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‘Yearning to breathe free’

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This article, which was sent to me by a friend, reports that my home state of South Carolina (and many others) is now considering its own unconstitutional immigration law a la Arizona’s recently passed travesty. Here is the full article from The State.

Scott Huffman, a Winthrop University political science professor, indicated that the subcommittee met to discuss the bill was only making a “symbolic,” gesture because the legislature wouldn’t have time to pass the law in this session:

By doing it when they don’t actually have time to pass the legislation, they get credit for the symbolic stand without having to worry about how to fund the measure.

Yes, and by credit, Huffman means, political points. Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, noted that none of the five on the committee were up for reelection:

We are not playing to anybody. It’s not a pandering-type thing.

Perhaps not as individual politicians, but as a party, it most certainly is pandering.

Regardless, South Carolina already passed an immigration law in 2008, then deemed one of the stiffest in the nation, and which instituted the E-verify system requiring employers to validate potential employees legal status by either drivers license or documentation with the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate bill, according to The State,

would allow state and local police to check immigration status after detaining or arresting a person for another reason. The officer would need reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

People questioned would have to provide identification issued by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, a tribal enrollment card or an ID issued by the U.S. government. The bill also includes a provision that would outlaw the hiring of illegal immigrants for day labor.

The words aren’t in quotes, but “reasonable suspicion” is the actual verbiage from the bill, but what on earth does that mean? In my view, this gives big-feeling law enforcement officers too much leeway and power to determine, with all the implications that come from living in the historically anti-brown and anti-black South, far too much license to find “reasonable suspicion” wherever, and on whomever, they choose.

And according to the this story, the public seems to be behind measures of this kind. But, I would argue, it makes no difference what the public supports or not. The “public” does not always have the nation’s true best interests at heart or enough knowledge of anything to make intelligent decisions about anything. After all, 59 percent of Americans say that religion plays an important part of their lives, far greater than any other modernized, wealthy nation.

And yes, immigrants to this country have always had a tough road to hoe, none greater than Africans in the 17th century, later Irish and Italians, and now Hispanics, but the spirit of this country is immigration, and as I’ve noted in newspaper columns, Obama must work to pass meaningful and long-needed immigration reform. These rogue states’ yahoo approach to go it alone is misguided, and by all means, unconstitutional, and at the start, against the spirit on which this country was founded. According to the above linked story by the Christian Science Monitor,

the results of these polls miss the point, says Lara Brown, a political scientist at Villanova University. “There is more consensus on this topic among Americans than most politicians seem to believe.”

“The majority of Americans are not anti-immigrant, pro-illegals, or in favor of a police state,” Brown says. “Instead, they want government to uphold the rule of law (the federal rule of law, italics mine), and they want America to continue to be a country that stands by its long heritage of welcoming those, as the inscription on the Statute of Liberty reads, who are ‘yearning to breathe free.’ The real story is that.”

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