Until 1927, there really was only one form of immigration - legal. Those were the heady days of "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The doors through which most immigrants passed were held wide open just like the American West where many risked life and limb in order to find a new life - a free life.
These immigrants may have passed through Ellis Island, crossed over an imaginary desert line in the sand, or fled the Great White North of Canada (eh), but they all came here understanding that nothing was guaranteed and that they would have to largely take care of themselves.
FDR's New Deal began an inevitable march toward government dependence that added a new and dangerous incentive to immigrate to the US - entitlement. Social programs designed as a safety net became a staple and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free became the masses looking for free things.
Don't misunderstand, there are those hardworking immigrants who only want an opportunity to better themselves and provide a better life for their family. The difference today is entitlement. Regardless of an immigrant's motives, their very presence here makes them eligible for all sorts of government goodies paid for by citizens and legal immigrants. Enter the new Arizona immigration law.
Arizona is broke. So broke in fact, that the state held an auction in January to sell off government buildings (read it here). It's estimated that Arizona is home to some 470,000 illegal immigrants - all of whom are eligible for some form of state funded assistance despite their less than legal status. Then there's the crime that is often associated with illegal immigrants. Phoenix has become the kidnap capital of the U.S. It's hard not to draw a correlation between the abductions in Arizona and the kidnappings in the Kidnap Capital of the World - Mexico City.
There's little doubt that crime and entitlement led to the new Arizona law - a law that is more rhetorically reprehensible than actually a threat to civil liberties. In fact, the law has at least one very positive effect - it makes Arizona immigration policy uniform.
Uniformity in law enforcement is imminently desirable. In Bernalillo County alone we have at least two different enforcement policies - one for the Sheriff's Department and one for the Albuquerque Police Department. And despite the mayoral campaign promises, our Eyes tell us that there has been no change to the APD SOP regarding illegal immigrants. Officers are prohibited from contacting federal authorities unless the suspected illegal is accused of a violent crime (read it here).
[Sidebar]Look... everyone in this country - including American Indians - came from somewhere else. Whether trekking across the Bering Strait, braving the Atlantic, or wading across the Rio Grande, all of us are or came from immigrant stock. Most of us came legally. But since 1927 the federal government has restricted immigration and if they won't enforce the laws they created, it's up to the states to do so. More importantly, in today's entitlement society it's economically unsustainable to continue to support those who have chosen to ignore our laws and enter this country illegally.
We understand that filling a $20 MILLION budget hole only to have to fill a $64 MILLION hole takes a large shovel and a lot of time. But, Mayor Berry needs to make good on his campaign promise and direct Uber-Chief White and Chief Schultz to make the promised adjustments to the APD SOP.