I have a central issue that critics of these laws don't seem to stress. Understandably, many have gone right to the racist nature of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina versions. For example, the NY Times leads with an editorial including, "...following — and in some ways outdoing — Arizona’s attempt to engineer the mass expulsion of the undocumented, no matter the damage to the Constitution, public safety, local economies and immigrant families." Newsmax anticipates bases for legal challenges. The Southern Poverty Law Center's position is in the Huffington Post, emphasizing the costs, inefficiencies and the peril to school children. A newsier item at the Huff touches on the who'll-pick-crops angle; while an Alabama sponsor says more local citizens will take those jobs, that's never been the case and farmers who employ migrants are economically fearful.
A recap of the Alabama version in the best possible light — by the GOP sponsors — is here. The whole text is here.
Yet what keeps bubbling up to me is the willingness of self-identified undocumented-alien fighters to go all totalitarian on all of us. The new laws allow and encourage any kind of law-enforcement official to demand proof of citizenship for any or no particular reason.
When he was Prez, George the Lesser Bush iterated his response to Americans who decried the broad post-9/11 stripping of long-standing, prison and blood-won liberties with glibness. Wiretapping? Airport frisking and worse? Home invasions? His chant was, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."
Likewise, the proponents of Homeland Security excesses and these dreadful new laws do the variation, "Better safe than sorry."
Such mentality belies our fight against our colonial masters, particularly unreasonable search and seizure and due process guarantees. Those were rallying cries in our war for independence and became touchstones for all of us in our Bill of Rights.
Now the literal sorts in states and Congress would nibble and chomp away at our liberties. It's as though they forgot the history of our struggle, the shame of our own concentration camps for Japanese-Americans, and even the contrast of us with the Axis powers who could demand of all, "Let me see your papers!"
Here's a solid overlap I find with libertarians. Most of them seem to rail against irrational and despotic laws and regulations favoring police-state actions. The idea that we are to cede the freedoms that have differentiated us is abhorrent.
Under Bush's policies, many continued by the current POTUS, we are already down that road. It's not too far to reverse though. Here and now, on Independence Day, is a good time to do so.