President Obama has vigorously stated his opposition to Arizona’s recently enacted immigration law. His stated concern, shared by many, is that persons of Hispanic origin are most likely to be singled out for proof of legal residence in the state. Given that the nearly half-million estimated illegal immigrants in Arizona are of Hispanic origin (Spanish-speakers from Mexico and Latin America), this supposition is plausible. Concern about “ethnic profiling” overrides enforcement of immigration law for those opposing Arizona’s law.
Obama’s critics accuse him of using Arizona as a political ploy to shore up his base with Hispanic voters. John McCain, previously a supporter of comprehensive reform that included a path to citizenship (and voting) for illegal immigrants already in the U.S., has harshened his stance on immigration. In a tough Republican primary campaign with former House of Representative member J.D. Hayworth, McCain is demanding that Obama send troops to secure the border.
Supporters of the Arizona law point to several murders illegals have committed against Arizona residents, a rise in kidnaping, straining public services, drug smuggling, and so on.
Let’s try a thought experiment. Suppose the bulk of illegal immigrants crossed over from Canada, not Mexico. Suppose they were smuggling drugs, murdering American residents, working in fields and factories for cheap wages, using public hospitals and schools without paying the full cost of these services, and trashing the environment as they made their way through open country to the nearest city.
Now, for the final piece of the puzzle, suppose some were members of a white right-wing militia that was based in Canada but extending its reaches throughout the Northern United States. How long do you believe it would take for President Obama to dispatch whatever number of troops was required to secure the border?