Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I support the Arizona Immigration law

Essential disclaimers before I start. I have not suddenly veered to the dark side. I still do not watch faux news. I voted for Obama, and will do it again. And I am a brown skinned male, very much look and smell like an illegal immigrant.

But I support this law. Or better, I do not oppose it.

It is not a perfect world. This law is not a perfect solution to immigration issue. Or any issue for that matter. And let us face it, this is more of a deterrent to scare potential illegal immigrants away, rather than pack and ship them across the border. I wish that was the case. but we have to many watchdogs worried about human rights violation, effectively negating the possibility. And then also, we have no idea it would work.

Still I think it is a step in the right direction.

Illegal is illegal. They should not have the rights and privileges legal residents enjoy. Now the definition and moral interpretation of the term may vary, but I'll stick by the current laws here. And whether one likes it or not, most of them are brown skinned, accented English speaking folks. Profiling may be morally reprehensible, but show me a better solution, please?

Most of the dissenting voices are worried about that. And the requirement of carrying an ID. Here is Germany, we are supposed to carry our passport all the time with me, whenever I step out. I have been asked to show my ID, politely but firmly many times in train stations, in trains, at the airport, when Germans walked by peacefully. Do I feel violated or discriminated? Hell I do. But then again, its their country. Its their law. I am free to leave if I dont like it. I am told this is the case in most of the Europe. Carrying your ID is not that big a deal, specially if you have one.

Once in Munich train station, I was asked for my passport. I was attending a conference, and did not have my passport with me. I explained this to the guy, he listened to my explanation patiently, looked at my conference badge and the ATM card I had with me, and allowed me to go, with a reminder that I should be carrying my passport. These guys have a decent feeling who is an illegal and who is not. They are not going to arrest every Id-less Indian/foreign grad student in Arizona, contrary to the fear mongering propagated by certain people. They have better things to do.

Protesting for the sake of protesting is not a justification to oppose this.

6 comments:

silcador said...

While I do agree with most of your reasoning, one of the biggest problem with racial profiling is that it affects citizens too (and not only immigrants). Like you said, Germany is not your country, and you can leave if you don't like it. But what if USA is your country of citizenship, and there is no where else to go? Requiring every citizen to carry an ID at all times brings Orwellian images to my mind! YMMV.

tuktuki said...

Yes, 'illegal is illegal'...but they should have been truly strict, though we know that they have better things to do ...like sipping coke, chewing gum :)

dipthought said...

@S: I disagree. Most of us carry our ID (driver's license, state id) most of the times anyway. Many countries also require that, as I mentioned. What is so bad about it? Its more of a mental block, than anything else.

@D: Its logistically impossible to monitor thousands of miles of border, often passing through deserts and deserted landscape.

Sujata said...

I totally agree with Deepak. Every country has to keep a record of its resources; it will not want illegal immigrants eating away its resources. And when we do not really belong to that country, I don't see any harm or shame in showing our IDs whenever they need. If we face such a problem in our country, wouldn't we like to know the indentity of the people entering and living in our country?

silcador said...

Okay, maybe we can agree to disagree about the ID carrying thing.. I would personally be very sad if things come to such a pass that ID is a necessary requirement to step out of your home.

However about the new Arizona law, AFAIK driver's license might not be enough. You have to show something like passport to verify your immigration status. Now asking us to carry our single most important piece of documentation (I'm sure you have an idea of the hassles one has to go through if you lose your passport/visa - more so under such a law..) at all times is plain ridiculous.

Yes you can give an argument that the police will not ask your for ID if you don't look suspicious, or that they may be satisfied with license, however are you willing to take that risk? I know I am not.

example reference: http://www.consumertraveler.com/columns/what-does-arizonas-new-immigration-law-mean-to-travelers-in-arizona/

dipthought said...

Well, I take that risk everyday here in Germany.