Arizona officials are to be applauded for not caving in to pressure from the Obama Administration. Gov. Jan Brewer, in defending S.B. 1070, is trying to put teeth at the state level into an absurdly administered system that places citizens at risk. As Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu noted in a recent interview, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel:
What’s very troubling is the fact that at a time when we in law enforcement and our state need help from the federal government, instead of sending help they put up billboard-size signs warning our citizens to stay out of the desert in my county because of dangerous drug and human smuggling and weapons and bandits and then, behind that, they drag us into court with the ACLU…. So who has partnered with the ACLU? It’s the President and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder himself. And that’s simply outrageous…. Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help.
Cochise County, Arizona, Sheriff Larry Dever added, “the bigger picture is while what’s going on in Arizona is critically important, what comes out of this and happens here will affect our entire nation in terms of our ability to protect our citizenry from a very serious homeland security threat.”
Even Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal (May 1-2, 2010) sees the problem:
We are at a remarkable moment. We have an open, 2,000-mile border to our south, and the entity with the power to enforce the law and impose safety and order will not do it…. Who worries about America? No one. Which the American people have noticed, and which add to the dangerous alienation—actually it’s at the heart of the alienation—of the age.
Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, sponsor of S.B. 1070, has also taken aim at Birthright citizenship, helping launch a national discussion of this issue. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 8 percent of live births nationally are to parents who are illegal aliens. We have an estimated 4-million under the age of 18. Legal scholars note that birthright citizenship for children of foreign nationals is not in the Fourteenth Amendment in the first place. The amendment’s authors never intended it to cover the children of foreign citizens who happened to give birth in the U.S.
Articles in this issue of The Social Contract explore these and other topics. As always, we appreciate our readers’ support.