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"Papers Please" Law Coming To Ohio?

By The Reverend Published: April 29, 2010

Will Arizona's new "papers please" immigration law soon come to Ohio?

Maybe.

An area lawmaker and law enforcement official known for their tough stances on illegal immigration have asked Ohio officials for legislation similar to a controversial Arizona law.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and state Rep. Courtney Combs sent letters Tuesday to Gov. Ted Strickland, Senate President Bill Harris and Speaker of the House Armond Budish urging them to develop and pass a law that mirrors Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.

Under the new law, legal immigrants would (be) required to carry documents to prove their status and law enforcement officers would be required to check the legal status of anyone they suspect of being undocumented.

Who are Jones and Combs?

Jones and Combs, a pair of Republicans who have teamed up before to promote changes to immigration laws, hope to travel to Arizona to meet with Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law April 23, to discuss the legislation.

The sheriff's outspokenness on illegal immigration has driven many Latinos from the area, residents said, forcing many businesses and restaurants to close.

"Sheriff Jones has basically plowed over this place," said resident Heather Komnenovich. "It's beginning to dry out; it's just beginning to dry out."

Butler County is in the far southwest corner of Ohio, near Cincinnati.

Seems as if the Butler County Sheriff Department has a bit of history dealing with immigrants.....

Butler County reached a $100,000 settlement last week with an illegal immigrant who was arrested at a construction site and later deported to Mexico.

Attorneys for illegal immigrant Luis Rodriguez, who was accused of providing false documentation, filed a federal lawsuit in 2008, saying Butler County sheriff's employees illegally questioned him.

The lawsuit also said the sheriff's office did not have authority to enforce federal civil immigration law.

Strict state immigration laws have been tried before.....

Arizona's passage of SB 1070 represents the most serious incursion by a state into the federal province of immigration regulation and enforcement since California's Proposition 187 in the 1990s. A federal court threw out much of that law because the state had overstepped its authority to engage in immigration matters. The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution similarly prevents Arizona from taking federal immigration enforcement into its own hands.

As Jonathan Turley, law professor at Georgetown University said last night, the new Arizona immigration law appears to be unconstitutional on two fronts. The first is that states do not have immigration law powers over and above what the federal government has determined. The second concerns itself with the "reasonable suspicion" threshold with which Arizona law enforcement will now determine whether a suspect should be stopped and papers demanded.

When asked, "what does an illegal immigrant look like?"...Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said this....

Governor Brewer "doesn't know what an illegal immigrant looks like." I wonder if Arizona or Ohio police know? And if they do, what criteria do they use to know who is an illegal immigrant and who isn't? If the answer to "how do you know"...is...."they look Hispanic"....then wouldn't that, by definition, be racial profiling? And isn't racial profiling in the U.S....illegal?

What, then, are Arizona and Ohio leaders trying to tell the rest of the country when they set forward unconstitutional state laws usurping federal authority while blatantly targeting Hispanics?

First, I think, conservatives are trying to rally their base for this fall's election. In 2005, George W. Bush attempted to move comprehensive immigration reform forward only to hit a brickwall of far right resistance to a "pathway to citizenship" provision. AM hate-radio was on fire in opposition to W's proposal during that time.

Conservatives, as we saw during the "let's bash the gays" state initiatives of the 2004 election....are not shy about trying to motivate their base voters to come out to vote with emotional calls of hate, fear or ignorance of the "other."

Second, as we've seen in Virginia with the Confederacy Appreciation nonsense....as we've seen with conservative governors mouthing off about refusing stimulus funds....as we've seen in the numerous red state challenges to the new health care legislation.....when Democrats control Washington, conservatives respond with an extra-wingnut-helping of "states rights" initiatives. The message conservatives hope to convey is one of defiance towards a perceived-to-be ineffective, Democratically-controlled federal government. Conservatives hope to weaken a Democratic president, politically, with these efforts

Third....simple racism. A portion of the modern conservative movement,.....I don't think it's the majority,....have become apoplectic about the prospects of whites reaching minority status sometime in the forseeable future. Recent harsh state immigration legislation, I think, contains at least a tad of that apoplexy.

I often now hear the word "tribalism" thrown around by all the millionaire teevee kewl kidz. Tribalism may seem less offensive than the word racism...but I see little difference in the two words.

This Media Matters piece is also worth reading on this topic.

Also, recent "Crazy Legislation From Across The Nation."

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