The current controversy over Arizona's new immigration enforcement legislation, supported by 70% of the population according to polls, has engendered a firestorm of protest by so-called "immigration supporters." The uproar is reported to be concentrated among Hispanics, although some photos of the demonstrations seem to show a number of Caucasian faces. If one is a cynic, one might think there may be a number of professional protesters and anarchists who seem to turn out regularly to march in any anti-authority cause. The abundance of professionally-printed signs is also a bit suspicious, suggesting professional involvement.
In addition, a veritable army of commentators have surfaced, meticulously picking apart Arizona's new law and assigning some pretty outlandish extrapolative interpretations to selected excerpts. Invariably, the conclusion is that Arizonans are anti-immigration racist bigots. Now I actually don't currently know anyone who lives in Arizona, but I find that hard to believe.
But the main problem I have with this whole brouhaha is the pervasive misleading semantics being practiced. Invariably, the poor mistreated folks who are the targets of the law are described as "immigrants" without the added adjective "illegal". The law is depicted as "anti-immigration," as are any who support it. (This is in addition to the "racist-bigot" label.) Without question, the Arizona law is not anti-immigration. It very specifically targets illegals who are technically not even immigrants in the accepted interpretation.
An immigrant is someone who has entered a new country via the existing legal framework. This country is largely populated by immigrants and their descendants. They entered the United States in accordance with the existing immigration policy and legal procedure. My parents were among them, entering through Ellis Island in the late 1920's. Most Hispanic residents went through the same process. My guess is many of them are not particularly fond of those who skirt the rules and sneak across the border, regardless of ethnicity. The fact is, these folks, regardless of the merit of their motivation, are simply intruders, not immigrants.
The mainstream media, if they were honest and courageous, would use accurate terminology when refering to these clandestine intruders. At least add the adjective "illegal" to the "immigrant" misnomer. Instead, we are subjected to what can only be described as deceptive reporting in an attempt to mislead the public.
Another fiction is the argument that "these folks only take the jobs American workers won't." In the present jobless environment that certainly is no longer true, if in fact it ever was. What the intruders seem to accomplish is to dry up the low-skilled entry-level jobs badly needed by chronically high-unemployment demographics. They are preferentially hired because they incur no benefit costs, being paid "off the books" in cash. Sheriff Joe Arpiao of Maricopa County, Arizona, claims to have caused the deportation of 35,000 illegals. He also claims--I have no way to verify this--that the vacated jobs were quickly filled by American workers.
True immigrants were and are our most valuable resource. They are what made this nation so wonderfully diverse and dynamic. Many European societies have stagnated under ethnic exclusivity. Not so the richly heritaged American social experiment. However, rampant, uncontrolled intrusion of "undocumented workers" (another PC appellation) only serves to create a huge social problem, contaminating this marvelous "melting pot.".
Arizona has the right idea regardless of the politically-motivated hyperbole. Hopefully, their courageous action will spur meaningful border control and enforcement action from Washington.
I'm not holding my breath.