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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arizona says it is illegal to be an “Illegal” Mexican National

     Arizona has always been the seat of radical thinking, a trait they share with the nearby state of Colorado.  If Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signs pending legislation making it illegal to be illegal, Arizona will take the cake for being the most radical and hate based state in the entire nation.  Attempts to pass this short-sighted legislation were vetoed by the prior Democratic governor.

     Because our forefathers came here seeking freedom from persecution, certain requirements were drafted into U.S. law.  In general, we believe someone must do something to be a criminal.  The legal term is “Actus Reus”, Latin for “guilty act”.  A person must beat his wife, rob a bank, drive drunk, or do something to be guilty of a crime.  

    Cartoon drawing: The Funny Times Cartoons Treasury
Cartoon Words:  Uncle Tim

It is the requirement of the “Actus Reus” that keeps the police from arresting those with diverse political or religious views just because they want to.  They can’t arrest you just because you are Catholic, for example. It also keeps local police from harassing undocumented workers.

     Under the proposed Arizona law an undocumented Mexican National does not have to do anything to break the law.  He has broken the law just by existing.  While an undocumented worker may have violated federal laws or regulations when he came to the US, that is not the basis of the Arizona law.  Rather, it is the mere fact the undocumented person exists that will give Arizona state and local police probable cause to stop him and arrest him on sight.

     The injustice of the law can better be understood if we look at US history.  Many of our forefathers came here seeking shelter from religious persecution.  The King’s army arrested those who did not share the statedaily loaf creed.  Since most worshipers were wise enough to refrain from praying while the soldiers were present, it was decided they could be arrested just for believing.  Hence, to be Catholic, for example, let alone practice being Catholic, could get you killed.  All you had to do to warrant interrogation was is be accused of being Catholic.

Photo from the Daily Loaf

     Under the Arizona law expected to pass, all the police need for probable cause to stop you or search your home is the belief you are undocumented.  You can bet a lot of US citizens are going to be stopped or have their houses searched while the county mounty swears he thought the citizen was undocumented.  Since most undocumented workers in Arizona are Hispanic, you can bet most U.S. citizens who suffer unreasonable traffic stops, street interrogations and yes, even property searches, will be Hispanic.  Well, maybe not.  Surely the police and Sheriff "Little Joe" Arpaio can tell an undocumented alien from all other Hispanics just by looking.

     The complete bastardization of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures aside, the compelling reason to throw this law in the trash is the deterrence it will have for

flag from lv nevada

 Photo Nevada Reform Immigration For America

undocumented workers to report crimes.  The boy who is raped, the wife who is abused, the husband who is robbed, none of these people can approach local police.  If they do, they are subject to arrest.  After all, they are guilty of a crime because it will be illegal to be illegal in Arizona.  As my father, the late Judge Paynter, would say, ‘that is a damn poor way to run a railroad!’.  It is an unjust way to treat people whose only crime is seek a way to put food in the bellies of their families.

     Immigration reform is sadly overdue because of extremist views like those in Arizona.  My suggestion is, take notes on which party supports these kinds of laws and which party opposes them.  If you can’t vote then call the three or four primos you know who can.  When legislatures insist on passing radical laws then it is time to vote new people into office.  Until then, invest in timber futures.  There are about to be one hell of a lot of witches burned at the stake.

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