Political Stupidity / Meme Alert – Arizona VS Rhode Island

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In the last week, I have heard all over talk radio that it’s unfair to single out Arizona for wanting to enforce immigration law, when Rhode Island is doing that very thing! Why aren’t people and states and city counsels boycotting them?  Why doesn’t the government sue them???? Over at Volokh, I made this comment:

I haven’t done much research into the ruling, so I won’t comment on it. But here is a question that is nagging at me: Why didn’t Arizona do the exact same thing that RI is doing? It certainly looks like you don’t need a separate state law to achieve the same results, as RI has shown.

Well…  Here is the difference! Arizona, through the passage of its law would force all its officers to become immigration enforcement officers! Rhode Island?

Supporters of Arizona’s new illegal-immigration law have in recent weeks cited Rhode Island as a state where police have been quietly carrying out comparably tough enforcement without a court challenge from the Obama administration.

But in Rhode Island, both sides of the debate agree that the executive order Governor Carcieri issued in 2008 is far less sweeping than the Arizona law, which takes effect this month.

Comparisons of the two approaches are intended to rationalize the law in Arizona, generally more conservative than Rhode Island, by suggesting it’s already more or less in place in a heavily Democratic state, said Steven Brown, a leading critic of the governor’s order and executive director of the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The only reason I can see individuals focusing on Rhode Island is for political purposes and stretching what’s happened here as a way to try and compare a largely Democratic state — a blue state — with a red state, and somehow claim that Rhode Island should be looked at similarly,” Brown said.

The Arizona law also makes it a state crime for immigrants to not carry immigration documents; Rhode Island’s executive order has no such provision.

Arizona’s law generally requires local police officers, while enforcing other laws, to question a person’s immigration status if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally.

Rhode Island’s order directs the State Police to help with immigration enforcement and encourages — but, importantly, does not require — local police to seek a suspect’s immigration status.

The more I’m reading and absorbing about this case, the more I’m siding with the Obama administration on this specific case. Arizona should have followed Rhode Islands lead. This is looking more and more like a political gambit, and the Republicans will ride it all the way to the November elections.

2 Comments to “Political Stupidity / Meme Alert – Arizona VS Rhode Island”

  1. By Muddy, July 29, 2010 @ 1:42 am

    I’m just wondering. Does Arizona’s police still have the descression to inquire of legal citizenship? Also, isn’t it a federal law that if you are here on a visa, green card, etc.. that you must cary your papers with you?

  2. By Jeff Alberts, July 30, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    My understanding is, they always had the option, but the new law was going to require it, that was the main change.

    What I don’t get is, if you get pulled over, you have to show your license and registration, in effect, your “papers”. Do illegals get to apply for and receive a driver’s license?? If so, why??

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