25 April 2010

Putting the Soviet in "red state"

So Jan Brewer swears that SB 1070, the new Arizona law that requires -- not allows, but requires -- police officers to check the immigration status of anyone who even looks like an "illegal alien," doesn't amount to a state mandate for racial profiling.  Let's pretend that this law isn't unconstitutional on its face, and look at just the environment -- GOP-dominated Arizona -- that just spawned it.
  • SB 1070's author, Russell Pearce, is a favorite of white supremacists, and he's apparently not averse to returning the favor.
  • Besides SB 1070, the Republican-dominated Arizona house also passed a "birther bill" this week.  It requires Presidential candidates to show state officials their birth certificates.
  • Just two years ago, Arizona snubbed the controversial REAL ID program, the Bush Administration's scheme to create federal-level identity cards.  Apparently, the state thinks it's okay if a form of REAL ID only applies to brown people.
  • Oh, yeah, there's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the jail-loving thug whose approach to immigration can be very charitably described as ruthless.  It's not hard to envision his cronies suing police departments who don't toe his hard line.  Now they'll have the backing of the state.
  • Did I mention that Sheriff Joe seems to love racial profiling?
I wouldn't trust any immigration law Arizona puts on its books these days -- not least this one.  Are you an American of Mexican descent, who's been a U.S. citizen for generations?  Salvadoran?  Brazilian?  How about Italian, Indian or Lebanese?  If you're not lily-white in Arizona, you'd better have papers ready.  (That goes for you, too, John Boehner.)

Welcome to Soviet Arizona.  Maybe Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky should take his puck and go home.

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