What liberals are saying about the Arizona law; and what this indicates about their real beliefs

Providing an overview of the Noah’s Flood of insane anti-Arizona articles that have come out in the last week seems impossible, but Byron York at the Washington Examiner has lessened the burden by compiling the Top 10 dumbest things said about the Arizona immigration law.

York writes:

The last few days have seen an extraordinary outburst of criticism of Arizona’s new immigration law. In the nation’s elite media outlets, its most respected commentators are portraying the law as an act of police-state repression. Many, if not all, of the specific criticisms can be refuted simply by reading the law itself, but others are more generalized criticisms of immigration enforcement. In any event, it’s hard to choose the most over-the-top and wrongheaded commentary on the law, but here are ten choices, in no particular order. (If you don’t know why a particular statement is wrong, you can check here, and here, and here, and here.)

1. “The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant.”

—New York Times editorial

2. “As the Arizona abomination makes clear, there is a desperate need for federal immigration action to stop the country from turning into a nation of vigilantes suspicious of anybody with dark skin.”

—Dana Milbank, Washington Post

3. “I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”

—Cardinal Roger Mahony

4. “This law creates a suspect class, based in part on ethnicity, considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent. It makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live without scrutiny—but it also makes it harder for some American citizens to live without suspicion and humiliation. Americans are not accustomed to the command ‘Your papers, please,’ however politely delivered. The distinctly American response to such a request would be ‘Go to hell,’ and then ‘See you in court.’”

—Michael Gerson, Washington Post

5. “In case the phrase ‘lawful contact’ makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. ‘A person is guilty of trespassing,’ the law provides, by being ‘present on any public or private land in this state’ while lacking authorization to be in the United States—a new crime of breathing while undocumented.”

—Linda Greenhouse, New York Times

(Greenhouse’s “trespassing” allegation was based on an early version of the Arizona bill that was not the bill that became law. Her mistake was later removed from the Times site, but you can see original version here.)

6. “Federal law treats illegal immigration as a civil violation; Arizona law criminalizes it by using the legally dubious mechanism of equating the mere presence of undocumented immigrants with trespassing.”

—Washington Post editorial

(This editorial makes the same mistake as Linda Greenhouse’s “trespassing” column above.)

7. “I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in … An immigrant who is charged with the crime of trespassing for simply being in a community without his papers on him is being told he is committing a crime by simply being.”

—Bishop Desmond Tutu, Huffington Post

(Tutu is perhaps relying on the erroneous information in the New York Times and Washington Post above.)

8. “It harkens back to apartheid where all black people in South Africa were required to carry documents in order to move from one part of town to another.”

—Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on ABC’s “This Week”

9. “You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona … suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.”

—President Barack Obama

10. “This week, Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country which will allow police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there’s some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but could we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying ‘Show me your papers?’ There’s never been a World War II movie that didn’t include the line ‘show me your papers.’ It’s their catchphrase. Every time someone says ‘show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up, Arizona; that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.”

—Seth Myers, “Saturday Night Live”

[end of York article]

What is the common element we see among these ten commentaries that York has helpfully collected? It is the unstated premise that it is morally wicked to remove illegal aliens from the United States.

Thus what Heather MacDonald said on the O’Reilly program the other night was the truth. The Democrats and the open borders “conservatives” (e.g. Karl Rove and Michael Gerson) are simply unwilling to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. They are simply unwilling to have illegal aliens deported. Therefore every time they tell us that “comprehensive immigration reform” (e.g., amnesty for illegals plus effective law enforcement from this point forward) is the “true” solution to the problem for which the Arizona law is the “false” solution, THEY ARE LYING.


The truth is that these people will NEVER support effective protection of the borders, and they will NEVER back the deportation of illegal aliens who have managed to get past the border and enter the United States. Their true, though unstated, principle is the principle made explicit by the Wall Street Journal’s infamous editorials in the 1980s calling for a Constitutional amendment that would declare: “There shall be open borders.”

Finally, their refusal to support the securing of the nation’s borders is the less aggressive half of their position. The other half of their position, as they’ve amply demonstrated over the last week, is the belief that the people who do seek to secure the nation’s borders and protect its sovereignty and laws are wicked racists who are unfit for human society.

—end of initial entry—

LA writes:

Also note, as I said in a 2005 response to John Fund, that “open borders” does not necessarily mean only literal, absolute open borders such as the Journal advocated. It means a range of positions which, while involving some token immigration laws, are nevertheless tantamount to open borders.

Kathlene M. writes:

You very astutely wrote, “It is the unstated premise that it is morally wicked to remove illegal aliens from the United States.”

I saw this position stated on an evening Fox show last week by one of the talking-head liberals. The liberal objection against the Arizona law ultimately had to do with “morals” and if we were a “moral” nation. This struck me instantly because this same position was used to justify the Health Care bill.

A month earlier, a female liberal talking head had been on a show, arguing with the host that the Healthcare debate was about “morals.” And going back further to the Prop 8 debate in California, liberals equated the support for gay marriage rights as a moral issue. Anyone against gay marriage was inherently evil and bigoted.

So we can see where this struggle is headed and why it seems that the country may very well split. Liberals see themselves as on the side of good and morality, while liberals view conservatives (who happen to be mostly white) as being on the side of evil and immorality which means something worse:

If conservatives are being called evil, it follows that we cannot be tolerated or listened to, and ultimately we must be “eliminated” somehow. When liberals set up the argument as Good v. Evil, it seems that our differences cannot be settled peacefully the more every ongoing debate is set up in this manner.

I also wonder, from where do liberals’ morals originate? Who sets their higher moral authority that supersedes all moral authorities? And if most liberals scoff at a Christian God, why would they believe in any morals? From my discussions with liberals, they seem have a community-based standard of morals which fluctuates according to the fads of the times. This would be the “living” constitution that adapts to changing times (a.k.a. “progress.”) Thus if today the community decides that child-marriage is acceptable, then that is the new morality.

LA replies:

You have spelled out the last part of my argument which I didn’t spell out. If, as I wrote, the liberals believe that people who “seek to secure the nation’s borders and protect its sovereignty and laws are wicked racists who are unfit for human society,” what must be done with such unfit, racist types? Obviously they are not to be treated as legitimate members of the community. They are to be suppressed and ostracized. They are to be excluded from participation in politics. Which is exactly what the liberals are up to when they demonize the Arizona law and talk about boycotting Arizona, and also when they call the Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin supporters racists, even though they don’t come right out and say, “Those people don’t belong in our society, their views should be suppressed.”

I think that conservatives need to call liberals out on their unstated agenda vis a vis conservatives. They should say to liberals in debate: “When you keep calling conservatives racists just for being conservatives, when you keep equating people with Nazis simply for wanting to enforce our immigration laws, what you really trying to do is delegitimize conservatives and remove them from politics. What you want is a liberal tyranny.” No mainstream conservatives ever points this out, because it would break down the assumption of a basic comity on which politics and debate are founded. But the only way to stop what the liberals are really up to, is to identify and confront it.

Mick writes:

Number 10 is a satire, SNL’s Seth Myers makes fun of idiots like NYT Rich and company.

How else one can interpret, “Could we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying ‘Show me your papers?’”?

And if it still not clear, how about, “Every time someone says ‘show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check.”

It is a joke and one at the expense of over-the-top Open Borderistas. Even airheads at SNL know that ‘Show me your papers’ is kind of less Nazi than, say, gassing people. Infinitely less.

I like Byron York, he is an excellent reporter. I just wish that he would acquire a little sense of humor.

LA replies:

I agree with you that it was meant satirically. But when you suggest that the liberals all understand that “Show me your papers” is not really Nazi-like, that contradicts their own repeated statements that it is Nazi-like.

Kathlene replies to LA:

Thank you for this.

Point 10 of York’s article may be satire, but I’ve seen many liberals argue this point in complete seriousness. And I wouldn’t doubt that there are liberals who seriously would like to eliminate conservatives in order for their utopia to be realized.

Yesterday I spotted a van with a bumper sticker that said “Pray for Our Country.” That sums up my attitude these days.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 02, 2010 05:25 AM | Send

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