Opinion

Commentary: In support of Arizona's immigration law

I support comprehensive immigration reform. I also support Arizona's tough new immigration enforcement law.

Despite what you've read and heard, Arizona's new law is not, as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson claims, "racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust and draconian."

To the contrary, the state's Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act could serve as a template for enforcement provisions should the feds ever decide to own up to their immigration responsibilities.

Two of the new law's provisions are particular targets of overheated rhetoric. One is the requirement that immigrants be able to verify their legal status to police. The other requires government officials, including police, to attempt to determine the immigration status of any person they reasonably suspect is in the country illegally.

In reality, these provisions are no big deal. Proving one's status is second nature to legal immigrants worldwide. Tourists, too. The biggest tip given to first-time overseas travelers is to never, ever go anywhere without your passport. There's no difference in being required to show either a passport or a green card.

Of course what really has the law's opponents in a tizzy is the requirement that police officers determine the status of anyone they reasonably suspect is an illegal immigrant. This leads opponents to claim that the law encourages racial profiling.

They're right.

When the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are Mexican, common sense tells you that law enforcement officers and government bureaucrats will have reasonable suspicions of Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent — like me.

To read the complete column, visit www.newsobserver.com.

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