Monday, April 19, 2010

Defenders Of Small Government Seek To Enact Big Government In Arizona

If you haven't heard, Arizona is planning on enacting a strict immigration law that will give police the power to arrest anyone on "reasonable suspicion" until the individual can prove that they are in the country legally. The bill also targets day laborers by making it illegal to seek employment on the streets, and in effect, would make it illegal for those who once hired day laborers to continue to do so. The Arizona legislation would be the first in the nation to criminalize undocumented immigrants. While Republicans seem to have embraced this bill, it is Democrats who have raised concerns about the threat to the rights of Americans.

"I’m concerned about people being deprived of their liberty" said Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

The author of the bill said that the bill is intended to prevent police departments from not enforcing the law and that the bill targets every citizen of Arizona. "You can’t specifically exclude anybody on this bill" stated Sen. Pearce, going on to say that enforcement of the bill will depend on police discretion.

This bill infringes on American's rights. After all, the bill allows for the detention of Americans by police, based solely on offering proof that they are Americans, which sounds like being found guilty of a crime and having to prove your innocence.

I am reminded by a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Like the hasty passage of The Patriot Act, it appears that Republicans have done it again, passing laws on fear that strip Americans of their rights. Why don't we just force Americans to wear little yellow stars on their clothing so we know who is here illegally.

What makes me find this bill even more absurd is that proponents of small government, typically those found at Tea Parties and voting Republican favor this legislation. This legislation seems to increase government intervention, and is an assault against free market principles.

How is it an attack against capitalism?

Apparently companies require the employment of illegal immigrants, are are choosing these migrant workers over Americans because American labor costs too much. By attacking the immigrant work force, conservatives are defending minimum wage protections from the government while simultaneously attacking small businesses that thrive on cheap labor. These conservative law makers are attacking the effect, not the cause, which would be the minimum wage. If eliminated, companies could then hire Americans for the wages they pay their foreign counterparts, eliminating illegal employment and decreasing unemployment, but then what American would be willing to take a pay cut to compete with immigrants?

This bill is based on fear, and is a political ploy. Those who support it will be labeled "tough on crime" while those who don't, "weak." This is probably why it is likely Governor Jan Brewer will sign the bill into law - the republican governor faces challenges this election from conservatives. It is also easier to attack immigrants then to focus on the real issues.

Let it be known that I do not support reduction of the minimum wage at this time because one can plainly see that some businesses currently don't care about the living conditions of their workers. They only care about their bottom line. For critics of the minimum wage, I would like to ask them if they had currently tried to live on the minimum wage.

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