Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arizona: a Shibboleth for the Left (UPDATED)

We owe to Jephthah the useful device of a "shibboleth", which is simply the Hebrew word for "stream", or "flood." The story is told in chapter 12 of the Book of Judges:
12:4 Jephthah assembled all the men of Gilead and they fought with Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because the Ephraimites insulted them, saying, “You Gileadites are refugees in Ephraim, living within Ephraim’s and Manasseh’s territory.” 12:5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River opposite Ephraim. Whenever an Ephraimite fugitive said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 12:6 then they said to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth!’” If he said, “Sibboleth” (and could not pronounce the word correctly), they grabbed him and executed him right there at the fords of the Jordan. On that day forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell dead.
Based on that tale, a "shibboleth" has come to mean any useful device for separating pretenders from the genuine article. For example, one technique I read about was used during World War II to ferret out foreign spies from those who had genuinely grown up in the United States. (Of course, there was no guarantee that the latter group did not have spies among it, as well.) The interviewer simply asked the person to perform a long division problem, and explain each step in English. It turns out that Europeans were taught methods of long division which were markedly different from those taught at that time in American schools. Thus their inability to carry out long division "the American way" was an immediate giveaway.

Today we are seeing Arizona, with its newly passed legislation designed to beef up local law enforcement against illegal immigration, act as a shibboleth to separate the garden-variety leftists from those who actually understand the Constitution and the immigration laws. We see in the former those who simply do not care what the immigration laws say or how they operate; they are to be evaded, that's all. (In much the same way, this blog has catalogued the multitude of occasions on which the Episcoleft has seen fit to ignore what the canons say when following them would present an obstacle to achieving a desired result. It seems that disregard for the law when it is thought to be inconvenient may be a distinguishing trait of the left in general, whether we are talking politics or religion.)

The news has been full of items showing the left's cavalier disregard of what Arizona's law actually says -- one would think they might be embarrassed, but they never are. Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, has been bashing the law and threatening federal oversight of its implementation -- but he admits he has never read the actual text of the law, which is all of sixteen pages long. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles announced boycotts of Arizona -- which are idiotic, considering where a good deal of their electricity comes from. San Diego's school board, Governor Schwarzenegger, and even one of Arizona's own legislators have all jumped on the bandwagon. And last but not least, President Obama could not refrain, at the recent correspondents' dinner, from a lame joke at Arizona's expense -- which promptly backfired against him in a big way, thanks to the Internet savviness of Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer.

Oh, I forgot -- this being such a good shibboleth and all, naturally ECUSA's House of Bishops has weighed in on the subject as well. At least they will not boycott Arizona (the site of their next meeting), however -- they will just do what they do best, and "talk" about it.

One news reporter at MSNBC expressed her amazement upon learning that the law made it a crime to be an illegal immigrant. During her segment, a banner flashed continuously across the screen: "Law makes it a Crime to Be Illegal."

And for Arizona's response to California's treachery, be sure not to miss the picture at this post.

[UPDATE 05/17/2010: This whole topic just gets more and more incredible. You will simply not believe the position of the assistant secretary of State that you can hear about in the video below: has my point about a shibboleth now been proved, without a doubt?]

In the face of all this moonbattery from the left, I thought I would alert readers to some plain old common sense from the actual person who drafted the law, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce:
I am the author of Senate Bill 1070, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Maybe liberals ought to read the Constitution, case law or even just the bill itself before citing incorrect information. Fear-mongering and misinformation are the opponents' only tool against this common sense legislation.

"Illegal" is not a race, it is a crime. SB1070 simply codifies federal law into state law, removes excuses and concerns about states' inherent authority to enforce these laws and removes all illegal "sanctuary" policies.
He goes on to elaborate his point, and to show who the real lawbreakers are:

Arizona did not make illegal, illegal. Illegal was already illegal. It is a crime to enter or remain in the U.S. in violation of federal law. States have had inherent authority to enforce immigration laws and have failed or refused to do so. Sanctuary policies are illegal under federal law (8 USC 1644 & 1373) yet we have them all over the United States.

Paul Kantner of the 1960s rock band Jefferson Airplane once remarked, "San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality." When I first heard that San Francisco was planning to boycott Arizona over the SB1070 legislation that I introduced, this description seemed fitting.

However, when neighboring Oakland's city council voted 7-0 to boycott Arizona last Tuesday, and President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Derrell Steinberg announced a campaign in the legislature to boycott us, it became clear that San Francisco is merely ahead of the California crazy curve.
The law was proposed because the federal government was not doing its job of enforcement, and Arizona's own citizens were paying a heavy price:
Why did I propose SB1070? I saw the enormous fiscal and social costs that illegal immigration was imposing on my state. I saw Americans out of work, hospitals and schools overflowing, and budgets strained. Most disturbingly, I saw my fellow citizens victimized by illegal alien criminals. The murder of Robert Krentz - whose family had been ranching in Arizona since 1907 - by illegal alien drug dealers was the final straw for many Arizonans.

Illegal aliens have murdered dozens of other citizens of our state. Currently, 95 illegal aliens are in Maricopa County jail on murder charges.
Critics of the bill are largely uninformed:
Most of the hysterical critics of the bill do not even know what is in it. All SB1070 does is allow Arizona law enforcement officials to detain illegal aliens under state law. The law does not allow police to stop suspected illegal aliens unless they have already come across them through normal "lawful conduct" such as a traffic stop, and explicitly prohibits racial profiling.

Aside from the unfounded accusation of racial profiling, the chief complaint about the bill is that it infringes on federal jurisdiction by enforcing laws. However, a long legal precedent going back to 1976 allows states to enact legislation to discourage illegal immigration so long as it does not conflict with federal law. We specifically designed SB1070 to mirror federal immigration law to avoid such a conflict.
In the places where the left has succeeded in passing "sanctuary" laws, innocent citizens have again paid the price:

For all their newfound respect for the authority of federal immigration law, the open borders advocates who oppose SB1070 have no problems with "sanctuary cities" such as San Francisco that explicitly obstruct federal immigration authorities to protect illegal aliens. In 2008, San Francisco began a campaign to encourage illegal aliens to take advantage of the city's public services.

Mayor Gavin Newsom stated, "We have worked with the Board of Supervisors, Department of Public Health, labor and immigrant rights groups to create a city government-wide public awareness campaign so that immigrants know the city won't target them for using city services."

The results were tragic. A few months after the campaign, Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien and member of the MS 13 gang, murdered San Francisco resident Tony Bologna and his two sons whom he mistook for rival gang members. Ramos had a lengthy criminal record including a felony assault on a pregnant woman. Police arrested him on gang and weapons charges and promptly released him just three months before the murder. Not once did San Francisco report him to immigration authorities.
Senator Pearce is not afraid of the publicity the law is receiving, because the net effect is positive for Arizona:
Our law is already working. One can just scan the newspapers and see dozens of headlines like "Illegal Immigrants Leaving Arizona Over New Law: Tough, Controversial New Legislation Scares Many in Underground Workforce Out of State,"

In contrast, American citizens are leaving California. For the past four years, more Americans have left the state than have moved in.

All this has not reined in the left. They are more determined to pass an amnesty bill than ever before. For a truly astonishing account (by the major media, no less) of their latest attempt, watch the video at this link (H/T: a regular reader).

One can only wonder why the left is so determined to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, while it sanctions the murder of millions upon millions of the weakest members of our society -- the unborn. Could it be that it would take twenty-one years for a foetus to become a Democratic voter, while illegal immigrants, once given amnesty, could become voters overnight?

If that is what is going on, then I have a modest solution to the abortion problem, which ought to bring it under control in very short order: Congress should pass a law making every unborn foetus a registered voter in the Democratic party, whose mother is delegated to cast its vote -- conditioned, of course, on the new voter's being delivered to term.

What will happen to the country as a result of all the new Democratic voters? Ah, that's a subject for another day.


  1. "Congress should pass a law making every unborn foetus a registered voter in the Democratic party, whose mother is delegated to cast its vote -- conditioned, of course, on the new voter's being delivered to term."

    I have to hope you did not really mean this. The unfairness of this proposal is staggering, and in seeking to solve one problem, you create manifold others. I am a little surprised you would even suggest such foolishness.

  2. Lighten up, Dr. D. No doubt there were those who were "a little surprised" at Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal," as well.

  3. "The law does not allow police to stop suspected illegal aliens unless they have already come across them through normal 'lawful conduct' such as a traffic stop, and explicitly prohibits racial profiling."

    So this "prohibition" stops racial profiling? Was the bill motivated by the intention to detain illegals of any ethnic group? What is the profile of an illegal alien to state law enforcement? Does he look like a Norwegian or a Swede? No, he probably looks like the American-born truck driver of Mexican heritage, who was pulled over, handcuffed and detained until his wife could supply his birth certificate:
    This is but one example of the racial profiling and harassment made inevitable by this bill regardless of its disingenuous "prohibition."

  4. Jeff, you might want to read that story you cited more closely. It was a stop made by the federal customs and immigration officials at the border, before the Arizona law had even taken effect. Any racial profiling involved (which the officials in question denied) was the action not of the Arizona police, but by federal immigration officers stationed at the border.

  5. Alan, the circumstances you cite are true; however, I contend that this bill was designed to enable the Arizona police to impose similar demands on people who look like this driver, i.e., someone of Mexican, not Norwegian descent. As such, it codifies racial profiling and makes it inevitable regardless of any denials or supposed prohibitions.

  6. Regardless of the state you're from, we can show our support by patronizing AZ businesses: Petsmart, PF Chang's, Coldstone Creamery, Best Western and Boycott CA; Farmer's and Mercury Insuranc, Gap/Old Navy, The Cheesecake Factory, Chicken of the Sea, Levi, Dole, Disney & Hyundai (there may be others which I'm not aware of).
    To show AZ our support, e-mail receipts to:

  7. How bad is illegal immigration from Norway and Sweden?

    Hyundai is a Korean company. They do have a manufacturing plant in Alabama, I believe.