Article Comment 

Ben Toledano: Opposition bordering on the ridiculous

 

Ben Toledano

 

Surely I can''t be the only person amazed by the opposition to Arizona''s Senate Bill 1070 "relating to unlawfully present aliens." However, the opposition itself is one thing; the expressed reasons for it are quite another. What is really going on here? 

 

Have you read the statute? Well, I have, and its clearly declared intent is to assist in enforcing "federal immigration laws" in Arizona. "The provisions of this act are intended to work together [with federal immigration authorities] to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States." Specifically, nothing in the Act may limit or restrict the "enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws to less that the full extent permitted by Federal Law." In conclusion, it is declared that: "This act shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens." 

 

For whatever reason or reasons, the federal government has not enforced its existing laws pertaining to illegal immigration. Such failure causes tremendous problems for the States bordering Mexico. The legal question, in clearest terms, is: Can the states protect their own borders from illegal immigration, particularly if the federal government defaults in its obligation to enforce its own immigration laws? To answer No to that question makes no sense at all. Can you remember the time when illegal meant against the law? 

 

Back to what is really going on with the rabid opponents of the bill. Virtually nothing they have to say relates in any way to the question of immigration, illegal or otherwise. No matter how unreasonable and offensive it may be, they talk and write only about race, racism, and racial profiling, subjects which have nothing to do with illegal immigration. The plaintiffs in the case to block Arizona''s new law allege in part that police officers are required to use race as the basis for enforcing the law. What race is that?  

 

The July 12 edition of Jackson''s Clarion Ledger included this quote from Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance executive director Bill Chandler who, in attacking the Arizona law, said: "They [African-Americans in the Mississippi House] have shown a lot of compassion and support for the Latino community. This is the same kind of racism that has been perpetuated against African Americans for years."  

 

When I asked the Clarion Ledger Editorial Director what race Mexicans belong to, he told me to check the Internet. "It''s pretty plain." Guess what I found out. Mexicans are Caucasians. No kidding. So what does race have to do with Arizona''s new law? Only this. Race is used as a weapon on the Left to kill thought and discussion. It''s a way of closing the door of reason, of sponsoring feelings of guilt, and of refusing to consider the merits of a given proposal. And, at the same time Race is thrown in our faces, we are told disingenuously: "We need national comprehensive immigration reform, not just each state trying to one-up each other with punitive legislation." 

 

The Dispatch published an article by two persons of the Left, one the head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the other the head of the National Council of La Raza, "the largest U.S. Latino civil rights and advocacy organization." And what did these fair-minded and impartial arbiters have to say? Well, basically, they believe the Major League Baseball All Star game, presently scheduled to be played in 2011 in Phoenix, should be moved to another State because the best interests of baseball "... include protecting players and millions of fans of color, not allowing MLB to be perceived as condoning blatant discrimination and injustice, and taking a stand for fairness, equality and other values that Americans and baseball hold dear." 

 

Recently, when the President of Mexico visited the U.S., he blasted Arizona and its new statute. None of our national "leaders" made any response to his criticisms. Here was a man in whose own country nearly 3,000 people have been killed as the result of drug wars, and he was making harsh comments about law enforcement in one of our own States. No wonder so many U.S. citizens are so upset about the state of our union. 

 

The last time I was in Mexico, we drove across the border and were immediately directed by armed soldiers to an office where we were required to answer questions, fill out forms, pay fees, and obtain travel permits. We also had to place a large decal on our car''s windshield. During our trip, we were stopped several times by armed soldiers who asked for and inspected our papers.  

 

Were the Mexican authorities using "race as a primary factor in deciding how" to enforce their laws? Good thing the all-star game wasn''t scheduled to be played in Oaxaca. 

 

One last point. I love Mexico, its people, its architecture, its culture and especially its art. At the same time, I love the U.S. when it upholds its status as a government of laws. The funny thing about laws is they''re only useful and worthwhile if they''re enforced. Is it really racist to be in favor of law enforcement? I hope not. 

 

Toledano is a lawyer and writer who spends his time in Columbus and Pass Christian. His articles and reviews have appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. His e-mail address is bentoledano@cableone.net.

 

 

printer friendly version | back to top

 

Reader Comments

Article Comment us citizen commented at 7/18/2010 7:29:00 AM:

I am ashamed that the President of the UNITED STATES of America did not stand up to the Mexican President when he was talking about Arizona enforcing the immigration laws! Obama should have asked him how they protected their southern borders and what happened to anyone who crossed over illegally into their country and he should have asked him in front of all of the cameras!!! Then he should have asked him why he was butting in our country's business when he could not even protect his own citizens from the drug cartels in his country!!

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/18/2010 8:22:00 AM:

Guess what I found out. Mexicans are Caucasians.

Ben, you just defined the term "disingenuous." You might as well say that blacks can't be discriminated against because they're part of the human race, just like whites.

What a hack. Sad that the Dispatch has to resort to cheap retreads from partisan rags like the National Review and the WSJ.

 

Article Comment insanity commented at 7/18/2010 10:08:00 AM:

We need to find a presidential candidate with extensive military experience that also has a degree in economics and finance. I realize a person with that resume probably doesn't exist, but it would be nice. I'd love to see someone in the white house that has a military mind set. Tough, fair, honest,disciplined (there's a lost characteristic in Washington), and would obviously stand up for the US!!

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/18/2010 5:07:00 PM:

I'd love to see someone in the white house that has a military mind set.

Paging Gen. Wesley Clark!

 

Article Comment thom geiger commented at 7/18/2010 8:34:00 PM:

What humans are considered "whites"?

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/19/2010 9:08:00 AM:

Thom,

From Merriam-Webster: "being a member of a group or race characterized by light pigmentation of the skin."

You're welcome.

 

Article Comment thom geiger commented at 7/19/2010 9:43:00 AM:

That explains little to nothing, as it might or might not apply to such peoples as Greeks, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Malaysians, Arabs and Jews, and many others that stereotypical Caucasians would not agree are "characterized by light pigmentation of the skin". It also explains nothing about bi-racial individuals.

I would point out that the very definition of light pigmentation of the skin is totally subjective, but you and I have been down this road before where you make a statement about a group of humans and refuse to be specific or quantify a noun or verb you use to define other humans.

The 'N' word is in that same dictionary source you quoted for the definition of "whites", a term I find as offensive as I do that other word and other racist terms.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/19/2010 10:35:00 AM:

Take up your complaint with Merriam-Webster, Thom. I'm sure they'd love to hear your notes.

As for defining the races, perhaps you should consult Mr. Toledano. His support for racial segregation, along with his work for the pro-segregationist States' Rights Party, should render him an expert on this subject of racial distinctions.

 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/19/2010 10:51:00 AM:

As long as the business communities keep working these illegal immigrants because of cheap labor, the best we can hope for is amnesty for them. I have not heard of any arrests being made by the state of Arizona of business' that are working these illegal immigrants. There are laws on the books for this purpose. That tells me it is all for political purposes only.
sharp nasal kent Bush-Cheney had a military mind set that got us into two wars. They knew how to start them, but had no idea how to win them. These two wars will never be won, unless we "nuke" them. They have only help to destroy our economy.

 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/19/2010 4:46:00 PM:

For whatever reason or reasons, the federal government has not enforced the laws pertaining to illegal immigration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends more money lobbying members of congress than any other organization. The Chamber has pushed for immigration reform that would allow a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. You would think that this lawyer and writer would know what the problem is and explain it to the people.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/19/2010 4:54:00 PM:

sharp nasal kent -- Google up "whites" on Wikipedia. They have a pretty full explanation of the subject there. Forget Thom, he's just trying to show his computer superiority again. I'm surprised that he didn't offer some website for you to follow.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/19/2010 7:58:00 PM:

Has anyone actually read the law? Contrary to the talk, it is a reasonable, limited, carefully-crafted measure designed to help law enforcement deal with a serious problem in Arizona.

The law requires police to check with federal authorities on a person's immigration status, if officers have stopped that person for some legitimate reason and come to suspect that he or she might be in the U.S. illegally. The heart of the law is this provision: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency...where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person..."
Is having to produce a driver's license too burdensome? These days, natural-born U.S. citizens, and everybody else, too, are required to show a driver's license to get on an airplane, to check into a hotel, even to purchase some over-the-counter allergy medicines. If it's a burden, it's a burden on everyone. Critics worry the law would force some people to carry their papers. The fact is, since the 1940s, federal law has required non-citizens in this country to carry, on their person, the documentation proving they are here legally -- green card, work visa, etc. That hasn't changed.







 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/19/2010 8:49:00 PM:

The funny thing about laws is they are only useful when enforced. Were it not for the lobbyists, these laws would be enforced. This writer should know that, instead of trying to place the blame where it shouldn't be.

 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/19/2010 9:01:00 PM:

We have to be nice to the President of Mexico, or he may refuse to let Mexican trucks use the Interstate highway that Bush proposed building from there to Canada to transport commerce.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/19/2010 9:45:00 PM:

hope, I don't recall that I placed any blame to anyone, if your comment was directed at me. I do agree that sufficient immigration laws are already on the books, but for political or other reasons, they are not enforced. First, you have to understand that Ben Toledano is a lawyer and a politician and ran for Mayor of New Orleans back in the 1970's and lost to Moon Landeau, father of the current senator from LA. And, you have to understand New Orleans and Louisiana politics to understand him. If you think we have political intrigue in Mississippi and Alabama, you should try Louisiana. I think that he acquitted himself quite well in stating that the uproar against the Arizona law is political, and not racial, though the opponents would have you believe otherwise. I would suggest that you read the US Code on Immigration, and then read the Arizona law and see if there is any real conflict between them. As for me, I see illegal immigrants as invaders and national security risks, and would treat them with the same deterrence as I would treat any foreign invader that tried to cross our borders.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/19/2010 11:41:00 PM:

Speaking of ridiculous, I just noted that the President has ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to man the 2,000 mile border starting August 1 for a period of one year. That calculates to 1 2/3 man per mile of gullies and desert terrain. That's really sealing off the border. Add to this that the troops will be armed, but can only fire back in self defense if fired upon. Sort of reminds me of the 1960s where we faced mobs of several hundred angry people with empty weapons with the magazines removed to assure the mob that we couldn't shoot back. Another paper show of force. What do you want to bet that they will never be issued ammo?

 

Article Comment stormy commented at 7/20/2010 3:21:00 AM:

us citizen comments:
7/18/2010 7:29:00 AM

I am ashamed that the President of the UNITED STATES of America did not stand up to the Mexican President when he was talking about Arizona enforcing the immigration laws!
Wow you are asking alot! I would like to see the president of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA stand up for AMERICA!!

And I for one don't care what creed or color you are, a person's immigration status should be legal!! If any part of your status of being in America is illegal, you should be deported!

 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/20/2010 8:18:00 AM:

doj, what would be your solution to seal off the border. It's easy to criticize. If they would start arresting and fining the people working these illegals, they would have no reason to come. They should take the money they collect from these fines to pay for security on the border. The taxpayers should not have to pay a dime for these business's to keep hiring them.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/20/2010 8:40:00 AM:

@doj:

"Reasonable suspicion" that a person is undocumented is always going to have a racial component. In fact, race will likely be the only component, because there are no other visible indicia of "being in the country illegally." Someone without papers looks no different from anyone else.

That means the burden of this law will rest solely on Hispanics. In Arizona there are millions of Hispanics in the country legally - many who were born here, and whose parents were born here. Now these LEGAL CITIZENS will have to prove their citizenship status to every two-bit sheriff's deputy who stops them for a broken taillight; yet no white people or African-Americans or Asian-Americans will ever have to do the same.

Thus, the EFFECT of the law will be racially discriminatory, even if the law is not discriminatory on its face. It is a textbook violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

As for driver's licenses, I don't believe they reflect the licensee's citizenship status, and one is not always required to prove that he is a citizen to obtain a driver's license. Undocumented aliens often have driver's licenses.

 

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/20/2010 8:49:00 AM:

Kent, if you knew anything you'd know there is no actual classification called "black." Blacks are classed as Negro, from the word Negroid, and is the actual scientific name used to describe those with certain physical characteristics. Maybe the helmet you're wearing kept you from knowing it.

As for Obama and his lack of interest in enforcing immigration laws, it isn't hard to see why. He is hoping the Latino vote, along with the Negro vote, will return him to office for a second term. I think after having him in office now almost half-way through his first term, no self-respecting Caucasian is going to make that mistake again.

And I'm sure by now half of you are labeling me a Republican, and you'd be wrong. I don't care for either party, and don't know why you do considering it is costing you your country.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/20/2010 9:41:00 AM:

kent, we have the laws, manpower, and technology to seal the border in less than a month, but our elected officials don't have the political will to do it. It is going to take a tragedy of large proportions, a massacre of several dozen perhaps, that really riles the ire of the American populace before the namby pamby, hand wringing liberals and/or progressives in Washington will do anything. As to racial profiling, if you see an old van, obviously overloaded with Latino people, traveling with no tail lights, in a known corridor of illegal entry and the driver and passengers are extremely nervous and have no identity papers, shouldn't law enforcement have the right to be suspicious of their legality? As to legal immigrants or guests in our country, and legal residents, I was a little more than chagrined to watch the protesters flying the Mexican flag at their demonstrations. Culture, be damned, they are supposed to be Americans first. I agree with roscoe that the politicians are not going to upset the Latino vote.





 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/20/2010 10:35:00 AM:

@roscoe:

Kent, if you knew anything you'd know there is no actual classification called "black."

I believe you are familiar with an article in this very newspaper about a robbery in which the perpetrator was described as a "6' 2", 200 lb. black male." You'd better call the cops and tell them there is no such thing as a "black" person and that ALL 6'2", 200 lb. males are potential suspects. (And if you get a black cop on the phone, please, please tell him or her that the correct term is "Negro.")

@doj:

kent, we have the laws, manpower, and technology to seal the border in less than a month

I'm pretty sure we don't.

...namby pamby, hand wringing liberals and/or progressives in Washington will do anything.

Query: when Bush was president and had a solid Republican majority in Congress, where was immigration reform on his agenda?

As to racial profiling, if you see an old van, obviously overloaded with Latino people, traveling with no tail lights, in a known corridor of illegal entry and the driver and passengers are extremely nervous and have no identity papers, shouldn't law enforcement have the right to be suspicious of their legality?

By specifying that they are Latino you have proved my point about the discriminatory effect of the law. (Also, the correct term for "known corridor of illegal entry" in Arizona is "road.")

As to legal immigrants or guests in our country, and legal residents, I was a little more than chagrined to watch the protesters flying the Mexican flag at their demonstrations. Culture, be damned, they are supposed to be Americans first.

Are you equally chagrined by displays of the Irish flag in St. Patrick's Day parades? The Italian flag on "Jersey Shore"? The Confederate flag on pickup trucks right here in Mississippi?

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/20/2010 11:28:00 AM:

OK kent, just be aware that nobody likes a smarta$$!

First, I probably know a little more about the capabilities of the US military than you do. We stopped cross border raiding before and we can do it now. All it takes is the will to do it.

Secondly, I didn't specify either Democrat or Republican, I said politicians, and I meant ALL politicians.

Thirdly, call it what you want, if it takes so called racial profiling to protect our borders, then so be it. It could be a car load of wolves invading a sheep pen, but either way, it must be dealt with. Life is funny that way, some must be inconvenienced so that all can live securely.

Fourthly, your flag display analogy doesn't hold water. Using foreign flags to protest against the policies of the state is going a little too far. You are either American or you are not. I note that the protesters are now using the American flag only during their demonstrations. They felt the heat of criticism about the Mexican flag.

And lastly, I am a natural born, free, tax paying citizen of the United States. I express my opinions openly. Whether you agree with them or not is not my concern. I am not going to argue semantics with you for the sake of argument.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/20/2010 12:24:00 PM:

We stopped cross border raiding before and we can do it now.

It's a 2,000-mile border. You said within a month. What secret military capacity do we have that would allow us to work this miracle?

I didn't specify either Democrat or Republican, I said politicians, and I meant ALL politicians.

You said "liberals and/or progressives." Are you saying Jim DeMint is a liberal?

Thirdly, call it what you want, if it takes so called racial profiling to protect our borders, then so be it.

Thank you for admitting that the Arizona law necessitates racial profiling - which is unconstitutional as a violation of the guarantee of equal protection.

Fourthly, your flag display analogy doesn't hold water. Using foreign flags to protest against the policies of the state is going a little too far.

Because...?

You are either American or you are not... I am a natural born, free, tax paying citizen of the United States. I express my opinions openly.

As do I. As do the American citizens waving Mexican flags in protest. We all enjoy the same rights.

We aren't arguing semantics here. We're arguing about a law that is discriminatory in effect. It is quite easy for those of us who will not bear the burden of the enforcement of this law to say "what's a little discrimination?" But it's the wrong thing to do, not to mention unconstitutional. (And this is entirely setting aside the very real question of whether a state has the power to enforce federal immigration law.)

Not to mention that the Arizona law won't even be very effective at doing what it purports to do. What percentage of undocumented aliens do you think it would catch?

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/20/2010 1:28:00 PM:

Careful, kent. You are close to being categorized as one in sympathy with some of the other nuts on here that write without thinking. I expressed my views. Whether you like it or not, I don't give a damn!

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/20/2010 3:48:00 PM:

Careful, kent. You are close to being categorized as one in sympathy with some of the other nuts on here that write without thinking. I expressed my views. Whether you like it or not, I don't give a damn!

My arguments were very well thought out. If you can't see that, well... I guess I don't give a damn.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/20/2010 4:56:00 PM:

kent, some people who write have something to say, others write just to say something. You are in the latter category. You are the one who turned an intellectual debate about the Arizona law into a brawl by attacking what I wrote. I have neither the time nor inclination to fence with you over a matter of which neither of us has any control over. I expressed my views, you disagree. Fine!!!! You are entitled to your more offensively intellectually arrogant opinion.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/20/2010 5:35:00 PM:

doj, would you be so kind as to point out the "attack" I made that turned our discussion into a "brawl"? Thanks.

 

Article Comment doj commented at 7/20/2010 5:39:00 PM:

kent -- no comment!

 

Article Comment boblille@cableone.net commented at 7/21/2010 8:31:00 AM:

I would like to know why the Vice, President, the Speaker of the House and Conress, all the Democrats stood up and gave the Mexican President a standing ovation when he condemned the Arizona LAW.

Al Jenkins, Steens

 

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/21/2010 8:32:00 AM:

Citing the Dispatch as a reference for correct wording isn't going to save you Kent. And with the exception of a few people, I seldom see a "black" person as they are mostly brown. The same goes for "whites". Very seldom will you see someone who is actually white as most are pigmented to some degree.

And don't even get me started on African-American as that is an even bigger lie perpetuated by a minority that refuses to assimilate into society. Unless you came here in a recent generation from Africa, you are only fooling yourself.

And the funniest part of it all Kent, is the idea that you think I would address a "black" person by their scientific classification. That kind of gives me the idea you might just be a racist Mr. Kent. What do you say, "hey white boy"? "Hey Cuban boy?" Why else would you suggest to me to address a cop as a Negro?

You've got bats in your cave mister.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/21/2010 5:11:00 PM:

Hey, roscoe's back and he's been in the cooking sherry!

 

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/22/2010 9:22:00 AM:

Yeah, that's what I thought Kent. You're all methane.

 

Article Comment sharp nasal kent commented at 7/22/2010 12:00:00 PM:

You're insane, Roscoe. That's why I love you.

 

Article Comment hope commented at 7/22/2010 12:07:00 PM:

I noticed on Fox news the other day that the polls thought the Republicans would do a better job of securing the border than the present administration. After eight (8) years of Bush and his fellow Repubs, I think they took a phoney poll. Their record speaks for them. More Fox news "BULL."

 

back to top

 

 

Most Viewed Opinion Stories

 

1. Slimantics: State senate race: Four candidates, zero ideas LOCAL COLUMNS

2. Voice of the people: Marjorie (Margie) Canon LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)

3. America's liberal tradition NATIONAL COLUMNS

4. Voice of the people: Kelsey Van Every LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)

5. Our View: And the winner is ... Poindexter Hall DISPATCH EDITORIALS

 

More popular content      Suggest a story

 

 

Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Instagram

Follow Us via Email