Guy W. Farmer: In defense of Arizona’s immigration law
Are you as sick as I am of the mainstream media campaign – aided and abetted by President Obama and congressional leaders – to glamorize illegal immigration and to demonize Arizona’s tough new immigration law? What part of “illegal” don’t they understand?
A recent example of media distortion was the “60 Minutes” report on illegal immigrants who are drowning in the All-American Irrigation Canal on California’s southern border with Mexico. Although “60 Minutes” painted the illegals as innocent victims of heartless California bureaucrats, the truth is that too many illegals are criminals with connections to Mexico’s increasingly violent drug cartels.
Larry Martines, a career law enforcement officer who served as Nevada’s homeland security chief, explained the problem in Reno recently when he asserted that “the illegal immigration business in Mexico has been taken over by the cartels,” adding that “drug distribution routes have expanded into more than 200 American cities (and) Hispanic gangs in U.S. prisons form the nexus of future allies for Mexican drug lords.”
According to the Nevada Corrections Department, 1,144 of the state’s 12,542 prison inmates are illegal immigrants, about nine percent of the total prison population. That’s 1,144 too many.
That’s only part of what Arizona was facing when Gov. Jan Brewer signed a tough new immigration law last month, a law supported by 70 percent of Arizona voters and a solid majority of their fellow Americans. Nevertheless, President Obama’s allies, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., promptly labeled the Arizona law as “racist” and vowed to challenge it in the courts.
Arizona’s new law makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant in that state and bans racial profiling while allowing state and local police to ask arrested suspects for identification to prove that they’re in our country legally. I don’t think that provision is “racist” or unreasonable because legal immigrants are already required to carry their green cards at all times. Nevertheless, opponents of the Arizona law make no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, and always refer to illegals as “undocumented workers.”
Former President Ronald Reagan opened the immigration floodgates in 1986 by approving an amnesty that attracted millions of poor, under-educated people to our shores. And today, when pandering politicians look at illegals, they see millions of potential future voters while unscrupulous employers see cheap labor. Therefore, both major parties are responsible for the current immigration disaster.
Their solution is “comprehensive immigration reform,” which would grant conditional amnesty to more than 10 million illegal immigrants. But I think President Obama and Congress should secure the U.S.-Mexico border first before moving forward with broader immigration reform.
• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired diplomat who has dealt with immigration issues for many years.