Earlier we wrote about the immigration bill making its way through the Arizona legislature, which would make it a crime for legal immigrants to leave home without their documents, effectively encouraging police officers to conduct “random” paper checks of suspicious-seeming brown people.
As the bill now proceeds to the desk of Republican governor Jan Brewer, the Times profiles the proudly racist (email forwarding, supremacist-associating) state senator, who hails from a suburb of Phoenix, the worst place in America.
The state legislature passed the bill on an almost entirely party-line vote, the Times recalls, because “everybody was afraid to vote no on immigration,” says one worried Republican (“We are going to look like Alabama in the 60s”) who, facing reelection, was afraid to vote no on immigration. (Or, rather, on the immigration bill. But anyway.)
Anti-immigrant fervor is at a peak in Arizona, the Paper of Record continues, largely because of concern over Mexico’s ongoing drug wars:
“The nightly news here is filled with stories of… drug-related shootouts and home invasions. Mexico’s drug violence has bloodied Nogales, Sonora, across the border from Nogales, Ariz.”
Meanwhile, the national papers here are filled with stories of Mexicans fleeing their own country to escape the horrific violence fueled by cartel wars in the border cities. (“A 23-year-old woman with five children, who asked to be identified only as Noemi because she feared reprisals, was one of the people who crossed the two-lane bridge over the Rio Grande the Thursday before Easter. The night before, drug cartel thugs had set fire to four houses, and she and her husband were afraid there would a blood bath that weekend…”) They are, in many cases, willingly detained while awaiting the judgment of an asylum system that’s been notably slow to hear petitions, and notably parsimonious in granting asylum; and, if all goes well, to begin living in a hostile police state.
If Arizona is worried about the impact of Mexican drug violence on its own welfare, the logical solution is actually the compassionate one: aid the Mexican government and economy in its attempts to restore order and safety. But that would seem suspiciously like caring about the welfare of one’s neighbor, which has never been high on the priority list of I-got-mine white libertarian retirees.