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Unintended Consequences of Arizona’s Recent Immigration Law

In 1850, French economist Frederic Bastiat penned the essay “That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen” to illustrate how lack of foresight relates to the law of unintended consequences.

Through a series of examples, including the parable of the “Broken Window,” Bastiat demonstrated that we tend to view only the immediate visible effects of particular policies without considering their long-term, unseen consequences.

As Bastiat explained,

“…an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: It is well for us, if they are foreseen.”

His counsel is salient in light of Arizona’s draconian new immigration law. The law expands the powers of Arizona’s law enforcement to require officers to stop anyone “if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”

This law is being cheered loudly by all who have been frustrated by the federal government’s apparent lack of action regarding the very real problems associated with illegal immigration.

But the law’s supporters are only looking at that which is seen.

The visible effect is that the state of Arizona appears to be cracking down on those who are illegally residing in that state and making it tougher for illegals to freely operate in the open.

But this law will have long-term consequences that remain unseen by its proponents.

Specifically, personal liberty will be eroded by expanding the power of the state to subjectively demand the papers of anyone who appears to be an illegal alien and to arrest those who fail to prove beyond a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country with official permission.

Sadly, the loudest cheerleaders for this policy are the same ones who enthusiastically supported the unconstitutional and unnecessary invasion of Iraq as well as the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and every other self-serving expansion of state power that erodes personal liberty for the sake of “keeping us safe.”

In “Notes on Nationalism,” George Orwell observed that nationalism is inseparable from the desire for power over others.

To this end, nationalists are perfectly willing to see individual liberty sacrificed so long as the state’s punitive powers are being directed at others.

What supporters of such policies fail to see is that the exceptions they make for the state to strip others of their liberty can be — and usually are — directed against everyone, including themselves, at a future time.

This is why Bastiat encouraged the exercise of foresight prior to enacting any policy to determine the likely effects upon all rather than just the immediate effects on a particular group.

Illegal immigration must be addressed without abandoning the proper role of government.


bryanhyde1Bryan Hyde is a radio host, husband, father, graduate student at George Wythe University, and seeker of truth. He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice.

Bryan blogs at The White Rose Society and writes firearm reviews for The Truth About Guns. He and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.

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  1. Great commentary, Brian. Thanks for your insight.

  2. David J. says

    I assume Brian will be publishing his home address along with an invitation to all local illegals to break in and set up housekeeping. Go ahead and break in, Brian won’t mind because you just need a place to sleep and some food. After all you mean well.
    While my above comments are not to be taken as serious they mirror what is happening in our country. I support Arizona and will be pushing for more such laws in my state.

  3. Bryan Hyde says

    Now, Dave, let’s not resort to a straw man or go straight to hyperbole to try to make your point. The question that remains is whether a law that creates a minority with less rights or due process than the rest of society is a wise solution or not. This one of the challenges of thinking like a statesman rather than merely jumping on the emotional bandwagon of anti-illegal immigration sentiment.

    Nowhere is there any implication that our choices are limited to Arizona’s law or doing nothing whatsoever. Why not examine solutions to the illegal immigration problem that don’t seek to expand government power at the expense of everyone’s liberty?

    Perhaps we’re too hung up on the word “illegal.”

    Simply being in Arizona or the United States without official government permission is a breach of administrative law not a criminal act like breaking and entering or theft. Look up the difference between Mala en se laws and Mala prohibita laws. One law prohibits acts that are evil in themselves (rape, murder, theft, etc.) the other makes illegal things the state wishes to prohibit (like fishing from horseback in Utah).

  4. David J. says

    They do not have less “rights” or due process because of this law, but because they are not American citizens. I do agree that we should not generally increase our governments power, but it is the primary job of govt to protect us from foreign invaders. 20 % of the population of Mexico has illegally invaded out country with far reaching and disastrous consequences. If the US govt will not protect our borders (rather than Iraq’s) then Arizona will have to take care of itself. Who else will do it? The local mayors? The corporations? Oh, wait they are busy hiring sub-wage workers displacing American workers. I do welcome all creative solutions, but have seen next to nothing as of yet. Meanwhile the invasion continues and the socialist democrats enjoy it, eager to sign up democratic voters and the globalist republicans remain eager to hire semi-slave labor”.
    Breaking, entering and stealing is criminal and unethical and exactly what the illegals are guilty of because I the taxpayer am paying for their stay in this country. (Mala en se)

  5. David J. says

    Sorry; that should be “government’s power” and “our” country.

    I should have said: there are creative solutions but as of yet most all govt’s have not employed them. We may have to stop the bleeding first. Hence -Arizona.

  6. What is a viable solution then?

    I read Bastiat’s essay last year and agree that we need to look forward to make sure that we look at all immediate and long-term consequences of a law before enacting it. Arizona has been trying other solutions to no avail. The fence is a joke where it even exists at all. The man power to patrol the border is non-existent for the miles needed to cover and protect the citizens of Arizona. If Arizona put up a true wall everyone would cry out it against her.

    I lived in Arizona for 38 years of my life. I watched as my grandparents neighborhood is ransacked by illegal immigrants. Bars are now on all the windows, you can’t walk the streets at night, store signs are now in Spanish only…where is America?

    Before you make judgement on Arizona, go to the source. Drive the downtown streets of Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe. See what used to be lovely thriving cities are now “Little Mexico” as deemed by the local residents. Arizona’s economic situation is dire! Arizona’s citizens have to pay for the education and medical care of all the illegal immigrants as well as the legally born children.

    I do not think you are seeing all of the immediate ramifications of not acting. You point out the possible loss of rights, yet you do not see the current situation as it truly is. Arizona’s citizens are loosing their rights every day in the form of higher taxes to pay for the illegal immigrants draining the system. On one hand this website promotes the rights of it’s citizens to bare arms, the right to health and the pursuit of happiness, yet in another article states these same citizens should give up our right to health and the pursuit of happiness by not enacting a law that could alleviate the suffering of Arizona citizens. Arizona is bankrupt! Pray for her rather than attack her.

  7. Bryan Hyde says

    When the police are required to make a subjective judgement about whether someone appears to be in the country illegally (with no other probable cause that a crime has been committed), that diminishes due process for everyone; even though the scrutiny is aimed primarily at hispanic individuals at this time. The argument that due process or constitutional rights only apply to American citizens is not only incorrect but dangerous as well.

    The Constitution that called our federal government into existence is a contract that describes and defines the upper limits of federal government power. It does not and has never conferred rights upon the people. Our rights and the rights of all mankind are unalienable or God-given and according to Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence the reason that governments are instituted among men is to “secure those rights.”

    To put it another way, our laws and the Constitution are there to compel our government to act with equity when ANYONE is brought before it to answer charges of wrong-doing. That’s what due process is all about; making sure that government abides by its proper limits and doesn’t abuse its powers in the name of expediency.

    You’re correct, David, that the federal government has been asleep at the wheel on immigration issues for quite some time. But sowing the seeds of authoritarianism among the states is hardly a sound cure for that problem.

    You really need to examine the difference between mala en se laws and mala prohibita laws. Making a blanket statement that the illegals are guilty of a mala en se offense (breaking & entering and stealing) is wrong on several counts. First of all it is a logical fallacy of hasty generalization to make that a universal statement. Some crimes may be committed by people in the U.S. illegally, but there are many who are simply here without the government’s permission. They are violating an administrative mala prohibita law that makes their presence here illegal, but not in the same sense as a criminal act.

    A good test for discerning the difference between these two types of laws is to ask: “Where is the victim?” If someone cannot show where they have been actually harmed or suffered an actual loss of their property, then you are not dealing with a criminal act. This is where the premise that all illegals–by their presence alone–have made us a mala en se victims is an invalid argument.

    Not all who are in this country illegally are on the dole and therefore your statement that you are “paying for their stay in this country” is not entirely true either. Some illegals are milking the system for all its worth but so are millions of homegrown American citizens, so let’s not presume that the roots of this welfare state taxpayer abuse are found solely in illegal immigration.

    The bigger question that still remains is how targeting an unpopular minority who may be in violation of an administrative rule will impact the civil liberties of EVERYONE within the borders of this country. We don’t try to justify the Health Care Reform that just passed on the basis of “Well, something had to be done.”

  8. The law is working already…Illegal Immigrants Leave Arizona. Maybe they are going to Cedar City since it is so close to the Arizona border.

    The “victim” as you say is everyone in Arizona. Our taxes pay for the roads, public buildings, parks, schools, etc. Illegal immigrants use these publicly funded infrastructure for free. Their existence in our state results in overcrowded medical facilities which raise the cost of medical care, overcrowded schools which lessen the education of Arizona children, and loss of jobs.

    Some argue that these are jobs that no one else wants to do. I beg to differ, I live in the mid-west now where all the lawn care, janitorial, and home cleaning jobs are white people. These are jobs that legal Americans are willing and want to do.

    Each time illegal immigrants enter our state and steal someones identity to work…we pay for it as a nation when the prices of covering credit card debt incurred by an illegal person (who stole someone’s social security number) raise the interest rates to cover their losses. We all pay! We are all “victims” of illegal immigration.

    I still have not heard your solution. Most of the authors on this site post a problem AND a solution.

  9. David, can you articulate, with supported and credible evidence, exactly the “far reaching and disastrous consequences” of illegal immigration?

    I hear phrases like this all the time, but I’ve yet to see hard evidence of what this actually means.

    And if there is evidence, can we say with confidence that these are precisely the results of illegal immigration and nothing else, or if we’d deal with the same things because of other factors?

  10. Celeste, I have the same questions for you. You’ve made claims that illegal immigration is “draining the system,” but you didn’t provide evidence.

    And just so you two have context for my questions, I’m not calling you on the carpet or meaning to be conflictual. I’m asking sincerely.

    I don’t really have strong opinions either way on illegal immigration; I haven’t studied the facts enough.

    I just consider myself an observer of the debate who sees problem with both of the passionate sides. I see logical fallacies and generalizations both from people who are strongly opposed to illegal immigration, as well as from people who feel strongly that laws like the one in question violate human rights, etc.

    I think the reason why we can’t move forward in the debate is because it’s so emotionally charged and those who feel strongly about it are only looking at specific components of the issue.

    For example, you’ve detailed what you believe to be the problems, but haven’t considered the benefits. I don’t know that there are specific benefits; I’m just making the point.

    Also, my main concern with this entire debate is that we’re only considering leaves while ignoring roots.

    Why are people so desperate to come here in the first place? What can we do to help Mexico and other countries that would make them more likely to stay? Would those measures be cheaper and more effective than anything we could do on our side of the border?

    Again, I’m not attacking, just trying to explore the issue logically and objectively.

    Thanks for your input.

  11. I have been stating facts on how illegal immigration is a “drain on the system”, not emotional beliefs, but I did not quote my sources. My apologies.

    Cost of Illegal Immigration
    1 – “$190 million of uncompensated emergency care to undocumented immigrants” in the year 2000 for border hospitals.
    2 – “A 2004 study by the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that illegal immigration cost the state of Arizona $1.3 billion per year.”

    The cost to Arizona Tax Payers –
    1 – “Arizona has the sixth largest number of illegal immigrants in the U.S.”
    2 – “Reportedly, some residents are so fearful of alien smugglers that they avoid going out alone at night. According to the Cochise County sheriff, problems associated with illegal immigration cost residents 37 cents of every tax dollar they pay.”

    I hope this helps in your understanding of how illegal immigration affects Arizona.

  12. debbie pond says

    I have also read Bastiat essay, except I wondered why the federal govt was not fulfilling its responsibility of securing our borders. What is my govt hiding, why would they not want to secure all our borders, land, air and sea? Cheap labor? There are jobs Americans would do, but illegals can undercut the price. My brother is a landscaper in San Diego CA, and this really is a problem for him. We have a city where 60% of the population is illegal. Vista, CA. Where high school classes are taught in Spanish. Where is the incentive to learn the language. We are no longer a melting pot. People no longer need to assimilate. And the illegals, we have not even began to address those whose visas have expired.

    You addressed the problem, but gave no solutions.
    What is the proper role of govt in this instance?

    Here is a link to a reported in SD who covers the border, she was a stay-at-home mom who had finally had enough. She has also gone on rides with the border patrol, something I might suggest you try.


    “Everyone agrees racial profiling leads to hurt feelings, but when Americans travel to Europe and stay in a hotel, they are asked for their passports upon check in. Many of these hotels will keep the passports during their entire stay, where is the cry of Nazi Germany tactics Europe is practicing?”

    Your insight is welcomed.

  13. Bryan Hyde says

    As tempting as it is to blame our “victimhood” on the illegals, the truth of the matter is that they are but one contributing factor to the abuse of the taxpayers for the support of publically-funded infrastructure.

    Not all illegal immigrants are on the dole; not all of them are self sufficient, productive members of the communities in which they live. So why make hasty generalizations claiming that their very presence is victimizing us? If every illegal alien were deported tomorrow, the government would still tax us heavily and use our hard-earned dollars to support entitlement programs and public infrastructure.

    Who would we then blame?

    I didn’t create the problem of illegal immigration nor did I compound the problem by creating a law that targets an unpopular minority by allowing government greater latitude to dispense with due process for the sake of expediency. I’ve never claimed to have the perfect solution so why demand it of me? All I’ve done is suggest that the long-term effects of this law on personal liberty may outweigh any short-term benefits of its effect on illegal immigration.

    Having said that, I would suggest that any solution worth considering would not take us closer to making everyone’s identity a state-granted privilege where one’s papers must be presented upon demand. But that’s the direction this law takes us.

  14. Celeste, these statistics still don’t prove that illegal immigrants are a “drain on the system.”

    Why? Because they completely ignore the other side of the equation: production.

    Such statistics look at this problem in a vacuum and assume that immigrants are only taking from the system.

    But this is obviously and blatantly false. They’re also producing and adding value to the economy.

    So let’s see statistics showing the production side, then make a real decision. They’re only a drain on the system if they take more than they produce on net.

    But I’d bet quite a bit that they’re producing way more value to the economy than they’re taking. In other words, they’re not, in actuality, a drain on the system.

    Like Bryan said, it’s ridiculous to paint with such a broad brush. There may be a few illegal immigrants who take more from our system than they produce, but on the whole we know they’re adding to the economy.

    And the argument that they’re taking jobs away from Americans is absurd. It’s the product of a scarcity mentality that says economies are fixed systems with finite variables.

    But economist Julian Simon proved such a mindset empirically false.

    Add any one person, regardless of citizenship status, to an economy. Assuming they produce more than they consume, they add more jobs, more innovation.

    Now, I’m not arguing that illegal immigration is intrinsically good because of these reasons.

    I’m simply pointing out that I still find nothing persuasive, and very little logical, about the passionate argument that illegal immigration is having “far reaching and disastrous consequences.”

    I would argue that, on the whole, illegal immigrants produce far more benefits than they create problems for America.

  15. David J. says

    I suppose you can prove they are NOT a drain on the system.
    Oh,and Stephen, have you published your home address with an open invitation to illegals to break in through your window, because I’m sure “they will produce far more benefits than they create problems for” your household?

  16. David J. says

    The constitution Article 4 section4: “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them from invasion;…”

    I’d say 20% of the population of Mexico walking over the border constitutes an invasion.

  17. Bryan Hyde says

    David, the argument you’re presenting seems to fall along the lines of “If you see the illegal immigration issue as anything other than a detriment to society then you must be willing to put out the welcome mat to illegals and are begging to be taken advantage of.”

    This is a classic non sequitur fallacy in that it does not follow that the ability to see this issue in more than black and white terms equates with passively rolling over and giving up. By looking at the issue from as many angles as possible it’s clear that there is more nuance than those on the polarized edges of the debate are willing to admit.

    The problems associated with illegal immigration are real, but as Stephen alluded to earlier, they are not necessarily the root of the bigger problem faced by taxpayers who are still being increasingly fleeced by their own government for innumerable dubious entitlement programs.

    The principles that are at stake here have far more to do with the proper role of government than they do with simply stopping illegals from coming here.

  18. David J. says

    Article 4-section 1: “The CITIZENS of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states” (see Joseph Story’s comments on p 242 in “A Familiar Exposition On The Constitution…”)

    Amendment 14: “All persons BORN or NATURALIZED in the United States and SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF, are citizens of the Unites States..”

    This was written this way to specifically exclude American Indians who do not pledge to and subject themselves to the authority and laws (jurisdiction)of the USA. This also, excludes the children of diplomats from citizenship. It is the reason that illegals also, are not citizens and are not granted the privileges thereof. The illegals have not considered themselves to be “subject to our jurisdiction” neither they nor their children are citizens. For the child to be a citizen one parent must be a citizen.

    I support missionaries to Eastern Europe. The USA citizen married someone from the area. It took them 5 years and a lot of work to gain her citizenship. The amnesty concept and the illegals here in this country who came without going through the correct process are an insult to every foreigner including the fine Mexicans who went to the trouble to obey the law and do this the right way!

  19. David J. says

    Whereas, The Constitution Party platform affirms the integrity of the international borders of these united States and the Constitutional authority and duty of the federal government to guard and to protect those borders, including the regulation of the numbers and of the qualifications of immigrants into the country; and

    Whereas, the Federal Government has wrongfully neglected its role to guard and protect our borders, and thus all Americans, from an unprecedented invasion of illegal aliens;

    Whereas, the State of Arizona, in the dire straits of enduring the brunt of most of the illegal crossings of the national border, has passed Arizona Senate Bill 1070 which was signed by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010; and

    Whereas, this Arizona law enables its Law Enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law using federal standards protecting the rights of all citizens, and are required to do so without violating civil rights and without resorting to racial profiling;

    Whereas, the Arizona law does not require new documentation such as a national ID card, but uses existing identification documentation to establish a presumption of legal status;

    Therefore be it Resolved, that the Constitution Party National Committee stands with the people of Arizona and applauds the State of Arizona and its Governor Jan Brewer for its recent action to protect and defend it citizens, our country, and the sovereignty of both the State of Arizona and the United States of America.

  20. David J. says

    “Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer signed a law which makes it a state crime to violate federal law — in other words, it’s now against the law to be an illegal alien in Arizona. The law also prohibits profiling and states that anyone in Arizona that is
    caught committing a crime can be asked to produce proof of US citizenship.”
    I don’t see the problem with this concept.

  21. David J. says

    “Sadly, the loudest cheerleaders for this policy are the same ones who enthusiastically supported the unconstitutional and unnecessary invasion of Iraq as well as the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and every other self-serving expansion of state power that erodes personal liberty for the sake of “keeping us safe.”

    I am in favor of the Arizona policy of enforcing the existing federal law, and I am opposed to the Patriot act and our involvement in Iraq. Perhaps I’m the exception to your above speculation but, I don’t think so. Perhaps you refer to media pundits.

  22. Stephen and Brian,

    You ask ME to prove they are a “drain on the system”, where is your proof they are not? It seems like you want me to do all the work on this debate.

    All the money that illegals earn does not stay in the US, in fact, I have read studies (which I cannot find now), that state that as much as 50% of their earned income is sent to Mexico. It is impossible for a Head of Household to work in the US legally.

    Scenario #1 – They work “under the table” being paid cash in which they do not pay taxes. An American citizen would be highly penalized for doing so.

    Scenario #2 – They have a paycheck, yet stole someone’s Social Security Number in order to gain the employment. In which case they are an Identity Thief.

    In my first post I addressed the “quality of life” factor in that the illegal immigrants have degraded the quality of life in the areas they populate. I have no empirical evidence other than my own eyes and experiences. What the illegals supposedly “produce” does not outweigh the loss of quality of life to the individuals unfortunate to live in the areas they decide to overrun with crime, drugs, and sub-standard cultural living. I cannot put a price tag on the safety of my family….it is priceless to me.

  23. Here is the study called “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration“:

    From FAIR: “Californian taxpayers are picking up the tab for a net annual fiscal cost from immigration budget outlays minus tax payments of $1,178 per native-born household. For the nation as a whole, the net fiscal drain on the American taxpayers is stated in the study as $166 to $226 per household. That is a total cost to those taxpayers of $15 to $20 billion dollars, much higher than the economic benefits.”

    Here is your proof that they are a “drain on the system”.

  24. Bryan Hyde says

    Celeste, you’re asking us to prove a negative which is the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. To put that in plain english–you’re appealing to negative evidence by claiming that your premise (illegals are a drain on the system) is true only because you haven’t seen evidence to the contrary.

    This is the same rhetorical sleight-of-hand that was used by the U.S. government to put Saddam Hussein in the impossible position of “proving” that he didn’t possess the WMDs that everyone “knew” he had. Whenever Saddam did attempt to prove to the inspectors that he didn’t have the weapons, a new demand for further proof would be made.

    This is why the onus for the burden of proof is on the prosecution (in this case–you) and not the defense.

    Your own argument would be much stronger if you would take care not to couch it in universal terms such as “illegal immigrants have degraded the quality of life in the areas they populate”.

    This can only be considered a valid argument if it is universally true that ALL illegal immigrants actually degrade the quality of life where they live. But if it can be shown that some illegals have actually improved areas to which they’ve moved or that the degradation took place before they moved in or that other individuals have also played a key role in the degradation of an area then your argument is no longer valid.

    In your scenarios, you accurately describe criminal acts (tax evasion and identity theft) that are regularly committed by people who have the state’s permission to be in the U.S. so we cannot ascribe those crimes to being inseparably connected to illegal immigration alone.

    As I stated in an earlier reply, this is an issue that cannot be easily cast in black and white terms. The problems of people not assimilating into an existing society are very real, but I ask as Stephen asked earlier, are we looking at the leaves or at the roots of the problem?

    When you say that you cannot put a price tag on the safety of your family, how far are you willing to go to feel safe? This is a question we are facing in virtually every facet of life in America today and giving away priceless liberties in return for an authoritarian promise of safety is not the correct answer.

    The coercive power of the state may seem like a comforting thing when it is being wielded at those we perceive to be our enemies. But when we give the state the option of exercising greater punative power over individuals or groups that are stigmatized (not because they’ve actually been convicted of a crime but because of the group to which they belong) we are inviting the state to make ALL OF US the exception at some future time.

    If we encourage the state to become more ruthless in its treatment of illegals, polygamists, hippies, outsiders, etc., how do we guarantee that such allowances won’t eventually be made for us? On the other hand, if we require the state to address the problems with the expectation that it will continue to strictly operate in its proper role of securing God-given rights, the likelihood of a solution that doesn’t require us to choose betweeen freedom and safety is greatly improved.

    I’m just not willing to give up freedom in the long run, for the sake of a short-term solution that targets someone else.

  25. Rachel K says

    As a resident of Arizona, I completely agree with Celeste. Those who do not live here do not understand what is going on. I think Celeste addressed those issues beautifully.

    But beyond that, there is a very real issue that I don’t feel is being addressed, and it is this: What right do other states, and the Federal Government, have to tell Arizona what to do for the citizens of their state? I feel that this intrusion into states’ rights the most disturbing part of this whole debate.

    I applaud my state representatives and Governor Brewer for listening to the people they represent– ARIZONANS. We have been crying out for more than a decade for help with very real problems that we encounter EVERY DAY. But now that our leadership finally listens to us, we get demonized and taken to task by people who do not even reside in our state.

    By NOT following the rule of law on the issue of illegal immigration, our citizens are not the only ones who are being “abused” by the system. What those outside Arizona do not see, is the very real problems that anarchy creates in the day to day lives of Arizona citizens, naturalized immigrants, and even in the illegal immigrants lives, themselves.

    When the law is not followed, liberty CANNOT happen, because then there is no equality for ANYONE.

    To me, it’s beyond sad that Arizona had to *write a bill* in order to give our local justice system the right to do it’s job; arrest people for illegal activity.

    If people choose to break the law, they should be held accountable. What is the debate here?

  26. Rachel K says

    P.S.– I also have ALWAYS been ADAMANTLY against the Patriot Act and the so-called “war” on terror. I have never supported our troops being in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else they shouldn’t be. (which right now is pretty much all around the world.)

    I’m afraid your ignorant lumping together of Constitution-studying independents with neo-cons shows how narrow your own political views are on this issue.

  27. I don’t understand why people are having such a fit about this. Arizona didn’t “create” a new law. All they did was enable local officials to arrest someone for an activity that has already been established as illegal – instead of having to “turn them over” to federal authorities. Perhaps if the federal government wasn’t so busy trying to give everyone “equal things” they would actually have the time and resources to secure our border!

  28. I received this e-mail today and after reading this debate I thought I would share it. I think it gives some examples of possible unintended consequences. However, I don’t think it offers a clear solution either. There is a problem and we need a solution that is well thought out to avoid some of these unintended consequences. I also understand that any action to solve the problem is long overdue. I do not claim to know all the facts on this issue but I do think we need to be careful. The following is the e-mail I received for DownsizeDC.

    Quotes of the Day:

    “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” — Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 6:31 (NIV)

    “Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.” — William Allen White


    Once upon a time, in a country known as the land of the free and the home of the brave, these words were rarely heard:

    “May I see your papers please?”

    But, increasingly, the free and the brave became dependent and cowardly. They begged to wear chains.

    Many fought the trend, but even they were undone, because some in their ranks harbored fears greater than their love of freedom.

    Remember where you heard this . . .

    If American freedom dies, the widespread desire to control immigration will have been a major factor.

    And remember where you heard this . . .

    If the fight to defeat the creation of a national ID card FAILS, it will be because of the widespread desire to control immigration. Let us not forget, we have drawn the line on Real ID. Five years have gone by, and we’ve stalled implementation. But now, other Real ID Jr. proposals are building a head of steam.

    So remember where you heard this . . .

    Americans will have to carry internal passports, and show them to State officials constantly, and have every aspect of their lives controlled by far off know-it-alls in the federal bureaucracy. Your federal overlords will gain increased control over . . .

    * Where, how, and even if you can earn a living
    * Whether or not you can board a train, or enter a federal building
    * Whether or not you can cash a check, or buy guns or alcohol
    * What kind of healthcare you receive
    * How long you’ll stand in line at the DMV, and whether you can have a license
    * Whether or not you can be stopped on our streets, and even detained, for failure to display your card
    * And many other aspects of your life

    This total control will be made possible by a national identification system that was put in place in order to control immigration. But it will really control YOU!

    In this way, immigration control and registration is just like gun control and registration — it most deeply affects law-abiding citizens.

    Remember where you heard this . . .

    The immigration debate is NOT about what Mexicans will be allowed to do, IT’S about what YOU will be allowed to do. It’s about YOUR freedom . . .

    * First the politicians wanted to curtail your freedom to protect you from terrorists
    * Now they want to curtail your freedom to protect you from Mexicans

    Remember where you heard this . . .

    The immigration debate is a scam. It’s fear-mongering, foisted by busy-bodies of all varieties. The result will be Bigger Government in Washington, DC. It will control YOU. And now, it’s up to YOU to decide . . .

    Are you afraid of terrorists and Mexicans? …or whatever hobgoblin the Big Government Fearmongers will conjure next?

    Will you be free and brave, or dependent and cowardly? Will you trade YOUR FREEDOM for a false promise of protection?

    This is how we see the issue. And if you end up in chains, remember who warned you. We did.

    Meanwhile, for the brave who want to remain free, let the spirit of resistance continue . . .

    Please send a letter to Congress opposing all national identification schemes, including the new attempt by Senators Schumer and Graham, to MAKE ALL OF US CARRY Social Security cards with biometric identifiers.

    In addition to this campaign’s hardwired letter to Congress, which reads as follows — “Please don’t try to fix the REAL ID Act. Please, just repeal it.” — we suggest you add the following in your personal comments . . .

    “Please oppose any legislation that contains any support for any kind of national identification system. I specifically oppose plans for a Social Security card containing biometric identifiers. I do not want ANY national identification scheme, and I reject your claim that I need such a system in order to be protected from terrorists and Mexican immigrants. I am not afraid! And I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf.”

    You can send your letter to Congress here: https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/30

    Our thanks go to those who prefer bravery and freedom.

    Jim Babka & Perry Willis
    President & Vice President
    DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

    D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h

    Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation.


  29. Rachel, I agree with you the people of Arizona are the ones who are living it everyday. Therefore, they should be the ones involved in the solution. I do not claim to agree with everything in the DownsizezDC e-mail I posted but I did think it was something to think about. At this point I think the people of Arizona should decide how to handle the problem. The federal government could help by defending the boarder instead of claiming that the law is “misguided” ….again there are many facts on the issue that I do not know…God help us.

  30. Bryan Hyde says


    “I’m afraid your ignorant lumping together of Constitution-studying independents with neo-cons shows how narrow your own political views are on this issue.”

    The sad truth, Rachel is that even “Constitution-studying independents” can be successfully wooed by the siren song of nationalism into excusing the abuse of government power against those who aren’t “us.” I know this from personal experience because I was in that very position not so many years ago.

    Statism–by which I mean the belief that anything not under the control of the state is, by definition, out of control–is not limited to a particular party or political slant. There are Republican conservatives who smoke pot and there are church-going Democratic liberals who have a keen moral compass.

    Preventative laws allow government to exercise subject and arbitrary powers to PREVENT people from doing things and require a subsequent reduction in personal liberty. An example would be making a person’s identity a state-granted privilege and requiring them to carry and produce upon demand an internal passport of some sort to prove that they are indeed recognized by the state. It would punish those who were unable to produce such an ID for not being in compliance with a state directive. It also seeks to treat everyone as guilty of violating the law until they have proven themselves to be in compliance. Of course, in the case of Arizona, the “guilty” include anyone who looks as if they might be here without proper permission (read–Hispanics).

    Protective laws, on the other hand, seek to PROTECT inalienable rights by bringing the law to bear only where an actual crime (with a victim) has occurred. The only ones who are punished are those who have been duly convicted of an offense against another’s person or property. Protective law operates under the presumption that ALL are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and due process is afforded equally to all regardless of which group identity others may assign them.

    Protective law requires the state to prove its case without compelling an individual to testify against himself or herself. Yes, it requires much of the state in order to make its case stick. But the rights of ALL are protected from the temptation to apply any law arbitrarily or subjectively against a person or group that is deemed unpopular.

    Only one of these approaches is consistent with liberty.

  31. Rachel K says


    There are MANY Hispanics here in central AZ. Whites are not much of a majority, as they are in Utah, where you live. If you think that the police officers have the time or inclination to pull over every person who looks Hispanic, then you are mistaken– and not familiar with the cultural makeup of Arizonans. I have neighbors and friends of many MANY races. Many of whom are here as LEGAL immigrants. As with ANY suspect, there is valid, easily seen evidence that must be present in order for a person to be arrested. Yes, even in AZ under the so-called “new” law. No one is rounding up Hispanics on the corners. And trust me, there are dozens and dozens of obviously ILLEGAL Hispanic immigrants standing out on the corners EVERY day, waiting to be hired, who are not approached AT ALL by police, even when the businesses they stand in front of have visible signs out front warning that those who “loiter” will be prosecuted.)

    Entering a country ILLEGALLY *IS* an actual crime. At what point should a state PROTECT the rights of non-citizens OVER citizens? Because THAT is what is happening when lawmakers do not hold law-breakers accountable for breaking the law. The burden of proof DOES remain on the state, as with any other kind of suspected crime.

    I reiterate: LIBERTY CANNOT HAPPEN WHEN THERE IS ANARCHY. Ignoring the rule of law causes anarchy. And that is what the state of Arizona is dealing with, when there is a large group of people who are refusing to obey the rule of law. And the ones who suffer are the LEGAL citizens of the state.

  32. Bryan Hyde says

    I’m curious what exactly makes a person’s immigration status so “obvious” to you, Rachel? Is it the loitering? The job-seeking? The language they speak? Their clothing?

    I’m not trying to be coy here, but I’d like you to explain which of those characteristics (loitering excepted) is indicative of criminal activity? Which constitutes a “reasonable suspicion” as AZ law now requires?

    Each of the indicators you cited proves no clearly definable criminal act or intent unless one engages in a SUBJECTIVE interpretation of what they’re seeing. That’s what AZ cops are being required to do and that’s where the “solution” creates a whole new set of problems for everyone–not just the hispanics.

    I agree that it is illegal (a violation of an administrative rule) to enter the U.S. without proper permission. But to call it a crime in the same sense as rape, robbery, murder, theft, etc., is a bit overblown.

    Merely existing in a place where one lacks proper state documentation is not the same thing as engaging in anarchist behavior. The only party who is offended in this case is the state whose arbitary rule has been broken.

    Now a person who is committing actual crimes (with actual victims) is engaging in anarchist behavior and ought to be held accountable before the law. Being able to distinguish between these two types of offenses would go a long way toward preventing police state type misbehavior.

    Do you notice that I make no distinction between the state’s treatment of citizens vs. non-citizens when an actual crime is committed? The rule of law requires the state to treat ALL equally before the law. If the state is allowed to be arbitrary and selective in its application of the law, then you have something even worse than anarchy. You have tyranny.

  33. debbie pond says

    What this all sounds like is someone arguing, just for arguings sake. We have a problem, and the author of this article.

    Once again, we have a problem, HUGE ONE. How many more of these are going to happen?


    Like I said before, do you have a solution?

  34. debbie pond says

    One last comment from a writer at Townhall,

    “Never mind that this is a grotesque distortion of the law. Police have to have a reason other than suspicion of being an illegal immigrant — a traffic violation, disorderly conduct, etc. — to ask for your “papers” in the first place. Taking your kid to get ice cream isn’t legal grounds for the cops to stop you.

    But forget that. Aside from the concern that Hispanic-Americans buying ice cream will be harassed, the other main objection is that legal immigrants will need to carry their “papers.”

    As many others have observed, this is pretty thin gruel. Legal immigrants have been required under federal law to carry their papers for generations. If you’re for that in theory but against it in practice, you’re against enforcing any kind of immigration policy at all.”

    Like the title of the article?


  35. Bryan Hyde says

    I’ve already offered the solution that is most compatible with maintaining the proper role of government without compromising liberty, but it’s not the answer you want to hear.

    Jonah Goldberg is a perfect example of the type of cheerleaders who can justify nearly any distortion of the proper role of government so long as it is being directed at our enemy de jour. Invasion of Iraq, PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act, etc., Goldberg has shown a decidedly nationalist streak.

    Like I posted earlier, statism is not limited to a particular political bent.

  36. I think this link adds to the conversation. Truly, as long as fear motivates the agenda, we will be left with a state that is more oppressive and controlling.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Billy Bush. Billy Bush said: Unintended Consequences of Arizona’s Recent Immigration Law: In 1850, French economist Frederic Bastiat penned the… http://bit.ly/aTw8b5 […]

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