Today is the decision day for Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. She has until the end of today to decide how she will move on House Bill 2807. The piece of legislation–which cleared the States Senate by a vote of 20-9 and the House unanimously–is intended to make it easier for federal immigration officials to do their job by requiring State and local law enforcement to participate while making it illegal for local authorities in the state to bar their law enforcement officials from becoming immigration officials.
This kind of legislation is becoming evermore common in the early 21st century U.S. It is fueled by economic frustrations, an inability of government to recognize and build on consensus relating to the issue of immigration, and, yes, some racism.
The larger context framing these actions is just plain ignorance. Most people do not understand the historic or legal foundations of immigration and immigration enforcement. They don’t understand the economics of it, or the politics of it. More tragically, in a society fixated on “debating” the issue within the narrowest parameters, we, as a society, simply do not understand how this issue relates to larger issues of global human rights.
I believe that many legislators do understand some of these facets of the issue. When they support legislation that includes elements which will be struck down by the court system, they are doing more than just hoping. They are deliberately manipulating their constituencies. They are building power based on fear. They are forging consensus based on hate. They are mobilizing divisiveness.
A brief article on the above can be found in this piece from the Arizona Republic.