For crying out loud, just read the bill - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

For crying out loud, just read the bill

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Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010 12:30 am

There has been tremendous controversy over the new Arizona immigration law (SB 1070), including protests and national boycotts against Arizona from a number of cities.

Can we all step back, take a deep breath and... for crying out loud, can we just read the bill?

I’m normally not one to call for a resignation based on the brainless remark a politician makes, but the U.S. attorney general should consider resigning. Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened to sue our state over the constitutionality of the new law. He has, in effect, put the legal and political muscle of the White House behind the allegations that SB 1070 leads to racial profiling. He has given legitimacy to their arguments and fueled the rhetorical fire.

Can the U.S. attorney general sue a state? Absolutely, but the problem lies in the fact that Holder hasn’t even read the immigration bill.

Holder was taken to task during a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), who had the audacity to inquire if he even read the new Arizona law. Holder’s answer stunned the committee. “I have not had a chance,” he said.

Fortunately, Holder reassured the committee members by informing them that he would eventually get around to it.

In short, the attorney general has threatened to sue a state over the constitutionality of a law that he has never read. Really? How can an individual wielding that kind of power be that ignorant and still have a job?

What about Los Angeles city council member Janice Hahn, who helped pen the L.A. boycott against Arizona? When asked by On The Record’s Greta Van Susteren if she read the bill, she vagrantly avoided the question.

Also, news reports indicate that Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, our former governor, has only skimmed the bill.

It is propagandist tactics like these that have lead to misconceptions over the bill. As a result of these boycotts, Arizona is expected to lose millions of dollars in revenue and leave thousands more unemployed. All because many who oppose the bill, such as Holder, are making misleading statements about a bill they haven’t read.

Most people I know who oppose the bill, including those from the Hispanic community, have admitted they haven’t read it. Had they read it, they would know that 1070 simply mirrors existing federal law. The bill does not authorize police to racially profile. Law enforcement cannot pull over someone or stop them because they “look” like an illegal immigrant.

The opposition’s argument implies that the majority of police officers are crooked. The position that we should eliminate 1070 because a handful of officers could abuse the law and racially profile is ignorant and irresponsible.

The bottom line concerning the bill is that law enforcement can “only” ask a person where they are from after they have engaged the person in another police matter. If a person can’t show any form of identification, then a police officer can ask for paperwork verifying their immigration status. Most people with common sense understand that this isn’t asking too much from those of us blessed enough to be in this great country, and it surely isn’t racial profiling. So, for crying out loud, can we just read the bill?

Michael Weinstein is cohost of the “The Mike & Winey Show” heard at 7 a.m. Saturdays on KKNT (960 AM) or on the web at www.kknt960.com.

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