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April 29, 2010

Tea Partiers and Illegal Immigration

Derek Shackelford

Just a couple of weeks ago Tea Party rallies were held across the country to oppose some of the proponents of government spending and intrusion. Rightly Tea Partiers believe government is not the answer to all of individual or societal problems. And if those in government thinks that it is and everyone can be on equal footing, then some would pronounce this to be socialism.


After all, that is the common theme that has been brought up by some who describe President Barack Obama’s political policies. The administration has been accused of communism and/or socialism. But, of course, this is usually from the same crowd that believes President Obama’s birth certificate is not valid, although it has been proven countless times that it is authentic and he is a U.S. citizen.


What is rather interesting about the Tea Party Movement is the notion that government’s reach should only be but so far. I think many can agree on this premise, but where the rubber meets the road is the ideas on how government should be involved and to what degree.


It would not be fair to cast a wide net of derision on those from the right and left to believe that all agree with the fringe elements of both sides. No matter how the pie is sliced, there are fringes on both sides of the aisle that are not beneficial to productive discourse or competent solutions.


Some will spout ideas that are detrimental not only to the masses, but to their own personal welfare. The reality is whether some like it or not, President Obama was elected. To try to diminish the credibility of those who voted for him by saying they are unpatriotic is irresponsible.


Take for instance the notion of the “Take our Country Back” slogan. Take our country back from what? When the political right uses this slogan, does it mean “take it back” because they don’t have the power?


The Tea Party Movement has every right to disagree, argue and/or try to convince people that its ideas are beneficial to this country. Along with this should be the fortitude to call a spade a spade.


If the government is overreaching with its current economic policies, then would it not be wise to suggest that government is overreaching when it comes to the immigration law passed by the state of Arizona?


Recently the governor of Arizona signed into law a measure that gives police broad power to detain anyone who is suspected of being in the country illegally. Along with this is the capacity for citizens to sue the local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration laws are not being enforced.


Gov. Jan Brewer has even stated that racial profiling will not be tolerated. Excuse me, but will everyone be asked for identification? It is easy to incorporate laws when some will not be directly asked to produce documents or stopped because they do not look illegal. Real question: what does “suspected of being illegal” look like?


The truth of the matter is racial profiling does exist and will exist in this matter. Take it from someone who has experienced it. It is not something to gloat about. Yet, the Tea Party Movement remains silent on the long reach of government in this case. Apparently limited government only exists when it suits the purpose.


Is illegal immigration a hot political issue? Why certainly. Will it rally and stir the emotions of the people? For sure. Even locally Sheriff Chuck Jenkins has supported the federal 287g program. It has increased his visibility both here and nationally. But what should be remembered and articulated clearly to the masses about the program is that those who have been arrested for a crime and are illegal face the possibility of being deported. What it does not amount to is round them up and deport them because they are illegal.


Recent polls show that many from within the Tea Party Movement, and many who are not a part of it, do not trust government. Interestingly enough, should government still be trusted when it comes to this issue of illegal immigration?


There are several dynamics to illegal immigration besides racial profiling that need to be examined. Will employers and corporations who employ illegals be penalized as well? Will the borders be properly secured? Will the process of legal immigration be consistent and equitable?


So, as the Tea Partiers support the notion of limited government and government staying in its place, it has yet to hold a rally in regards to the injustice that is being promoted in the state of Arizona. In actuality, one should not be surprised. After all Arizona was the last state to recognize the holiday in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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