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Arizona Immigration Argument Leads To National ID

Bloomberg View Memo Pad

Arizona Immigration Argument Leads To National ID


April 26 (Bloomberg) — Can the police stop you and make you show your papers? In Europe, the answer has long been yes.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue — and from what the justices said at oral argument, it seems the U.S. might soon be getting more European. Or at least one step closer to requiring a national ID card.

The Arizona law before the court, S.B. 1070, makes it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant, and for illegal immigrants to seek work. It empowers the police to arrest anyone suspected of committing a crime that would merit deportation, even if the crime occurred in a different state.

But the law’s most controversial and important provision, section 2(B), requires law enforcement to determine immigration status whenever officers have a “reasonable suspicion” that any person with whom they have lawful contact is in the country illegally.

After Arizona passed the law, the Barack Obama administration challenged all these provisions before the federal courts. Civil rights activists believe, reasonably, that the law could be used to discriminate against Latinos, who are more likely to look suspiciously like illegal immigrants in the eyes of the Arizona police.

Yet the Justice Department decided to sidestep that racial issue. Instead, it asserted the inherent federal power to set law and policy on immigration. It claimed that Arizona was trying to set up its own policy of “attrition by enforcement” — scaring illegal immigrants back across the border to Mexico, or at least to surrounding states. A lower federal court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, blocking Arizona from enforcing the law without waiting to see how it would be applied in practice.


  1. EAT THE RICH April 26, 2012

    the brand new and improved NAZI party? todays gop. instead of hitler we have the bushitters.

  2. World Citizen April 27, 2012

    I don’t see what the problem ever was with this. They can ask for my ID if I am walking down the street. Why not incorporate it in the drivers license or other formal ID. We need to stop pandering to all the people that want to keep illegals in this country to use as cheap slave labor.

    1. SaneJane April 27, 2012

      You might recall that old description we once had for our country, “the land of the free”. I have no problem with ID, everyone should have it in case they get hit by a bus but the thought of being stopped on the street and commanded to produce acceptable papers just chills my soul. I can’t understand someone who is willing to forfeit their own freedoms in order to punish someone else by taking theirs away.

      1. oldtack April 27, 2012

        This forum contains some of the most paranoid anal- retentive dialoge I ever read.
        Have any of you spent extended time in a Foreign Country. I don’t mean your pricy guided tour vacations or Military Service. Have any of you lived in a Foreign Country for an extended time? If you haven’t then let me inform you – You had better have “your ducks in a row” and and all of you papers in order. And the Local law enforcement can request those papers anytime. If you think they can’t then try refusing and then see what the inside of the local jail looks like. I think we need a National ID. Only those without proper papers authorizing thme to be in the USA have to worry. We have too many illegal people here from all parts of the world. Many of these play holy hell with local economies. There are things to be paranoid about but this isn’t one.

        1. SaneJane April 28, 2012

          Your description of how this is handled in other countries does nothing to calm my fears. Do you think this is the way it should be here? Isn’t it stressful to “have your ducks in a row” at all times? I don’t think immigrants are playing hell with local economies and in some places it is quite the opposite. I don’t think you understand the situation nor do you grasp my point. What is the goal of the restrictive and oppressive anti-immigration laws like we have here in Alabama? Could it be similar to Jim Crow laws of the past?

          1. oldtack April 28, 2012

            No – you miss the point. We have Immigration laws in this country. Our doors are open to all who apply and meet the criteria. I have nothing personal against those who are here illegally except for the fact that they violated our Immigration laws the same as if they violated my space and came into my house uninvited. They are here but in order to stay here illegally they have to work at something to survive and it is people like you that are guilty of aiding and abeting -because of greed. Your big Farmers in Alabama are just like our meat packers and poultry and hog operations here. Laws are in place to screen people before hiring but they disregard the rules. Why? Because those here illegally are a captive audience they wont complain and they will work for lower wages out of necessity. Check and see what your farm workers are making in Alabama. One packing plant North of here was “raided” by agents and there were in excess of 350 workers that were here illegally. The workers were deported and the Owners lamented but all they received for breaking the law was a slap on the wrist. These illegals were quickly replaced by legal citizens but the owners had to pay these people the same wage as others. So – it wasn’t labor shortage – it was greed. I think the anyone caught utilizing the service of an illegal should be heavily fined. I don’t know your mixture of Illegals but ours are primarily Latinos. which is why everyone in the South and Southwest should be conversant in Spanish because the big majority of illegal Latinos speak a derivitive of this language. All one has to do is initiate a conversation in Spanish and it becomes readily apparent because their accent and usaged is different than “locals”.
            What about the man that mows your lawn? The person that is your maid? The person on the street corner that you hire at a cheap wage for day labor? If you use them and don’t check their “papers” then you need to be heavily fined. If you think these people don’t have an impact on local economies then I suggest you talk to law enforcement, the local health organizations and hospitals and also talk to your local School Board. I think you would be surprised. I love legal immigrants . We work with them on speech and language and aid them in any way possible. In most cases these people become productive citizen and contribute greatly to the Nation. But – I have zero empathy for anyone that disregards our Immigratin laws and enter my country illegally. If we greedy Americans cease aiding and abeting them then they have no recourse but to return to their place of origin. Americans keep them here because of greed – not because we love them. Quit being greedy.

          2. SaneJane April 29, 2012

            I mow my own lawn, have never had a maid nor have I ever hired anyone at a cheap wage for day labor. Perhaps my views are influenced by being a lifelong resident of Alabama were there is a very long ugly history of lawful mistreatment of people because of their skin color. The total number of illegal immigrants in this state probably totaled only about 130,000 and many of those have been here for 20 years or more. The law passed here is based on political motives and it is no secret that the co-author and sponsor of the bill was trying to discourage Hispanic voters. During a recent court case he was heard plotting to prevent black voters from going to the polls. My objection to these laws and other efforts to promote dehumanization of immigrants is that this is a long-term tactic of the Republican Party to limit non-white votes. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the Southern Strategy but I feel this is the basis of these laws. If a national law was enacted tomorrow making all immigrants legal would you then automatically love them all? You can’t love mankind and hate man.

          3. oldtack April 29, 2012

            Yes – if all the illegals that are here were given amnesty and received Citizenship I, although I disagreed with the amnesty, welcome them as new citizens. I still think we should have secure borders and stiff penalties for those that knowingly use Illegal labor. But – I do think what is going on in your State and much of the South is a thinly disguised re-enactment of Jim Crow law.
            My Mother was born in Piedmont, Alabama ans except for those that migrated west they all still reside in Calhoun or Cherokee County. I have never been to Alabama but I have corresponded with some there on genealogy. Some are fine people then sadly to say – there are some that still live in the Antebellum South and faithfully observe Jim Crow laws in regard to anyone not pure WASP.

  3. SaneJane April 27, 2012

    What is truly interesting here is that the party for individual freedom is the party pushing to limit our freedom. Can Republicans not see the contradiction and hypocrisy?

    1. Ralph Lackey April 27, 2012

      They well see but do not care.

    2. ralphkr April 27, 2012

      Ah, but SaneJane, you are completely missing the fact that the Republicans are Caucasians so the police won’t stop them and shall only stop the Hispanic gardeners and busboys.

      1. SaneJane April 28, 2012

        I am not missing this fact at all. I live in Alabama and we have the same Republican craziness here. This is a new version of Jim Crow laws.

  4. viewfromtheleftcoast April 27, 2012

    Supreme Court!!!! European? Lets see, that would be made up of “countries”, many.

    The U.S. of America is one country. We do have to show our cute little passport card things, “I.D.’s”, to go into Mexico and Canada. (other countries) (term Pan American similar to European)

    An I.D. is not needed if we go from state to state, or county to county, or city to city, unless you are driving vehicle……. and should continue to be that way.

    If the Supreme Court allows any person with law enforcement authority to demand that you show an I.D. when you have not broken any laws or violated any statutes, then we may as well give up ALL our rights, and throw out the Constitution.

  5. 1AmericanHoney27 April 27, 2012

    World Citizen you must have eavesdropping in our home last nite… We discussed this very subject & agree with you 1000000%. Is it fair for these people regardless of race, creed, or color to sponge off our country… It is true it doesn’t fly in other countries so why do we continue to turn the other cheek. Can’t speak for the rest of the country but here (around Houston Texas) most killings are committed by illegal that citizens… Several of our law enforcement have been gun down which involved illegal whom then fled back to their perspective countries… They work extremely cheap only to send their $$$$ back home & work under the table so no taxes are paid on their income. They get benefits quicker than citizens can . I’ve been with the Texas school systems for several years & find it ironic we have classes known as ” English Second Language” where these children are taught in 98% foreign languages teaching very very very little English not to mention these children are also on the free lunch program… Thanks for your opinion as I hope you & others will enjoy & agree with mine.

  6. sarahg April 27, 2012

    I frankly think America is becoming a place where freedom of the individual and the American way of life is being devastated by tons and tons of new laws and the legal fanatics and extremists who are pushing them. I do not see this as a republican or democrat issue. This is a reflection of the cultural of the extremist baby boomer generation. This country is no longer a free place and is becoming a scary place with each and every single action of these new legal fanatics running our country. Anyone who thinks this is specific to any one of the two parties is just blinded. We are all losing the fight for freedom in America. This country will be government run by the end of the decade It’s no wonder that for the first time ever that Mexicans are turning around and chucking the idea of coming here. That is a sure sign that things are very bad here. Wake up, America.

  7. james April 27, 2012

    Does anyone here remember the cold war? One of the things we rallied around as a country was the freedom to move about without police stopping you to look at your papers.

  8. PamelaT April 27, 2012

    Pretty soon we will have 666 on our foreheads.

  9. Doris Wolf-Woods April 27, 2012

    It seems that gop says it wants “small government” while sticking the nose of govenment into our cars, computers, telephones, bedrooms. doctor offices, and food choices. When are the people who really believe in personal freedom going to stand up?

  10. howa4x April 27, 2012

    I really don’t see this as an infringment of rights. It will actually help in poor neighborhoods where republicans are trying to suppress the vote by makeing people show an ID card

  11. Charlie Watkins April 28, 2012

    I think this National ID idea is worth looking into. Once implemented we will be able to see where these illegal aliens are coming from and where they’re going. We will be able to find out once and for all WHY they are coming. It has long been my contention that these people are being “lured” here by American citizens for cheap labor and to avoid legal State and Federal obligations. It has long been illegal to hire such people for work in this country, yet in certain places this is done with impunity by Americans with absolutely no fear of prosecution. I think THEY are the true cause of our illegal alien problem.

  12. Baron Cormac April 28, 2012

    “Identity paperz, pliz!” “I haf zese letters of transit signed by Charled deGaulle.” “Sehr gut. Next, pliz!”
    Sound farfetched? Maricopa County sheriffs are already practicing something like this.

  13. tr7fan April 29, 2012

    this has been the law for aliens since the 1940s its a federal law

  14. tr7fan April 29, 2012

    theres nothing in the constitution or bill of rights that says the federal government is the only one that can enforce immigration law

  15. Gary Godfrey April 30, 2012

    Wake up folks! We already have a national ID card, we call it our Social Security number. We use it for ID everywhere we go, and for everything we do. The problem is that it is not secure and its widespread use leads to identity theft. It says right on the card that it is not for identification. A real national ID card would give us a way to identify ourselves that would not be linked to our financial accounts and that would be universally acceptable by businesses and government alike. Why keep using a number that is at the base of so many problems in society. Present-day computers could easily assign everyone a new SS number, and then we could establish a secure ID number and card with a photo and biometric element as part of the design. We already have to show proof of dentification for everything from a simple credit-card pruchase to taking a flight to anywhere. Why not develop a valid form of identification. The objection that we could too easily be tracked is silly because that is done now. Advertizers, schools, government agencies and almost all businesses have access to our tastes, purchasing pattens, books we buy and movies we see. To stop people from gathering information on us would require us to return to the days before electronic transactions — yeah, like that is going to happen.

  16. Wade Stanley April 30, 2012

    I see nothing wrong with a nation ID card with picture. This would solve the voter ID card problem. Everyone would have one just like a SS number.

  17. blyvl May 1, 2012

    As a Border Patrol agent (retired), I enforced federal laws similar to the one in Arizona. It seems that many people are more interested in promoting hysteria about the law and not interesting in finding out the facts. I’m not a law professor, as Mr. Feldman claims to be, but I feel pretty confident in saying that a number of his assertions aren’t accurate.

    I can tell you that any LEO’s (law enforcement officers), including federal immigration officers, who simply stop people for no reason (“reasonable suspicion”) will soon find him/herself in trouble. There are any number of court decisions which describe what a LEO can or can’t do when it comes to stopping people and asking for identification. And, yes, appearance and inability to speak English are indicators (“articulable facts”), along with a variety of other indicators which might lead a LEO to develop a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is illegally in the U.S. The burden is on the LEO to be able to articulate why he/she stopped the individual and asked for identification. There were many times when I let people “go up the road” when I was fairly certain that they were illegal aliens. (For instance, they claimed to be “U.S. citees” and I couldn’t prove otherwise.) This is a very complicated area of the law, and it can’t be understood by reading a few newspaper articles or “op eds”, which are often biased one way or the other.

    Personally, I believe that if we could secure our borders, could pass mandatory national E-Verfiy legislation and had a national ID, most of our immigration problems would go away in a few years. We could then decide how many aliens we want to admit to the U.S. and we could decide what to do with the aliens already illegally in the U.S. Do I think it’ll happen anytime soon? No.

  18. John Davis May 1, 2012

    It seems that the Supreme Court is going to sell out the country to illegal immigtration,which must
    mean the 911 detainees in Cuba are going to be moved onto U.S.soil and be sworn in as citizens. At
    this point,laws should be passed,that if someone is elected into public office and does something these week leaders do,you should be able to publicly walk into there office without secret service stoppping you so you express your feeling of how these appointed spineless officials are just giving the country away. Laws,either State or Federal should be enforced. I would like to remind people,when you break a law in a foreign country,even if its small violation,you could end up in a foreign jail for years,but anyone that enters this U.S. illegally, it seems the Welcome Mat gets rolled out.

  19. Rodney August 20, 2012

    The U.S. has immigration laws to enforce whether on the state level or federal level. Enforce immigration law not enforce sympathy. If you do you not like the law here in America then go back to Mexico, then you can do whatever you want there. Uneducated Mexicans. Super “idiot”.
    John: Are you mexican?
    Pedro: No English.
    John: Damn mexican, go back to mexico. America “English”
    Pedro: C.


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