Arizona – A Tragedy, A Political Football & Political Barometer

Arizona is already feeling the impact of its new law making it a misdemeanor to not provide proof of  U.S. residence when asked — although to hear many critics the law is all about ‘proof of citizenship‘.

As someone that routinely travels the world I know that my presence is tracked in other countries. When entering a country it is often common protocol to declare a street address or hotel where I will be staying.

But this is the U.S.A. where many argue that we should fight any attempt to have a basic national ID card. On the face of it, this law contradicts what most Americans consider to be the norm: you only ask for identification when a law is broken, or suspicion exists.

Surely native born Americans do not walk around with their birth certificates. And we reject any attempt to issue any formal identification card … there are even those that think that America is a great land just because we can almost just disappear if we wish — although that is wishful thinking of a time long past.


Yet, Arizona has real challenges. People are dying and being kidnapped and murdered in the desert, and in the towns and even in Arizona’s major cities.

Drug and contraband smugglers are running rampant and illegal immigrants are being abandoned once they cross the U.S. border into Arizona.

If the U.S. federal government fails to live up to its constitutional authority to protect our borders and to protect our citizens then Arizona is well within its rights to take action within its own borders.

Many Americans forget that we have ‘states‘ not ‘provinces‘. The difference between the two are not just semantics. We are a nation of states, each with constitutionally protected powers. The people of Arizona have a right and the authority to take action in their own defense.

There are those that want to make Arizona’s situation about being a roundup or harassment of illegal immigrants — I don’t think so. Illegal immigrants live among us because our society needs them. Yes, I believe that. Our economy strongly needs these undocumented guest workers. Although it would be nice if we could find a way to make guest workers and their families legal — although we tried that and it was Arizona’s senior senator who took enormous amounts of flaming arrows for trying to find a solution: John McCain.

Reality however is that Arizona has real issues on its border with Mexico, and its proximity to major border crossing areas in California and New Mexico.

Here is a short list of the violence and crime on its borders and that is spilling across its borders – you can find an amazingly long list of border violence incidents since the mid-2000s by googling: Arizona Border Violence:

  • Mexican criminals routinely cross the border and commit burglaries, kidnappings, assaults and home invasions. (1)
  • There were 366 kidnappings just in the Phoenix, Arizona area during 2009. (3)
  • Armed gunmen attacked the U.S. Nogales City police department (Nov 14, 2008).
  • Bajadores smugglers attack each other with semiautomatic assault rifles to steal the other’s human cargo for its value; current Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano (D), and former Arizona governor, actually declared a state of emergency in 2005 when things got out of control in the same area.
  • Federal agents discover 65 stash houses just in the Phoenix, Arizona area (2005-2006). (2)

And did I mention that U.S. federal authorities estimate that the death toll just over Arizona’s border has  reached almost 10,000 killed in cartel violence just since 2006? (4)

My prayers and well wishes are with Arizonans AND with those immigrants that have chosen to come to the land of opportunity and to start a new life — legally or illegally.

I don’t believe that the new Arizona law is aimed at immigrants in general. The border is a mess and the federal government under both Presidents Bush and Obama have utterly failed to carry out their oath of office to protect Americans against all enemies, both foreign and domestic — at least when it comes to the Arizonan-Mexican border.

(1) AZ Officials Tell Senators Border Violence Is Getting Worse

(2) Border Crackdown Spawns Violence, More Deaths Occurring as Smugglers Fight Over Valuable Human Cargo

(3) Law officials testify on border violence

(4) Arizona hosts border-violence talk, Officials seek federal support on issue

This blog item by Bill Golden, aka — an independent observer of economics, politics and American life. For what it is worth as regards this story: Bill is married to an wonderful immigrant wife and has two children born overseas with dual citizenship. He coaches a soccer team made up just of Latino players that he has adopted from throughout his neighborhood over the last 10 years.



Filed under International

6 responses to “Arizona – A Tragedy, A Political Football & Political Barometer

  1. Joan LaRose

    I live in AZ and agree the porous border and illegal immigration is a huge problem. However, being the parent of a 16 year old son who is frequently mistaken for Hispanic, I am concerned about this law. I do believe that profiling based on “looks” will happen and don’t want my son to have to fear being unnecessarily questioned or detained.

    Those who feel that this won’t happen only need to read the paper articles about the instances that have already occured prior to this law being enacted. Two cases that come to mind involve a Hispanic aide to Phoenix’s mayor and a Native American Indian. She was in a car with two other city employees. They were stopped for a traffic violation and while she was held for a few hours, they others were released. Also, she was NOT the driver. The Native American Indian was stopped walking down the street in Guadlupe and because she could not prove citizenship on the spot she was detained for a few hours.

    I only hope that the resulting uproar from this misguided law causes the federal government to address immigration. However, I fear that emotions will take the place of discussion and things will not improve soon.

    • Joan, first I acknowledge that this law taken at face value would be just absolutely wrong in any normally functioning area or state.

      The new Arizona law to provide proof-of-residence will have its overzealous supporters, some just paranoid and some racist.

      I wrote my piece because we do need a discussion. My home is in Prince William County, Virginia where our own local government passed essentially the same law just several years back. There is no doubt that the law was passed to harass. The law was wrong and a lot of emotions were touched that still have not settled down even 2-3 years later.

      When the federal government takes its responsibility to secure the borders seriously then we can get back to the Arizona that is laid back and a fun place to be.

      My own history with Arizona is as a soldier at Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona from 1975 onward, and I still travel Arizona roads often while on business.

      God bless you and all.

  2. I see our views on the subject are almost identical.

    Although I use a “g” when I spell tragedy. 😉

    • Yes, tra’j’edy is spelled tra’g’edy. Have corrected.

      I know what it is like to live in a multicultural world — my spelling occasionally is challenged. Since spellcheck did not flag it as misspelled well … my excuse is … just an excuse.

      Spellcheck or spell check? My German side creates compound words almost automatically. My spellchecker however says that it is ‘spell check’.

  3. Firefox provides auto-spellcheck (and it marks “spellcheck” as an incorrectly spelled word).

    Now on to the post…

    I, too, am a Prince William County resident where the negative ramifications of the same policy AZ has adopted still linger in the form of hatred against Hispanics and anyone who wants to work on practical, fair solutions for illegal immigration. We have been threatened, intimidated and harassed. There is no doubt in my mind this policy will illicit the same kinds of behaviors in AZ–except it will be exacerbated because of AZ’s proximity to the border and the legacy of Sheriff Joe. This law is/will be backed by documented hate groups.

    Bill, I strongly disagree that we need illegal workers in this country. These folks have no legal protection and live in the shadows. Because of their status (or lack thereof), they are reticent to take English classes or interact with communities outside their own. In the end, the poor way we treat these folks mars our country morally and economically. We all suffer when we have abused workers taken advantage of by unethical employers.

    We have an obligation to the otherwise law abiding, hard working people whom we ALLOWED in our country. Yes, there should be fees similar to back-taxes levied because there ought to be some consequences for coming here illegally. But the outright persecution we are seeing is unacceptable.

    Now as to criminals–get rid of them. We don’t want them, and neither do the immigrants who came here to escape such conditions.

    Neighborhood problems such as overcrowding and inappropriate behaviors–address these locally and as individually as possible. If there are rules broken, there should be reasonable consequences such as would be levied against any other resident. But that has not happened. We see immigrants being treated differently and more harshly because they are assumed illegal or because they are Hispanic or because they look/speak differently.

    We MUST work with Mexico to improve this situation whether we believe they will be receptive or not. We must show a good faith effort to remedy this problem which really is tearing our country apart and bringing out the worst in us all.

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