VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: How Could They Do That in Arizona! “Here it goes from a supporter of legal immigration: how are we to make sense of the current Arizona debate? One should show concern about some elements of the law, but only in the context of the desperation of the citizens of Arizona. And one should show some skepticism concerning mounting liberal anguish, so often expressed by those whose daily lives are completely unaffected by the revolutionary demographic, cultural, and legal transformations occurring in the American Southwest. . . . Mexico is now more violent than Iraq. The unrest is spilling across the borders. The old shrill argument that criminals, drug smugglers, and violence in general are spreading into the American southwest from Mexico is not longer quite so shrill.”
Related: State climate-change laws good, state immigration laws bad.
And, from Daniel Griswold at Cato: “A silver lining of the Arizona immigration law is that is has turned up the heat on Washington to re-examine federal policy. . . . In brief, the single most effective change would be to expand opportunities for legal immigration, including for low-skilled workers who make up the large majority of the illegal population.”
Yes, the real scandal isn’t how Arizona is treating illegals, it’s how the Federal government treats people who try to legally immigrate.
UPDATE: A reader says he’s suprised to see me support the Arizona bill. Well, I really don’t — that is, I don’t know if I’d have voted for it if I were in Arizona. I’m mostly reacting to the fact that — as demonstrated by Linda Greenhouse — the opposition displays that special combination of self-righteous outrage and bone-deep ignorance that really sets me off.
Lack of border security is a real problem, and pretending otherwise is dumb or dishonest. The feds are doing a lousy job of it. Arizona is trying to prod them. All this over-the-top Nazi talk — particularly from people like Greenhouse, who don’t mind the federal government deciding if I get a kidney transplant — is disgraceful, as are the bogus charges of racism, etc., that are the standard response regardless of what the issue is. That does get my dander up. [LATER: Yeah, it's a flaw. I respond to idiocy, especially preening, self-righteous idiocy. that way, which is why I don't read Andrew Sullivan much any more, for fear that he'll turn me in favor of torture and against gay marriage . . . .]
ANOTHER UPDATE: Nazis in Massachusetts now? Scrambling for a state immigration law. “A Republican crackdown blocking illegal immigrants from scooping up taxpayer-funded benefits such as welfare and food stamps is gaining steam on Beacon Hill – as Democratic lawmakers and two candidates for governor scrambled yesterday to back the tough new measure. . . . Even Gov. Deval Patrick – who supports giving in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants who graduated from Bay State schools – acknowledged the state could be doing a better job ensuring illegals don’t get state services.”
MORE: Strange Things Happen When You Don’t Begin By Calling The Other Side ‘Racist.’ Plus this: “Of course, I suppose cops could ask someone for proof that they have health insurance first, and then ask if they’re in the country legally.
STILL MORE: On the legal-immigrant front, reader Gordon Stewart writes:
We lived in the US for a few years on an E2 investor visa (from Canada) and I always said if I had it to do over again, I’d just fly down to Mexico and walk over. Way easier, cheaper and my kids would get in-state tuition like the rest of the illegals. As it was, my kids would have had to leave the US when they turned 18 and come back in on their own steam. Way to roll out the red carpet to skilled workers and business investors.
Yes, I know quite a few people who have had similar experiences. And most of the legal immigrants I know resent the illegals for this reason.
MORE STILL: Reader Mwalimu Daudi emails:
You probably have received hundreds (if not thousands) of emails about your immigration post (http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/98356/), but here is our story anyway.
My wife is a Tanzanian citizen (east Africa). We married in her country and began the paperwork to bring her to the USA. After almost a year of frustration (and a call by my Congressman to the US Ambassador) we finally got here.
Several things we observed:
1. No one in the US Embassy seemed to what they were doing. Our questions about US immigration laws either went unanswered or we were given incorrect information.
2. Many staff members at the US Embassy were rude and indifferent to me (an American citizen). But they could be downright hostile to Tanzanians – perhaps because they knew they could not file a complaint.
3. The Embassy staff made weird requests (such as the original 1040 forms – doesn’t the IRS have those?) and sent us on one wild goose chase after another (we were constantly misled about the days and times Tanzanian citizens could apply for visas). We came to the conclusion that many low-level Embassy staff members are terrified of letting in a terrorist, and will throw up an road block they can think of hoping we would give up and go away.
4. Upon entering the United States the USCIS lost my wife’s paperwork for a “green card” – and never bothered to inform us. It took the intervention of another Congressman to discover the fact. But that is nothing – I know of someone who has been in the US for many years, and the government has lost his paperwork for renewal four times.
As you have said: the country is in the very best of hands!
Let’s start our display of compassion with those who are trying to come here legally. Instead of, you know, making them feel like suckers. Why is it that the Big Government party is so eager to make people who actually obey the law feel like suckers, anyway? Because that’s how it seems . . . .
FINALLY: Reader Rainer Kissel writes:
After living in the US as a resident alien married to a US citizen for 25 years, I finally applied for citizenship. It took me that long to realize that the hoped-for retirement in my native Germany wasn’t going to happen.
After a long initial wait due to a backlog caused by a stiff fee increase I believe, everything went very quickly and without problems. Not even waits in lines. Immigration Service people were uniformly business-like to friendly and competent. Nothing got lost. My case was handled by the Pittsburgh office of the service and they deserve my thanks. To top it all off, late last year the staff at the local Federal Court of Eastern WV put on a most dignified and memorable ceremony for the around 30 people being sworn in. It involved Ruritan, the high school choir and the judge had as good a time as everybody else. After the cake and coffee downstairs, there were the volunteer ladies to take voter registration. Several other new citizens I spoke to said their cases were as uneventful as mine. It is a shame that some people have a bad experience, especially if it is because of official indifference or incompetence. The immigration service is capable of doing better.
Well, that’s nice to hear.