Friday, May 7, 2010

Offering Up a 'Zona Defense

Offering Up a 'Zona Defense
David Whitley
National Columnist

It used to be easy to spot a racist. They wore white hoods with eyeholes cut out.

Now they wear Arizona Diamondbacks caps.

At least that's the message from opponents of Arizona's new immigration law. They are calling for fans to picket Diamondbacks games. They want the 2011 All-Star Game moved from Phoenix. They want teams to move their spring training sites out of Arizona.

Boycott Fever -- Catch It!

Sorry, I can't. And I hope you'll think twice before making a picket sign.

That would be once more than the boycott crowd. It looked at the bill and quickly distilled Arizona's motives by using standard reactionary math:

New Law + Immigrants = Racism.

If anything, a boycott should be aimed at the Nationals. Washington's spineless politicians forced Arizona to take the law into its own hands before the state turned into one big O.K. Corral.

Critics can't be bothered with such complexities. They are saying Hanley Ramirez will be treated like Rodney King the next time he gets to Phoenix.

The Major League Baseball players' union has come out against the law. It is shocked that a player "must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and legality of his being in Arizona."

The horror is apparently catching on. Adrian Gonzalez told FanHouse he'd boycott next year's All-Star Game "because it's a discriminating law."

Yes, just as theft laws discriminate against thieves, illegal immigration laws discriminate against illegal immigrants. Or as MSNBC breathlessly flashed in headline:

"Law Makes It A Crime To Be Illegal Immigrant."

Terms like Brownshirts, vigilantes, apartheid and Republican are being thrown around. Al Sharpton has landed. The celeb crowd has taken its standard morally superior stance.

Shakira weighed in, saying "Some of the darkest moments in human history -- persecution of Jewish people, segregation in the American South and ethnic cleansing around the world -- began just like this."

Today, they're rounding up shortstops in Phoenix. Tomorrow, they're putting you in a cattle car for having a Spanish accent.

People are so busy demagoguing you wonder if they've actually read the law. It's 16 pages that grant police broader powers to identify and arrest illegal aliens.

"Now they're going to go after everybody, not just people behind the wall. Now they're going to come out on the street," Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cesar Izturis said. "What if you're walking down the street with your family and kids. They're going to go after you."

It's no surprise a player is misinformed and easily manipulated. You expect more out of The New York Times. Or maybe you don't.

"The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant," The Times reported.


Police must have "reasonable suspicion" to determine a person's immigration status. The law specifically states that race cannot be a factor in determining reasonable suspicion.

Critics automatically presuppose Arizona lawmen have been dying for an excuse to racially profile and deport 30 percent of the state's population. But before anyone can be even be suspected, they have to be part of a "lawful stop, detention or arrest."

In other words, a cop can't just stop a car full of law-abiding Mexicans or a Marlins shortstop walking down the street.

Ramirez would have had to violate some law. And you know what police would do if they suspected he's an illegal immigrant?

Ask for his papers!

(Please add evil voiceover for dramatic effect).

"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 said on ABC's This Week.

Actually, it harkens back to 1940 when Congress passed the Alien Registration Act. Non-citizens have been required to carry a visa or green card or some form of identification for the past 60 years.

What seems like common sense is now controversial. Constitutional lawyers say Arizona's law may not stand up because states can't enforce federal laws.

That legality isn't what has boycotters threatening everything Arizona. They see xenophobia as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Never mind that every civilized country in the world has laws against anybody just wandering in. In politically correct America, merely asking someone for proof of citizenship is grounds for Klan induction.

Polls show 51 percent of Americans favor Arizona's law, while 39 percent oppose it. In Arizona, polls show 70 percent of residents support the law.

Are they all bigots?

Most illegal aliens don't come to America to deal drugs and join gangs. But according to the Department of Justice, Phoenix is the country's kidnapping capital, with 566 abductions the past two years. Attacks on Border Patrol agents increased 46 percent to 1,097 in 2008. Federal officials reported the victims usually have connections to either immigrant smuggling groups or drug traffickers.

A recent University of Arizona study found illegal immigration cost the state $1.4 billion a year. The state treasurer said the true cost is closer to $2 billion.

You can probably find a study to support whatever position you favor. Either way, it's easy to be sanctimonious when you're sitting in New York City. It's not so simple when you live in Arizona.

The state is essentially attempting to enforce federal laws on illegal immigration. Given that, shouldn't the boycott be nationwide?

Let's picket every baseball team everywhere and demand that every All-Star Game be moved to ... Mexico!

No wait, Mexico's immigration laws make Arizona look like San Francisco. You can get two years in jail just for entering the country illegally.

Or in terms even MSNBC might understand, "Law Makes It An Illegal Crime To Be Illegal Criminal Immigrant In Mexico."

Such discrimination cannot stand.

I fully expect Gonzalez, Shakira and the MLB players union to call a press conference and demand we boycott Mexico.
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