Lightning Strikes. Twice!

First, a really good piece by Steve Chapman in Reason about the AZ law and the rhetorical games being played:

After signing the new law requiring police to check out people who may be illegal immigrants, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was asked how the cops are supposed to know when someone should be screened. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like.”

No kidding. But she has a lot of company in her ignorance. When I called University of Arizona law professor Marc Miller and told him I wasn’t sure what some of the law’s provisions mean, he replied, “Neither is anyone else on the planet.” We will find out what it means after it takes effect, not before.

The law says cops must inquire anytime “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.” Since most of the state’s illegal immigrants are Latinos, the natural impulse of police may be to interrogate every Latino with whom they cross paths.

And then, much to my surprise, some very sensible thoughts from Matt Welch:

The whole only-people-with-reason-to-fear argument, to put it mildly, has not been a historical friend of liberty. Nor is it usually accurate. If you are a legal resident immigrant from Mexico, you have plenty of “reason to complain” about this law, because now it’s more likely that you are going to be pulled over by an Arizona cop. And every transaction with a cop, especially if you are viewed as non-normal, is an opportunity for a negative outcome, from detainment to car impoundment (even if you’re never charged with a crime!) to something worse.

For those clinging to the fantasy that the law’s “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” provision will somehow prevent profiling of Mexican-looking people, three points: 1) Steve Chapman’s six likely infractions by every driver is a built-in workaround for that “may not solely.” When you have thousands of laws, it’s not hard finding one that justifies the profiling. 2) Even in jurisdictions that didn’t just pass new laws targeting illegal immigrants, when you lower the bar for “legal contact” you increase the likelihood of targeting minorities. In the police empowerment zone that is New York City, a “stop-and-frisk” policy that has averaged 1,260 legal contacts per day has been enforced thusly: “A disproportionate 84 percent of […] stops involved blacks or Hispanics; only 10 percent involved white people.”

Both are well worth a read, and for the first time in a long time, take an actual LIBERTARIAN stance and not that of corporate toady or Republican shill. And trust me, I’m as confused by this turn of events as anyone. I went to Reason to get my blood pressure up and came away saying “I could read a magazine that had stuff like that in it.”

Also- go sign the Change.org petition to the right about the Arizona legislation.






61 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    This is swell and all. Definitely a step up from impulsive Republican coddling I’m used to. But we’ll see how long it lasts.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    Chapman published the same piece in the Chicago Tribune this morning, so it actually got a somewhat wider dissemination than Reason’s circulation. Looking at the Trib’s stable of conservative columnists, he’s not too bad. Especially by comparison to some of his colleagues.

    dms

  3. 3
    Michael says:

    Read the Chapman piece again. He spends a long time writing about vaguenesses, and concludes by taking no real stance at all since slackjawed, potbellied white AZ sheriffs just may decide to not do anything at all and will just leave their minority populations alone.

  4. 4
    AhabTRuler says:

    Well, a few people got their fee-fee’s hurt in the Elitism thread.

    Speaking of which, I think that

    a refuge for a snarling mass of vitriolic vicious jackals

    definitely needs to go in the tagline queue.

  5. 5
    dmsilev says:

    Oh, for the love of God. Why is Tom Tancredo on my television spouting “long-form vault-copy” birtherism? For added points, he did, in a verbal slip, question whether Obama was born at all (hatched? cloned? Descended from Heaven accompanied by angelic choirs?).

    dms

  6. 6
    Mark S. says:

    I think Reason might finally be learning that goopers and teabaggers might not be their BFF’s.

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    OT, but a little palette cleanser. Obama at the funeral of Civil Rights giant Dorothy Height. Some great photos.

    And I’m waiting for the wingnut asshat who will post on some right wing blog, that a president with tears in his eyes does not meet the commander-in-chief threshold.

  8. 8
    Bnut says:

    @dmsilev:

    Why is Tom Tancredo on my television spouting “long-form vault-copy” birtherism?

    Because he wasn’t breast fed as a child.

  9. 9
    slag says:

    That’s good stuff. Regardless, I’m with Zifnab on this. I’m not about to believe these people have suddenly developed or rediscovered principles. I suspect a Bobo-esque pivot will take place shortly, whereby in spite of these recent flirtations with reason, crazy will win out in the end.

    Happy to be proven wrong.

  10. 10
    Mudge says:

    This of course makes me think of Digby and her (perfectly reasonable) obsession with tasers. I can only imagine.

  11. 11
    Delia says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Well, to be fair I checked out your link, and Church Lady is the author of that remark. She’s pretty much a refuge for a snarling mass of vitriolic vicious jackals all by herself.

  12. 12

    The Land of Enchantment is standing by to receive refugees from the new police state in Arizona next door.

    It is A land where tomorrow is always today.

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    Welch hit on something that I have been thinking of the last couple of days that no one really has articulated, even though I think in part it is the real reason that the AZ law is outrageous.

    Some have been saying that ICE can do what the AZ law now allows local law enforcement to do. Assuming for a second that is true, the problem is that ICE only cares about enforcing immigration law, but for a local law enforcement officer this is something you can use for something else, to give you probable cause for an even bigger bust, like drug smuggling or something. An ICE officer is not going to use immigration law to bust you for something else because it is going to give him gold stars for some other kind of charge.

    He does not make the comparison to the incentives that an ICE officer may have, but it is clear he gets it.

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    Speaking from the point of view of police officers, I can understand why they would just want this law to go away. With the onus on them of checking immigrant status, even if it has no earthly bearing on why they might be suspicious, you have a nightmare of pressure from the wingers who might sue, and people, regardless of citizenship status, who are now more nervous than ever.

    According to the law, you can get taken in for having a driver’s license from another state. That’s just asking for mistakes all the way down.

  15. 15
    Mike Kay says:

    @Brachiator: see the hippies are right, Obama crying over Dorothy Height proves he’s a secret republican.

  16. 16
    Makewi says:

    In the police empowerment zone that is New York City, a “stop-and-frisk” policy that has averaged 1,260 legal contacts per day has been enforced thusly: “A disproportionate 84 percent of […] stops involved blacks or Hispanics; only 10 percent involved white people.”

    It would be interesting to look at the demographics and crime rate of the locations of these stops.

  17. 17
    Napoleon says:

    I smell a racist in the room.

  18. 18
    burnspbesq says:

    I will believe that racism has nothing to do with this legislation right about the time I see a cover story in Maclean’s complaining about all the Canadian tourists being detained and abused by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.

  19. 19
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @WereBear:

    According to the law, you can get taken in for having a driver’s license from another state. That’s just asking for mistakes all the way down.

    Except it’s not a mistake at all. The law is very clear on that. Other states (with very few exceptions) do not require you to prove your U.S. citizenship when you get a driver’s license. They’re just focused on making sure you know how to effectively operate a multi-ton potential death machine without fucking up the roads for everyone else.

    When in doubt, I would err on the side that nothing in this bill is a mistake. Even the provision allowing citizens to sue municipalities if they don’t enforce the law. I can’t remember where I read it, but there was an article that mentioned that particular provision was put in there as a nod to another favorite conservative position: reducing frivolous lawsuits.

    L.O.L.

  20. 20
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    According to local news streams, there are two likely avenues along which the effort to derail the bill will travel:

    One is to seek an injunction against the state to prevent putting the law into effect this summer, and the other is to gin up a referendum that would delay implementation until the 2012 election, the way I read it this morning. Which provides a time cushion for fashioning a permanent solution.

    Of course, if you believe as I do that this bill is a Law Bomb designed to achieve political effect, then these moves play right into the hands of the GOP terrorists. They get churn and agita right up to election day, which is what they want.

  21. 21
    lushboi says:

    The crazies over at RedState are all for this law, but are OUTRAGED that they’re being painted as rasist for it.

  22. 22
    Makewi says:

    Yeah, well, racism is your go to thinking so this isn’t really surprising. Sad, a little, but not surprising.

  23. 23
    Midnight Marauder says:

    Sad, a little, but not surprising

    I think this is the thought of most people here whenever Makewank shows up for another round of “Expose The Know-Nothing.”

  24. 24
    joeyess says:

    I guess a leather jacket can be appropriate at some functions.

  25. 25
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Why is this described as a “libertarian” stance? Reasonable, rational people recognize that onerous laws and aggressive policing are threats to an individuals freedom, one need not be called anything other than “human” to agree that laws like this are unworkable and a threat to everyone’s liberty.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Did someone say Lightning Strikes?

  28. 28
    jwb says:

    @Makewi: You do serve some mighty fine pie.

  29. 29
    rootless-e says:

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....someb.html

    Speaking of confederates
    old men of few talents
    and much resentment.

  30. 30
    r€nato says:

    @Michael:

    He spends a long time writing about vaguenesses, and concludes by taking no real stance at all since slackjawed, potbellied white AZ sheriffs just may decide to not do anything at all and will just leave their minority populations alone.

    That column was some damned weak tea, remarkable only in that it was a libertarian supporting (sort of) an actual, classical libertarian position.

    Chapman completely missed a very important point:

    So the measure could mean that overaggressive cops will put legal Hispanic residents in chronic fear of arrest. Alternatively, police may not do their jobs much differently from before.

    Oh, if only we could console ourselves by thinking that the average, level-headed cop doesn’t have time to bother with hassling brown people and so SB 1070 will die of neglect.

    SB1070 provides that any citizen can sue the government if they believe the law is being insufficiently enforced. This effectively takes discretion out of the hands of cops (damned bleeding-heart illegal lovers, wasting their time on rapes and murders instead of the REAL threat to the community, brown people washing dishes) and puts it in the hands of the most extreme elements of the anti-immigrant movement.

  31. 31
    Makewi says:

    Which one of you is RD BTW?

  32. 32
    r€nato says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Even the provision allowing citizens to sue municipalities if they don’t enforce the law. I can’t remember where I read it, but there was an article that mentioned that particular provision was put in there as a nod to another favorite conservative position: reducing frivolous lawsuits.

    Actually, the part that was supposed to reduce frivolous lawsuits, was that the plaintiff pays if their suit fails.

    However I’ve read SB1070 several times; I just don’t see that language in there. If you sue and win, you can recover attorney fees and court costs. Law enforcement officers named in such suits are covered for their costs, unless they are judged to have acted in ‘bad faith’.

    I’ll assume I may be reading an earlier version of the bill, and that ‘loser pays’ is in the version Gov. Brewer signed. If it’s *not* in there, that’s even worse: any inbred fuckwit who can afford an attorney (or who has a mail order law degree) can tie up our courts into knots because he saw some brown person standing outside Home Depot, his head uncracked by a cop.

  33. 33

    Getting past the racial profiling might involve dirt, you know that non-race oriented crud gotten from actual labor. I suppose you could concentrate on the street corner day labor sites because there is a higher percentage of illegals present – but they also hold plenty of legal homeless or otherwise disadvantaged legal residents.

    I have no idea how the hell you can do it, what exactly reasonable suspicion would mean in practice other than catching someone dashing across the actual border.

  34. 34
    dnelson says:

    I have lived in ND MN AZ and CA, I have never met a mexican that was not a hard worker, and have a love for their faith and their family. On the whole they put me to shame. I am from
    nordic origins, have been married close to 30 years, have two sons who graduated from college. The folks that I am afraid of are the russian, balkans and serbians. These folks they came here for religious freedom, and are so intolerent. In Northern Ca they are trying to lay low right now, they hate the gays. They are like the christian mafia. Also, too, in MN the Somalis are all over MPLS, and the lake counties. The Somalies that have been adopted by Lutheran Social Services’ has not been a great payoff. I believe Franken ‘ has taken them to task. To be quite clear, I am more afraid of white foreigner people, than brown folks. A viking.

  35. 35
    r€nato says:

    @Chuck Butcher: see, that’s the thing: we’ve done such a tremendous job of beating back racism, it’s become a wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of affair. This law is just more dog whistling, this time to law enforcement. You don’t have to TELL the cops to go bother brown people; just those who don’t seem like they should be here. You know, not ‘one of us’.

    Nothing racist about that, if you don’t come out and say it, amirite?

  36. 36
    Makewi says:

    Everything you don’t like is racism. Brussel Sprouts are racism. Stubbing your toe is racism. etc. etc.

  37. 37
    skippy says:

    my small contribution to the az problem: a partial list of corporations headquartered in arizona, w/contact info, that you can boycott, or at least call/email to let them know your displeasure over the draconian “paperz, pleeze” immigration law.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Makewi: You are racism?

  39. 39
    Makewi says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No, apparently I am pie.

  40. 40
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Makewi:

    No, apparently I am pie.

    Racist pie, to be exact.

  41. 41
    Makewi says:

    I’m hurt that you don’t like me. Racist.

  42. 42
    Yutsano says:

    @Makewi: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  43. 43
    Makewi says:

    @Yutsano:

    Seems to be a lot of that going around.

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:

    @skippy:

    Even better — get hold of the list of Best Westerns in Arizona and report each of them to the local police for harboring illegal workers. If they have nothing to hide, then they’ll have no problem with having the cops show up and check everyone’s papers, right?

  45. 45
    Makewi says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Right. Brilliant. Either falsely report a crime, or accurately inform on an illegal immigrant.

  46. 46
    R. Porrofatto says:

    A wingnut response in development seems to be along the lines that genuine “legal” Hispanic-Americans support this bill, their patriotism being proportionate to their willingness to be harassed for the good of the country. It’s another small price “we” pay for vigilance.

  47. 47
    Makewi says:

    The polls do indicate that a bit more than half of legal citizens of Hispanic ethnicity do support this law. Maybe they don’t presume harassment. Racist.

  48. 48
    The Raven says:

    If you are a legal resident immigrant from Mexico

    What about Mexican-American citizens?

  49. 49
    Raven says:

    @r€nato:

    Actually, the part that was supposed to reduce frivolous lawsuits, was that the plaintiff pays if their suit fails. However I’ve read SB1070 several times; I just don’t see that language in there. If you sue and win, you can recover attorney fees and court costs.

    The standard default situation in lawsuits is that each side pays its own costs. Or at least the failing side does. The winning side can ask the judge to make the loser pay the winner’s costs too.

    (Presumably, if you win, your case was not frivolous.)

  50. 50
    r€nato says:

    @Raven:

    The standard default situation in lawsuits is that each side pays its own costs.

    yes, I know that. But I’ve read in more than one report, that SB 1070 actually provides that the plaintiff pays the state’s court costs if their suit fails. I did not make that clear enough I guess.

    In any case, I don’t see that verbiage in SB 1070.

  51. 51
    pattonbt says:

    @r€nato:

    This is what people are missing.

    Who wrote this law? The rabid anti-immigration lobby. They can now force LEO to act and if LEO does not act they can sue for damages. While fines and penalties go to the state, legal fee’s must be paid to the lawyers, and surprise, wingnut lawyers wrote this bill. This is wingnut welfare at its highest form.

    These anti-immigrant groups will hit the ground running day fucking one with actions and lawsuits. I bet they have already drafted up a first series of “citizen” requests and have already drafted the lawsuits for ‘not sufficient enforcement”.

    Yes, the most vile parts of the law are the “papers please”, possibility of detention of legal residents and the unquestionable profiling that will occur. But, this other part is the real crux people are missing.

    This law gives citizens the right to enforce the immigration law. There will be so many actions from the anti-immigration groups it will be dizzying. They have been waiting decades for this and they crafted the law in a way that they can profit from it.

    So while It’s nice to hear some of the LEO groups in AZ say “we wont enforce it”, its not their choice. They will get sued into oblivion if they don’t.

  52. 52
    de stijl says:

    Are slippery principles reflexively grasped at during exigent circumstances a Reason thing, or does this apply to little L libertarians in general?

  53. 53
    pattonbt says:

    @Raven:

    I think the law is pretty clear, if the state loses, they pay all attorney fees. And since the writers of this law already know the state can not enforce the new law to the standards required, they know they will win 9 times out ten.

    As I said, nice wingnut lawyer welfare racket.

  54. 54
    trizzlor says:

    I hope you reconsider your views of Reason after seeing this picture of Matt Welch drinking what appears to be a 40 … which he willingly volunteered in the linked article.

  55. 55

    @r€nato:
    The thing about me is that what I do for a living is very concrete and subject to practical solutions with immediate consequences. I look at things from the point of view of doing them.

    I do not understand how the AZ law as written can be acted upon except in extremely rare conditions without resorting to physical identifiers. A person in a bank with a ski mask and a gun readily distinguishes himself from ordinary customers as does someone speeding or weaving or whatever illegal behavior that exists beyond simply existing. My state of citizenship/residency is a matter of existance rather than demonstrable behavior and that is the crux.

    To be sure there is the little issue that my Oregon driver’s license isn’t proof of legal residency and I’ll be damned if I’ll carry more. AZ being a bit more than a jaunt it isn’t likely I’ll have to deal with any of their coppers on this issue.

    Enforcing immigration law isn’t racist, but this bill can’t avoid that if it is enforced at all. Maybe someone like makewi has enough imagination to figure out a way, but its approach is to put fingers in ears and yell, “lalalalalalla.” per usual.

  56. 56
    pattonbt says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    What does Makewi have to worry about? White male privilege and all.

    So a few brown people get hassled a bit. If you are not guilty, it’s no big deal? And the ends justify the means? Amirite?

    This is why if I was crafty and in AZ, I would put in immigration complaints on every white person I know (especially those who support this law), because you know, I’m just not sure they are legal. They all kind of look illegal to me. And when the state doesn’t act, sue and collect lawyers fees.

  57. 57
    Citizen_X says:

    @R. Porrofatto: Perfect: Makewi shows up immediately after your post to shite out precisely that talking point.

  58. 58
    Raven says:

    Well, yes, we certainly should sue to force Arizona police to check the papers of one known and even prominent illegal running unchecked around the state, a Panamanian by birth. Let’s see him get arrested, handcuffed, and dragged off for deportation!

  59. 59
    silentbeep says:

    Don’t know why Reason got some true libertarian clarity on this issue, other than they are based in Los Angeles. Matt Welch is from L.A. Anyone who lives in and around that city, know that actual American citizens of Mexican ancestry exist in a significant number there – for Southern Californians, it’s not hard to fathom a similar reality in AZ. Hispanics just may not be an abstract concept to Reason magazine, unlike say how George F. Will thinks about Hispanics. Don’t know really, just a thought…

  60. 60
    Bill Rutherford, Princeton Admissions says:

    So we’re patting Reason on the back for taking the libertarian position on the bill? How far has the bar fallen, exactly? Did Radley Balko suddenly decide he was pro-cops-shooting-dogs now or something?

  61. 61

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