There’s obviously a lot going on in immigration around SB 1070 [text available here], and even Lady Gaga has decided to use her concerts as a platform for protest. The law, though it was supposed to go into effect on July 29, fell victim to a last minute injunction, much to the delight of immigrant’s rights (and civil rights) advocates.
The decision to block parts of the law was handed down by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton. Some media outlets were reporting rather too jubilantly that the law was no more. The Independent, for example, declared “the state’s crackdown on illegal migrants is ruled unlawful.” Talk about not getting your facts straight! My professors would, I’m sure, be appalled 🙂 The law has not been struck down. Parts of it have been put on hold. You find this buried several paragraphs into The Independent’s story, after a tear-jerking lead-in about a mother who can now reunite her family, but the truth is in there somewhere.
So what’s been blocked?
- Requiring police to check the immigration status of everyone they stop.
- Warrentless arrests of someone suspected of being an illegal immigrant.
- Criminalization of not carrying immigration documents at all times.
- Provisions making it a crime for an illegal alien to work.
What were the judges reasons? Several:
- It’s preemptive: Bolton didn’t buy the idea that the Federal government had abdicated it’s immigration responsibilities.
- It hurts innocent people: the law “burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked.”
- It’s burdensome: The law would “divert resources from the federal government’s other responsibilities and priorities.” (Great summary of the problems of SB 1070 from the governmental perspective here.)
Not to say this isn’t a victory, but it’s not the end of the battle. There’s a nice explanation at this fabulous blog I just discovered, Long Island Wins, which is also linked in the bullets above. But the L.A. Times has said it best:
The ruling is not the last word on SB 1070; the federal suit against the state will continue. But in granting the injunction — and making it clear that the federal government is likely to prevail at trial — the judge has powerfully bolstered the argument that a state cannot preempt federal authority on the matter of immigration.
So those are the latest developments, but it’s important to have a little context as well, which always seems to be missing in so much of the news. For example, Brewer has called illegal immigration in Arizona “a crisis.” But is it? She seems to get away with saying that without much pressure to prove it. A quick Google search can find reports, like this short piece from CNN setting the record straight:
Yet, a look at statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.
The crisis doesn’t exist. Governor Brewer is literally making things up. This is a really important point that the MSM, on the whole, isn’t addressing nearly enough. It should be common knowledge among the news-consuming public, for instance, that immigrants, even illegal ones, commit crime at a lower rate than native born Americans. It should be common knowledge because it is a fact.
If journalists are supposed to be the fact-checkers in these public discussions, it should be plastered across front pages everywhere that this “crisis” is a fake. Doesn’t exist. The politicians making these claims to justify this radical shift in law enforcement regulations are getting their fake message out far more effectively than the truth, which is that crime is down in the area.