Papers Please?

The controversy over Arizona’s “Paper’s Please” legislation started before it was passed. Arizona’s Jan Brewer inherited the governorship after then governor Janet Napalatano became Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security.

Right off the bat, the new Governor’s approval rating was in the 40s. And it was made worse when she raised taxes to cover a deficit gap that all states were feeling. In some poles her soon to be opponent, Democrat Terry Goddard had a slim lead.

Now what’s a Republican to do? In the age of the Tea Party it is easy to resort to drastic measures. We have been hearing about drug warfare and human trafficking at the southern border.  Sounds like a real problem.  And while this is less than 1% of people who cross the border daily to pick our avocados it makes all illegal aliens an easy target. 

I don’t know about you but the bill seemed to come out of nowhere.  It seems to me that there are many ways to help the INS or what is now called ICE.  For example, If the problem is that there are not enough people to patrol, the state could send some of their best officers to help the federal enforcement and over a period of time be trained.  The federal police (ICE) would get free help and the State police would get sufficient training.  A message can be sent to the Hispanic community letting them know that ‘We know the Hispanic community is hard working and law abiding and we want to keep the human trafficking and drug smuggling that affects us all from crossing into our lives.’
 That isn’t what happened.  A bill was passed that, for the most part, mirrors the federal law but adds, among other things, that immigrants have to keep their papers on them at all times.  Who didn’t think that this wouldn’t be insulting?  And I can’t imagine they thought treading on the federal laws was legal. 

It was a national story from the moment it was signed.  And it had the effect of infuriating the left and energizing the right.  It gained national attention and Jan Brewer’s approval rating went into the 50s.  She is now leading the gubernatorial race by more than 20 points, according to some poles.

Maybe the governor really thought this was the best way to help keep Arizona safe.  But given the number of false statements she has made (beheaded bodies, etc) It looks a little like she did what she could to make noise, gain attention and move the poles a bit.  It may have been a gamble, but she didn’t really have much to lose.