Catching up — AZ immigration, Ray Boyd and the GA GOP

I’m back blogging after a week away from it, although the pace may remain somewhat light this week as I continue working on a special project that should roll out this weekend or early next week.

In any case, I wanted to weigh in quickly on a few things:

1. Arizona’s new immigration law

I have lived in a country (Belgium) where the police can stop you at any time, with no discernible cause, and ask to see your “papers.” It is an unnerving feeling, even for those people who are present perfectly legally and have nothing to fear. It makes you nervous even to pass a policeman, who without such a requirement would have no reason to stop you as you walked past him on the sidewalk.

In the case of a foreign-born resident — again, even a legal foreign-born resident — you are required to carry documents which you greatly fear losing because of the time, hassle and even difficulty involved in obtaining them. For instance, I technically was supposed to have my passport with me at all times to accompany my Belgian ID card (a national ID card itself is an odious thing, but that’s another topic). But replacing my passport while overseas, if I were to lose it or have it stolen from me, would have been a lengthy ordeal, not to mention that it would have left me unable to return to the U.S. until the new one arrived. So, the vast majority of the time I took the chance that no one would stop me. But I also knew that I was unlikely to be stopped, even though most any Belgian officer on the street probably could have easily recognized me as a foreigner.

In short, I don’t think “Your papers, please” fits in a free society.

All that said, however, I consider this new law less an indictment of the Arizona government than of the federal government’s failure, across multiple administrations and Congresses under the control of Republicans and Democrats alike, to deal properly with its core responsibility to secure the borders.

While Washington has been delving into matters that are not its core functions — revamping the health-care system, for instance — the immigration problem has been exploding. The recession has eased some of the pressure, but if a recovery is truly under way, we can expect the migration problem to ramp back up.

I am not a restrictionist or nativist; I generally favor expanding the number of ways foreign workers can enter the country legally — preferably for the short term, and in tune with our economic needs. But we must have control over our borders before we can do that in any rational sort of way. And absent effective federal measures to secure the borders, it is wholly predictable for the states most burdened by illegals to take matters into their own hands.

I happen to think this move could provoke a backlash among legal residents that Arizonans will end up regretting. But the “irresponsibility” here, contra President Obama, is on the part of the feds.

2. Ray Boyd and the Georgia GOP

For a political novice, Boyd has found a way to get more “earned media” than most of the veterans in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. But his grandstanding about the state GOP’s loyalty oath makes him, not the party, look unreasonable.

A governor is effectively the head of his or her state party. Fair or not, a party as a whole is held responsible for the actions of its members. If a candidate wants to run with that brand, why wouldn’t the party want to protect that brand? And the GOP oath itself is pretty tame: “I do hearby swear or affirm my allegiance to the Georgia Republican Party.” Rather than wonder why the state GOP has such an oath, one almost marvels instead that the Democrats feel comfortable not having some similar declaration.

If Boyd wants to run against the way the state and the GOP have been led, then running as a Republican probably isn’t the way to go about it. He can still get on the ballot as an independent, so this isn’t really an access issue.

And here’s a thought: If Boyd truly wanted to take on the establishment, he might have tried to qualify as a Libertarian. What better way to raise the profile of a third party than to hold a gubernatorial primary? Think of the additional attention the eventual Libertarian nominee would get, compared to the way it is now. (Free blog subscription for the first reader who can name at least two Libertarian nominees without the aid of Google.)

It’s too late for this year — the Libertarians held their convention last weekend — but would-be renegades might want to file that away for future years.

97 comments Add your comment

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
10:42 am

Ummm Kyle…. your point is that yes “papers please” is a line in every Nazi movie and should not be a part of this country but somehow after Bush and others failed to deal with illegal immigration, it now is Obama’s fault and justified? Somehow the state’s have rights to ignore freedom and the constitution if it is “justified” by a purported lack of federal action?

jconservative

April 27th, 2010
10:50 am

I completely agree with your coments on the AZ bill. This bill is most “Un-American” as we called it in the 1950’s. Smacks of the Kremlin.

My wife is an immigrant from a “tolitarian dictatorship” country. Her father brought his family to the US when my wife was five. We still have her “papers”. Even as a five year old she was required to have her “papers” with her at all times. To see this in a US state is sad.

And touching on the subject, the immediate reason my father in law decided to leave the dictatorship was his 8 year old son coming home with a new history textbook that had changed the history of the country.
Changed the history to better reflect the goals of the dictoreship. It reminds me to the current Texas school board attempting to change the history books for Texas school children.

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
10:52 am

Keep up, maybe you should spend more than a few seconds skimming the post before you comment on it. I specifically said the feds’ lack of action extends “across multiple administrations and Congresses under the control of Republicans and Democrats alike.” This certainly is a long-time problem.

That said, Obama has been in office for 15 months and gotten several big pieces of legislation passed. Immigration reform could have been one of them. The expiration date for blaming Bush is coming up soon, if it hasn’t already passed.

jconservative

April 27th, 2010
10:56 am

If Boyd wants to run as an Independent I will gladly sign his petition to get his name on the ballot. I always welcome new voices. And the other Republicans are “incumbent” types and I am not a supporter of any Incumbent. If you need to make a living, go out and get a real job.

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
10:57 am

As for “justified,” that’s your word, not mine. I said “predictable.”

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
10:58 am

Wow…an expiration date…so when did that apply to Clinton?

I read the post…but your conclusion points a finger toward Obama and now you say Obama should have dealt with this in a different priority rather than some of the other acts. Bush had 8 years and was rejected by his own party. Give Obama his 8 years and I think he will get to…successfully. The problem is one of many he was left and perhaps if the economy had not tanked, it would have been addressed already in all fairness.

We do agree that this is not the way. I just dont think there is “justification” for this act. It is horrendous.

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
11:00 am

Okay…I’ll give you “predictable” as your word….I dont necessarily agree. But in no event is it justified or acceptable. Those are my words. I wont make them yours.

iRun

April 27th, 2010
11:07 am

I don’t know…the whole tone and language of this blog post glosses over placing blame where it is truly due.

And saying something is predictable sounds a whole lot like you saw this was coming and since you never acted to prevent it, warn against it, or demand for it’s reversal you appear to be comfortable with it.

That’s the impression from this reader.

david wayne osedach

April 27th, 2010
11:11 am

What happens if most – if not all – illegal immigrants pack up and leave Arizona?

RJ

April 27th, 2010
11:13 am

Last night I was watching the news and there wa a Democrat and a Republican debating the AZ law. The Democract said that the law allows the police to question people without cause. The Republican said that would be racial profiling and isn’t allowed under this new law.

Thanks guys. Way to go in your quest to agree on what reality is.

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
11:19 am

iRun: I said it was predictable for states to take matters into their own hands — although exactly how that might happen was probably not predictable. But I’m curious to know where you think the blame is truly due.

david wayne: Good question.

iRun

April 27th, 2010
11:23 am

Kyle,

I don’t really think there’s a problem so I am not prepared to play a blame game. Well, NOW there’s a problem in Arizona. They’ve turned their police force into an unwilling Gestapo.

Port O' John

April 27th, 2010
11:40 am

The expiration date for blaming Bush has passed?

I seem to recall Bush and the GOP blaming Clinton for everything well into his second term. A bit of a double-standard Kyle?

I’m shocked.

LEGAL Immigration Supporter, ILLEGAL Immigration Hater

April 27th, 2010
11:56 am

SEAL THE BORDER, and GO, BRAVES!!

scrappy

April 27th, 2010
12:04 pm

Nice to see a conservative call the AZ bill how it is – thanks for an honest opinion and not just going party line. Wish we could here more in the media.

YardDawg

April 27th, 2010
12:07 pm

I just don’t get that some people either don’t understand or choose to ignore the word ‘illegal.’

This path was pursued by the State of Arizona only because the federal government has refused to enforce one of its basic duties over the last 20 years.

We are doomed to repeat history if we don’t learn from it. we have had amnesty programs in the past, but never turned off the faucet to stop the flow. Well guess what, the bucket fills up again and will continue to do so. I am a Conservative and a fan of the Tea Party, but I also realize the important role that the citizens of Mexico and beyond provide a valuable asset to our economy. In fact as a business person I have personally seen the positive role people here illegally play in our workforce. The people here illegally are for the most part very hard working with great family values. And they would gladly jump through a few hoops for the privledge of becoming a legal US citizen. All that have worked for me or around me have said they would gladly pay a fine and go through a probation period.

It is not feasible either logistically or financially to send the people here illegally home. I support a ‘path to citizenship’ but only with a strong effort to close the faucet or we will be right back to this same place 5 years from now. Anybody with any sense can see this.

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

LEGAL immigration supporter: That second comment was beyond inappropriate. I’m sure there are forums for those kinds of “ideas,” but this isn’t one of them. You’re off the blog until further notice.

thebob.bob

April 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

You will carry your papers at all times. You will swear allegiance to The Party. You will wear flag pins to demonstrate you patriotism and, when required by The Party, hang the National Flag. If you are accused of “supporting” an organization that our political appointees (all good Christians from Party approved undergraduate and law schools) declare a “terrorist” organization, you can be held in special prisons and be subjected to “enhanced interrogation”. This is true even if you are a citizen.

Welcome to America according to GW Bush and the Republican Party. Like it so far???

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
12:35 pm

Btw, before someone asks: I’m talking about a comment that I’ve taken down, not the part about the Braves. Although after a few more games like last night’s, pro-Braves comments may also be verboten…

Jefferson

April 27th, 2010
12:44 pm

Arizona is full of loons. Georgia is too.

YardDawg

April 27th, 2010
12:52 pm

@Jefferson: I assume you are including yourself in that generalization.

I think everyone would agree that California might win your little contest.

Junior Samples

April 27th, 2010
12:53 pm

Kyle,
Which administration do you find at fault here?

GM

April 27th, 2010
12:54 pm

This law won’t survive the 1st lawsuit.

JKL2

April 27th, 2010
12:59 pm

I thought the Dems were all for a national ID?

I think this is like all the conspiracy theorist out there who think the government has nothing better to do than listen to your phone calls. Unless there is a problem, the police have better things to do than find people to hassle.

Agent Moulder

April 27th, 2010
1:07 pm

JKL2,

They are listening. Maybe you’ve heard of the Patriot Act?

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
1:07 pm

I don’t think this is an either/or issue, Junior Samples.

Junior Samples

April 27th, 2010
1:10 pm

I don’t think you answered the question. Keep dancing around it, nobody will notice…

YardDawg

April 27th, 2010
1:11 pm

Actually Obama has spoken in support for a national ID.

YardDawg

April 27th, 2010
1:15 pm

Junior, generally speaking both parties are at fault. Both parties don’t want to piss off businesses by shutting off the supply of cheap labor. Remember those businesses contribute mightly to political campaigns. Both parties also want to desparately lay claim to the hispanic voting block. So to answer your sarcastic question: it is both sides of the isle. As usual I all boils down to power and money.

96 SC

April 27th, 2010
1:23 pm

I completely agree with your assessment of the AZ Legislation and I strongly suggest that the FED’s immediately place members of the Military to protect all entry points to our GREAT NATION. Troops can be redeployed from the USA’s Asian and European Outposts. Protect the USA first and allow other Nations to do likewise. Are our Foreign Military Outposts intended to PROTECT AMERICAN FREEDOMS or simply being used as TOOLS of INTIMIDATION for CORPORATE AMERICA?

JKL2

April 27th, 2010
1:24 pm

Moulder-

Obama has gone way past anything in the Patriot Act. They are trying to get every twitter ever sent to keep as a “national archive”. Sounds a little more like infringing your rights than just listening to a few phone calls made to terrorist nations doesn’t it?

Charles

April 27th, 2010
1:26 pm

“Free blog subscription for the first reader who can name at least two Libertarian nominees without the aid of Google.”

Subscription or not, here’s the answer:

Bob Barr (of Georgia) and Wayne Allen Root were both Libertarian nominees. They got the party nod for President and VP 2008

Junior Samples

April 27th, 2010
1:27 pm

Immigration will always be an issue. It has always been an issue. A century ago it was an issue. So why the diversion now?

Isn’t there another reform bill up for debate?
Something about our finacial system(s)?
You’re right, it does boil down to power and money…

JKL2

April 27th, 2010
1:30 pm

96 SC-

They are staging areas for other overseas operations and agreements to protect other countries. Some could be cut but many are good resources for various agencies. We would go alot further if we stopped funding the UN and Nato and merely paid our fair share of those organizations instead of funding the whole thing.

Disgusted

April 27th, 2010
1:31 pm

SEAL THE BORDER, and GO, BRAVES!!

The border can never be really sealed, barring the institution of a police state much worse than that feared as a result of the Arizona law. We waste billions of dollars on easily evaded fences and border patrol agents, all the while we ignore the real source of the illegal immigration problem.

Why do illegal immigrants come here? The answer is that most can acquire jobs rather easily. Yet, we do nothing to create a national database of legal citizens, nor is employment law really enforced, except for a few token, well publicized cases. The truth is that many contractors and some shady corporations, eager to scratch out the last few pennies of profit, will willingly violate or ignore the law regarding employment.

Use the resources now going to useless fences and border patrols to enforce rigidly the existing laws regarding employment and the illegal immigration problem will go away. Otherwise, the entire wink-and-nod system will continue to be an opportunity for political grandstanding.

Kyle Wingfield

April 27th, 2010
1:33 pm

I meant current nominees, Charles, but I tell you what — you can have a free blog subscription, too :-) Seriously, though, I wonder what you and others think about a Libertarian primary, for governor at the very least. It could be expensive, but I wonder whether it would pay for itself in the added attention it would generate.

Just an (admittedly not totally thought out) idea.

Junior: Surely you’re not suggesting that no one thought immigration was an issue until Arizona started debating this particular law. Harry Reid must have thought it was an issue when he said the Senate would get to immigration reform this year…but then backtracked…and is now trying to bring it up again.

So, maybe there is someone who’s just playing politics with this issue.

Jefferson

April 27th, 2010
1:33 pm

A hit dawg will hollar.

Agent Moulder

April 27th, 2010
1:36 pm

JKL2,

You’re afraid of a Twitter archive? Really?
You’re not concerned about the government tapping phones, but tweet tapping has got your attention?

YardDawg

April 27th, 2010
1:44 pm

William J. Clinton

April 27th, 2010
1:45 pm

I guess it depends on what the meaning of “illegal” is.

Junior Samples

April 27th, 2010
1:45 pm

Immigration, in the past, present, or future, has not caused a country-wide financial crisis. Let’s stick to financial reform, get that buttoned up, then move onto the next issue.
No diversions, no side-tracks.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the flow of immigration has slowed down considerably because nobody is hiring.

Jefferson

April 27th, 2010
1:49 pm

Read em’ like a book.

JKL2

April 27th, 2010
1:51 pm

Moulder-

The last I checked, the people getting their phone tapped were going to jail. I’m all for that if it keeps us safe.

What does monitoring my 14 yr old neice’s 17k tweets last month do for national security? I sure hope they give us a nice large tax increase to fund this new Federal Bureau of Tweet Mangaement.

StJ

April 27th, 2010
1:52 pm

Some illegals enter the country with no intention of finding a legit job (see: Mexican drug cartels, etc). They have no problem killing US citizens or Border Patrol agents.

The border must be closed and vigorously defended, by the military if necessary. Penalties for hiring, harboring, or transporting illegals must also be stiffened to a point well beyond them being considered a “cost of doing business”.

After that, the rest of the problem is solvable.

DEWSTARPATH

April 27th, 2010
2:03 pm

Welcome back, Kyle.

– I don’t agree with Disgusted. The border can be secured the same
way we secure the seas, with a little more effort. Northern Mexico may
represent a larger challenge than the Horn of Africa or the 36th Parallel,
but in addition to being a lot closer, we already have most of the assets
and capabilities in the region along the Southern border.

dewstarpath

April 27th, 2010
2:05 pm

I DO agree whith disgusted’s point about employment scrutiny
and ICE efforts.

dewstarpath

April 27th, 2010
2:05 pm

- “with”. Sorry about the typo.

Gator Joe

April 27th, 2010
2:14 pm

Kyle:
Unless you are descendant of one of the native peoples who inhabited North America when conquest and colonization began, then you are here uninvited. It is all but certain, that the first European settlers were not asked [by the indigenous peoples] to immigrate into the Americas. Another problem, is the attitude among some ( Arizona for example) that English speaking white immigrants are fine, but not the Hispanics, Haitians or other non-whites. In reality, those descended from 17th and 18th Century English “settlers” have no more moral authority when it comes to deciding immigration policy than anyone else. Finally, most of us are the sons and daughters of immigrants, and the truth is, if today, we, or any of our family, were suffering hunger and extreme poverty then we would enter US by any means possible. A humane, and fair, immigration policy should proceed from this realization.

Agent Moulder

April 27th, 2010
2:16 pm

JKL2,
So all the people who’s phones are being tapped are going to jail? If you’re being tapped, you’re guilty? Absolutely no mistakes there? None? Your 14 yr old niece has never used a phone? The most popular device used for tweets?

BTW, the new catch phrase is fee, not tax.

LibraryJim

April 27th, 2010
2:21 pm

When I’m stopped by the police on the highway, I have to produce my ‘papers’ — Driver’s License, insurance card and auto registration.
when I go to renew my DL, I have to produce my papers — Original or Certified copy of my Birth Certificate and other proof of residence.
When I go to vote, I have to produce my papers: photo ID and/or voters reg card.

How is AZ’s law any different from what we do now?