Keith Olbermann talked to Eugene Robinson about his recent column at The Washington Post Arizona's new immigration law is an act of vengeance. Robinson asked why the tea partiers aren't out there protesting this new Arizona "show me your papers" law. As Robinson points out, the answer is obvious.
Arizona's draconian new immigration law is an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.
Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they "reasonably suspect" of being an undocumented immigrant -- a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.
Activists for Latino and immigrant rights -- and supporters of sane governance -- held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn't the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim -- and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state -- would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?
...Arizona is dealing with a real problem and is right to demand that Washington provide a solution. But the new immigration law isn't a solution at all. It's more like an act of vengeance. The law makes Latino citizens and legal residents vulnerable to arbitrary harassment -- relegating them to second-class status -- and it is an utter disgrace. Read on...