5.02.2010

rich: it's not just arizona, it's the state of the u.s.a.

Frank Rich puts the racist Arizona law into perspective.
Don't blame it all on Arizona. The Grand Canyon State simply happened to be in the right place at the right time to tilt over to the dark side. Its hysteria is but another symptom of a political virus that can’t be quarantined and whose cure is as yet unknown.

If many of Arizona’s defenders and critics hold one belief in common, it’s that the new “show me your papers” law is sui generis: it’s seen as one angry border state’s response to its outsized share of America’s illegal immigration crisis. But to label this development “Arizona’s folly” trivializes its import and reach. The more you examine the law’s provisions and proponents, the more you realize that it’s the latest and (so far) most vicious battle in a far broader movement that is not just about illegal immigrants — and that is steadily increasing its annexation of one of America’s two major political parties.

Arizonans, like all Americans, have every right to be furious about Washington’s protracted and bipartisan failure to address the immigration stalemate. To be angry about illegal immigration is hardly tantamount to being a bigot. But the Arizona law expressing that anger is bigoted, and in a very particular way. The law dovetails seamlessly with the national “Take Back America” crusade that has attended the rise of Barack Obama and the accelerating demographic shift our first African-American president represents.

The crowd that wants Latinos to show their papers if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” of illegality is often the same crowd still demanding that the president produce a document proving his own citizenship. Lest there be any doubt of that confluence, Rush Limbaugh hammered the point home after Obama criticized Arizona’s action. “I can understand Obama being touchy on the subject of producing your papers,” he said. “Maybe he’s afraid somebody’s going to ask him for his.” Or, as Glenn Beck chimed in about the president last week: “What has he said that sounds like American?”

Read it here.

The question I've yet to see anyone meaningfully address is: what would the US do without illegal immigrants? What would happen to the hotel industry, the food production industry, the restaurant business? Who will be the nannies, the gardeners, the day labourers? Who will clean the offices, who will kill the chickens, who will pick the fruit, who will scrub the floors?

Do all these employers want to pay decent wages and adhere to labour codes for employees who might file grievances or sue them?

Or can they all pay off local law enforcement so they can hire the workers by the busload?

Whether they will admit it or not, every business owner and board of directors in the US knows that the entire US economy would collapse - more so than it has already - without illegal immigrant labour.

3 comments:

James said...

I've read that a number of Arizona businesses are already seriously hurting from immigrants leaving the state as a result of this law.

L-girl said...

It will be interesting to see what happens with baseball spring training. Will baseball issue special passes to all the young Latinos they invite to keep them from being detained and deported?

Sarah said...

Ooh boy, Laura. I could tell tales from when I was a consul in a certain Caribbean locale about the special treatment granted by my baseball-fanatic boss not only to hot prospects, but assorted family members and hangers-on. But I might get in trouble, and the way things are going the lower my profile, the better.