Last week, Arizona passed legislation designed to enforce current federal laws that prohibit the unlawful crossing of U.S. borders. On the surface, some might think that’s a good idea but underneath it all, the constitutional freedoms of all Americans could be in jeopardy.
The law requires that everyone has to show proof they are an American citizen and not an illegal immigrant, but only if they are questioned about any civil or criminal activity. Civil rights activists argue the new law will encourage racial profiling, which is illegal. The supporters of the bill say it will force President Barack Obama to keep his promise to solve the immigration dilemma that’s been going on for years. Both sides have a valid argument. But this is not the first time Arizona has been accused of discrimination.
In 1986, the nation celebrated a day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For the first time, Arizona, by executive order, signed by its governor, Bruce Babbitt, joined the celebration. One year later a newly elected governor, Evan Mecham, rescinded the order, stating it wasn’t legal. Then the National Football League (NFL) got involved.
In 1990, the Superbowl Site Committee for the NFL met in Florida. Phoenix, Ariz. was considered the first choice to host the 1993 Superbowl. Also in 1990, Arizona residents voted against a ballot question authorizing the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then, the NFL, consisting of a majority of black players, boycotted Arizona. The state lost an estimated $350 million, was labeled as racist and, after all the falderal, finally voted for the holiday’s approval in 1992, becoming the only state to officially vote for the federal holiday.
In 2006, a Federal Bureau of Investigations crime report indicated that property crime in Arizona had increased and seemed to be directly related to illegal immigration and poverty. The Mesa, Ariz. Police Department said illegal aliens were responsible for 80 percent of violent crime in the Phoenix area. Since then, Arizona’s governor and U.S. Sen. John McCain have been fighting for federal legislation to protect Arizona’s borders from illegal aliens. Their concerns fell on the sympathetic but deaf ears of both President George W. Bush and Obama, until now.
The government’s policy of providing so-called cheap labor for business and industry by turning its head on illegal immigration is no longer applicable. Actually, it never was. It’s time for the U.S. government to use the same military presence protecting our borders as it does protecting the borders of Germany, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world.
The United States has expanded its military presence to 150 nations and territories around the world. Its 325,000 service men and women stationed abroad represent more than half of the combined total overseas deployment of all the rest of the nations in the world.
The best statistics I can find indicate we still have more than 116,000 military personnel stationed in Europe, north Africa and parts of the Middle East. Our European presence increased after the demise of the Berlin Wall. There are 50,000 troops in Japan and 38,000 military personnel in south Korea.
In our effort to protect our borders from Taliban and al-Qaida Muslim terrorists, we have placed more than 120,000 troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. Rather than violating our individual freedoms with racial profiling, we should bring some of these troops home to protect our own borders.
Illegal immigration is not an isolated problem. The Mexican drug cartels are taking over Arizona borders, murdering U.S. ranchers and anyone else standing in their way. Their drugs are found in most cities in America. So, Arizona didn’t have much of a choice in passing this controversial legislation. As a matter of fact, they might have done a favor for all Americans. Now, Obama will have to do something about immigration.
Actually, we don’t need many troops or a Berlin Wall to protect our Mexican-American borders. We use drones in Afghanistan that can miraculously see through solid concrete walls and kill innocent civilians while they are sleeping, claiming they are terrorists because they have a gun under their pillow. These same drones should be used, day or night, to identify illegal immigrants crossing our borders.
If the government succeeds in safeguarding the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan from terrorists by depleting our resources dealing with illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other crimes filtering across our own borders, maybe we should move the White House to Baghdad.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at email@example.com. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.