soon-Shiong||South Africa||$5.2 B||59||Abraxis BioScience||Founder; Chairman and CEO||Generic drugs; Self-made|
|Roger Wang||China||$4.2 B||62||The Golden Eagle International Group||Chairman; CEO||Retail; Self-made|
|Victor Fung||China||$3.55 B||65||Li & Fung Group||Chairman||Retail; Self-made|
|Robert Friedland||Canada||$3.4 B||60||Ivanhoe Mines, Inc.||Executive Chairman; CEO||Mining; Self-made|
|Haim Saban||Egypt||$3.4 B||66||Media Proprietor||Media Proprietor||Television; Self-made|
|Barbara Piasecka Johnson||Poland||$2.9 B||74||Johnson & Johnson||None||Johnson & Johnson; Inherited|
|Steven Ferencz Udvar-Házy||Hungary||$2.8 B||65||Air Lease Corp.||CEO||International Lease Finance; Self-made|
|Edgar Miles Bronfman||Canada||$2.6 B||81||Inherited||None||Seagram’s liquor; Inherited and growing|
|John Catsimatidis||row 16, column 2||$2.6 B||69||Kingston Technology||President; Co-Founder||Computer memory; Self-made|
|David Sun||Taiwan||$2.6 B||59||Kingston Techonology||Co- Founder||Computer memory; Self-made|
|John Tu||Taiwan||$2.6 B||69||Kingston Technology||President; Co-Founder||Computer memory; Self-made|
|Igor Olenicoff||Russia||$2.5 B||68||Olen Properties||Founder||Real estate; Self-made|
|Nicolas Berggruen||France||$2.2 B||49||Berggruen Holdings||Founder; President||Investments; Inherited and growing|
|Bharat Desai||Kenya||$2.2 B||58||Syntel||CEO; Chairman||Syntel; Self-made|
|Mortimer Benjamin Zuckerman||Canada||$2.1 B||73||Boston Properties||Co-Founder||Real estate; Media; Self-made|
|Min Kao||Taiwan||$1.7 B||62||Garmin Corporation||Co-Founder||Navigation equipment; Self-made|
|Alexander Rovt||Ukraine||$1.7 B||58||IBE Trade Corp||President||Fertilizer; Self-made|
|James Kim||Korea||$1.6 B||75||Amkor Electronics||Executive chairman||Microchips; Inherited and growing|
|Eduardo Saverin||Brazil||$1.6 B||29||Co-founder||Facebook, Self-made|
|Evgeny Markovich Shvidler||Russia||$1.6 B||47||Millhouse, LLC||Chairman||Millhouse LLC, self-made|
|Kavitark Ram Shriram||India||$1.6 B||54||Co-Founder||Venture capital; Google; Self-made|
|Peter Andreas Thiel||Germany||$1.5 B||43||Paypal||Co-Founder; Former CEO||Paypal; Facebook; Self-made|
|Vinod Khosla||India||$1.4 B||56||Khosla Ventures||Founder||Sun Microsystems; Venture capital; Self-made|
|Thomas Peterffy||Hungary||$1.4 B||66||Interactive Brokers Group||Founder; CEO||Interactive Brokers Group; Self-made|
|Romesh T. Wadhwani||India||$1.4 B||63||Symphony Technology Group||Founder; Chairman||Software; Self-made|
|Alexander Knaster||Russia||$1.3 B||52||Pamplona Capital Management||Director||Oil; Telecom; Banking; Self-made|
|Michael Moritz||Wales||$1.3 B||56||Sequoia Capital||Partner||Venture capital; Self-made|
|Jerry Yang||Taiwan||$1.3 B||42||Yahoo||Co-founder; Former CEO||Yahoo; Self-made|
|C. Dean Metropoulos||Greece||$1.2 B||64||C. Dean Metropoulos & Co||Executive Chairman||Investments; Self-made|
Data was obtained from Forbes.com.
The picture painted by most conservatives is that Hispanic immigrants (read Mexicans) are lazy, shiftless, money-grubbing leaches who come here only to get on welfare, take away jobs from deserving Americans, have their babies here to gain citizenship, and take advantage of our health care system by clogging emergency rooms everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. These immigrants want to work, they want to be part of this country. And here in Nevada, it’s an even greater irony, because they are emigrating to a land that was theirs for centuries before we took it away from them.
Hatreds die hard, but they find it difficult to survive in a person if they meet the object of their scorn and find them human like themselves.
- S.B. 1070: In Plain English (scotusblog.com)
- Arizona v. United States — Not A Victory for Arizona (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- High court strikes down key parts of Arizona immigration law (nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com)
- David Leopold: Supreme Court Deals a Major Blow to Arizona’s Immigration Law (huffingtonpost.com)