Arizona Dreaming

Susan Boyle dreamed a dream. Susan Bolton dashed one.

The former Susan, of course, is the Britain’s Got Talent prodigy who stunned the world last year with her songbird sound. The latter is the federal judge who struck down Arizona’s landmark immigration law last week.

What’s a state to do? In the ordinary course of things, the federal government requests help from the states to execute its priorities. Often, these “requests” come as unfunded mandates.

But here’s a case where a state offers assistance on its own accord and the feds refuse the help. My, what odd times we live in.

It gets stranger. Unless Virginia and twenty other states are successful in overturning Obamacare’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance, we will soon be required to show proof of medical coverage but not proof of citizenship!

Something seems backwards. The federal government desires to defend our individual bodies from viral invaders, but it is much less concerned about parasitic invasions to our corporate body.

No one appreciates immigrants more than yours truly. See last week’s column for a case in point. Still, I can see how Arizona’s elected representatives voted to bring some order to the immigration chaos.

Is their law a blunt weapon? Maybe. But they don’t exactly have the resources for a scalpel.

Contrary to Ms. Bolton’s opinion, the law is not onerous. It would be even less so if federal immigration authorities would promulgate an electronic system of identification. Why aren’t fingerprints attached to every Social Security or visa account?

Is there a chance for profiling under the new Arizona law? Of course. Might there be a racist sheriff’s deputy out in the desert who will take advantage of the situation? Sure.

But for the most part, law enforcement professionals are just that: professional. We don’t withhold authority from all because a few might let power go to their heads. Doing so is a recipe for anarchy.

Where to go from here.

First, secure the border. Easier said than done, but still of utmost importance. Border integrity is critical to the constitution of any organization. Texas and California have deployed technology successfully (a reason Arizona is a popular entryway). Arizona’s borders need similar tools.

Second, create or improve a national system of identification. If our best corporations can track hundreds of millions of customers worldwide, then our government should be able to identify 300 million here at home.

Third, expand guest worker channels so that those who merely want to earn a better living and provide a useful service can do so in the light of day.

Lastly, the Obama administration should accept the assistance of state and local authorities in Arizona and elsewhere. If there was ever a time for a team effort, it is now. The solvency of our social safety nets depends on it. Our national security does, too.

It’s time to think practically, not politically, about immigration. Arizona was courageous enough to dream a dream. We shouldn’t dash it.

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