Thursday, April 29, 2010

CRASH: Matt Lewis Thinks We're Hypocrites

Matt Lewis (clever young man, I'm sure) says that Arizona Gov. Brewer should have vetoed a bill he does not begin to understand, and says people who support it (like me, with reservations) are hypocrites.
Principled conservatives should be skeptical of Arizona’s recent decision to grant police the power to question illegal aliens (and U.S. citizens) about their immigration status—and to arrest those who cannot show documentation.
Well, principled conservatives who know what they're talking about recognize that the powers Lewis is carping over are not new, novel powers.  Police have had the power, during a valid Terry stop, to ask ALL kinds of questions, and to arrest someone who cannot identify themselves if "probable cause" exists to suspect commission of a crime.

But let's consider that principled conservative stuff. There has always been a tension between good public safety policy and good civil liberties policy.  Most anyone with a brain sees that, and there is certainly valid argument about where precisely on that continuum the ball should be spotted.  But principled conservatives are not anarchists.  They are not people who watch absorb too much of Hollywood's pap, either.  Neither are they people who refuse to read, or people who refuse to suspend the urge to condemn a law that has NOT YET SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY.
Much of the problem stems from the words, “reasonable suspicion,” which appear in the bill. After all, illegals don’t advertise their immigration status publicly, and while the law specifically prohibits the police from solely considering race, one can imagine the Arizona police won’t be pulling aside many Canadians, Brits or Swedes for this sort of interrogation.
Actually, if Arizona was following my advice (and even my clients often don't), EVERYBODY would be asked about their immigration status during any valid stop by a police officer.  That would be entirely neutral.  It would also offer illegal aliens a chance to fess up or lie...another offense.  Additionally, if Shamus O'Flynn is arrested in a bar fight, I'm betting the cops run his immigration status, too.
More likely, the criteria for questioning will include both class and race, meaning that if a Mexican-American lawyer walks down the street in a nice business suit, he’s probably okay, but the law-abiding Mexican-American landscaper may get hassled on a daily basis.
Now, here Matt just gets silly.  Or paranoid.  Or liberal.  Much of the population of Arizona is Hispanic.  Many of the cops on the beat in Arizona are Hispanic.  Arizona is considered to have a model program, in place for years, against racial profiling.  What in the world makes young Matt...think that all of a sudden, small businessmen are going to "get hassled on a daily basis"?  How long do you think that would last before a Federal court intervened, which NOBODY wants?  Or public opinion was soured, which NOBODY wants?
There are many worthwhile steps that must be taken in order to stem illegal immigration, including increasing border security and cutting off the ability of illegals to gain employment once in the United States.
Which is actually what the BULK of this law does, Matt.  MOST of the law, if you read it, involves stuff besides criminalizing illegal alien status.  But you wanted it VETOED?
Supporting tough “law-and-order” immigration laws and individual liberty are not mutually exclusive. What is hypocritical, however, is picking choosing when it’s okay for the government to violate citizens’ individual liberty.
This is simply nuts.  Especially in light of the fact that NOBODY has put this law on the streets yet.  So, whose "individual liberty" has been violated?  And EVERY time we enact a criminal statute, there is the POSSIBILITY that it will be abused.  That is why we have a VERY well-developed due process jurisprudence.  IF...IF...cops abuse their authority, the arrest is invalid, the evidence derived from the contact is tossed, and the citizen...or illegal alien...WALKS.

So, Matt, you need to redirect your "Fight da Man" indignation, and let this law be implemented before you go calling people who support it...with reservations..."hypocrites". 


  1. Let's focus on the AZ law instead of the problem that forced it into being.

    Isn't it amazing how much coverage the protesters have been getting relative to the Tea Parties?

  2. What's also interesting to me is the obsession...that's the only word...that people have on the (small) part of this law that criminalizes illegal aliens.

    The main part of this law is about other things.

    Plus, as you note, a hundred Atzatlan protesters get WAY more coverage than a million loyal Americans.