Jan Brewer is a governor who tried to block the influx of illegal immigrants into the border state of Arizona with a bill called SB 1070. She wrote a book about what happened when she tried. The book Scorpions For Breakfast has a chapter titled “Nazis in the Desert” (she was compared with Nazis) and “Sued For Enforcing the Law” which give you an idea of what happened. This may not seem to belong in an evil blog, but there are four reasons I put it here.
- Jan Brewer is a likeable character who should not be compared with mass murderers. When you call good people Nazis, you cheapen the evil of real Nazis.
- One of her supporters, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, is receiving threats against his life from Mexican Mafia and drug cartel members. He says: “I understand this threat, yet I will not run in fear or change my support for SB-1070 and my demands for President Obama to secure our border with 3,000 armed soldiers in Arizona and start building the fence again.”
- The amount and intensity of opposition that SB-1070 aroused, including a lawsuit directed by President Obama against Arizona, and bus loads of demonstrators coming into Arizona’s capital, showed that the issue really hit a nerve. Jan was called “Hitler’s daughter” and “Satan’s Whore” and names that can’t be repeated here.
She says that in World War II, the pilots who delivered the bombs had a saying: “If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target.” Jan caught so much flak that something basic was exposed about American society.
- The human smugglers were causing evil themselves, including making Phoenix (the largest city in Arizona) into the kidnapping capital of America.
One reason for SB 1070 was to send Washington, D.C., a message. The message was that D.C was not doing its job in protecting Arizona. The border in Arizona was unenforced, which meant that about a thousand desperate and poor people walked into Arizona every day (at the height of the crisis), and finally violent crime invaded with the drug cartels taking over the border crossings.
Jan says that the media presents immigration as a tale of good vs evil, a battle of two visions. “One is the vision of America in which it’s our moral obligation to absorb virtually unlimited numbers of poor uneducated immigrants. Those who hold this view are the good guys–the ones who cherish and defend America’s welcoming and generous spirit. The other vision …is the restrictionist view. In this vision, consciously or unconsciously racist Americans (there can be no other motive) seek an airtight border in order to preserve their western, white privilege.”
One cost of the immigration is in free health care. America has a law that if you are sick and can’t pay, your local hospital has to treat you anyway. In addition many illegal immigrants do receive public services though they are not citizens. They become eligible if they have children while in the U.S.
Another cost is in crime. Cattlemen who had ranches on the border said that more and more of the illegal aliens they saw on their land were no longer wearing their traditional clothes. Now they wore black, to be harder to see at night. More and more were carrying automatic weapons. Homes were being broken into. Women at home alone during the day reported menacing men staring at their houses and refusing to leave. Rancher Rob Krentz made the observation to a group of other ranchers that if something didn’t change, it was inevitable that someone would be killed. Later Krentz himself got killed by an illegal.
Home invasions occur in places like Phoenix. Drug gangs target the homes of other smugglers where they believe large amounts of cash (or drugs or weapons) are stored. During the attacks, residential neighborhoods have been sprayed with hundreds of rounds of automatic-weapon fire.
Another result of the illegal immigration is that immigrants are held in drop houses until enough payment from them or their families is received by their smugglers. In Phoenix, more than 600 such houses have been found in recent years. Many more go undetected. People in these prisons are sometimes tortured, raped, etc. In one memorable night, fifty naked bloody people ran down the street – they had overpowered their guards and broken out of their house-prison.
Says Jan Brewer: “The same cartels that kidnap, rape, and murder in Phoenix maintain drop houses in Georgia, conduct assaults in Alabama; engage in shootouts in the Pacific Northwest; and distribute marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin from Anchorage to Miami.”
So obviously there is a problem.
But the measure that got the nation’s attention was SB 1070. There are already two federal crimes that are relevant: the first crime is to be in the U.S. illegally and the second crime is to not carry documents showing legality if you are an immigrant. SB 1070 made it a misdemeanor (in the state of Arizona) to fail to carry such documentation. But the Arizona law said that police cannot ask for such documentation at random just when someone looks Hispanic. First there has to be a crime – such as a traffic violation or worse, and then the offending person has to also give reasonable suspicion that he is illegal.
But President Obama said that the bill would allow police to approach people on the street and demand papers for no reason, which, Jan Brewer says, was untrue. Another example of misrepresentation was by Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles. He wrote “I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.” Brewer says that the “Hitler card” kept being played by opponents of the bill. A big banner in front of the Capital even showed her in Nazi uniform. The rap group Public Enemy’s Chuck D recorded a song called “Tear Down That Wall” because “The governor is a Hitler”.
Amusingly, some of the bill’s critics had not read the bill. This included Eric Holder (attorney general) who said the bill could lead to “racial profiling” and that his justice department might sue, but then had to admit he hadn’t read it. A few days later, State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley, after equating the Arizona law with the tyranny of the Communist Chinese, admitted on national television that he hadn’t read the bill either.
Then Jan Brewer learned from watching a TV interview with the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton that “President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy. And the Justice Department under his direction will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.”
Back to the point of the blog. If you are fairly liberal, and don’t think much about what you see on TV, the story you believe is that prejudiced white folks in Arizona are passing reckless bills that will subject all people who look Hispanic to intrusive checks of their papers, and that the progressive good people (like your president, or a famous cardinal) are trying to oppose this. What’s really going on is something quite different. Unrestricted immigration has various disadvantages, and is also bringing in evils such as torture, kidnapping, etc. to the U.S., and Jan Brewer of Arizona was trying to make the Federal government enforce its own laws, which were reasonable laws.
Jan Brewer has a theory that the SEIU, a leftist government union that was prominent in protesting SB 1070, wants reform for selfish reasons. She quotes the SEIU vice president, Eliseo Medina saying the following: “[When] we reform the immigration laws, it puts twelve million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters.” He also reminded the crowd that Latinos and immigrants had overwhelmingly supported “progressive” candidates in 2008. Barack Obama got two out of every three of their votes. Medina said this can create “a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.” Then he said that leaving the border open (!) would “solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future.”
Not being “progressive” myself, this alarms me. When a politician like Jan Brewer stirs up a hornet’s nest, it seems to me that she is displaying courage and principle, not hidden Nazi tendencies. In fact, her father helped fight real Nazis – in World War II.
Caveats: Death threats are not limited to the anti-Brewer contingent, according to a judge who ruled that parts of SB 1070 were unconstitutional and has been on the receiving end of such threats. Nonetheless, it does seem that when you accuse good people of being Nazis, you discredit your cause, and when you unleash a large movement against a reasonable law, it is reasonable to suspect you of ulterior motives.