(via Meghan McCain at DailyBeast)
Although I live in New York City, I still consider Arizona, where I was born and raised, to be my home. So for the past week, when it seems that my entire state came under fire from the national media because of its controversial new immigration law, I’ve found myself very protective of Arizonans, as I try to reconcile not only the politics but the emotions behind that law.
Let me say upfront that I do not support the bill that was signed by Governor Jan Brewer. I believe it gives the state police a license to discriminate, and also, in many ways, violates the civil rights of Arizona residents. Simply put, I think it is a bad law that is missing the bigger picture of what is really going on with illegal immigration. The concept that a law-enforcement official can stop an individual when “reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an alien, who is unlawfully present in the United States” is essentially a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic.
I think unless you are from a border state and have actually seen firsthand the effects illegal immigrants have on your community, you can’t truly appreciate the complexities of the problem and how it should be litigated.
But I also understand why this law came into existence in the first place. Due to the continued failure of the federal government to secure Arizona’s borders, along with the rampant drug smuggling that has gotten increasingly worse over the years, emotions have been running high. However, the issue seemed to hit a fever pitch when a prominent Arizona rancher, Robert Krentz, was shot and killed last month by someone who was believed to be an illegal immigrant. I was in Arizona when Mr. Krentz was killed and it was major news, bringing the issue of drug smuggling and illegal immigration front and center in state politics. The murder eventually led both Gov. Brewer and my father to call for federal officials to send more National Guard troops to the Mexican border.