Still, the man is what passes for an "intellectual" of the Right. I can only assume that this is the only reason that today's Oregonian ("We're the Worst Newspaper In the World But We're The Only Newspaper In Portland!") was willing to front up his appalling screed on the Arizona "Papieren, bitte!" immigration law.
As usual, Will takes his little conservative sawed-off shotgun of Deep Conservative Thinking, aims it at the Godless Lib'ruls, and blows off his own foot. And, no, I'm not going to link to the sunovabitch. Google "George Will" and "Arizona immigration" and you'll find his worthless ass.
Specifically what he does is he manages to completely miss the whole point of those of us who find the new law so frigging stupid.
It doesn't have anything to do with racism. Or fascism. Or anti-Mexican prejudice. Or the damn Tea Party idiots and what they do or don't believe is true.
Nope. It's in the process that's stated in S.B. 1070 in these words: "For any lawful contact made by a low enforcement official or agency...where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a resonable attempt shall be made, when practical, to determine the immigration status of that individual."
"Where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States..."
Do you see the problem here?
Let's say that I am Canadian. I slipped across the border into Oregon, applied for a state ID (which in my state does not require proof of citizenship). I have a job, a house, am in all ways indistinguishable from someone born in Portland or Gresham except that I'm not a legal U.S. citizen.
How is a Maricopa sheriff's deputy going to know that?
Should I wear a Canucks jersey? Go around saying "eh?" a lot? Wear snowshoes in Tempe and run gallumphing away when the county cruiser drives by?
Let's cut through the bullshit being spouted about this and man up to the fact that there are only two ways to enforce this law:
1. Target groups or individuals who are "likely" to be in the U.S. illegally.
This is clearly what the law intends. It is designed to smoke out Latinos; Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hondurans, Guatemalans, who are in the country without their papers. Will's column admits as much. He describes it as a "cry for help" because the feds have failed to control passage through our southern border. In the process he also makes the fairly specious claim that Democrats and liberals who are objecting to this are doing so only to win Hispanic votes, but, nevermind, it's George Will. Will makes the assertion that this is merely federalism at work, and that we who know Hispanics only as people with leafblowers in our front yards at noon - rather than in our backyards at 3 a.m. - need to get over it and let Arizona get on with the job.
(Let me also observe the nasty implicit racisim in the notion that because the Arizonans who like this law are more "familiar" with brown people they have more reason to suspect that many of them are criminals. But, nevermind, it's George Will.)
If this is the intent - which it is - the law is clearly both wrong in intent and illegal in practice. If it becomes obvious that Arizona lawmen are stopping hispanic-looking people and asking for their papers the disparity and prejudicial intent of the law will be legally unavoidable. When the first Hispanic U.S. citizen unable to produce the appropriate papers is arrested (and at least one will be - the Border Patrol and the USCIS, charged with enforcing immigration law, do this all the time) the violent and debilitating payout of taxpayer funds in lawsuits will begin. How many deputies and librarians will Arizona counties have to lay off before realizing that this is a mug's game?
2. Begin asking random individuals for their proof of citizenship.
Game over. The "Papers, please!" chestnut is the oldest shorthand for dictatorship we know. When and if this happens, Arizona will have officially become the rubber bobo head for all the dumb nativist beliefs spouted everywhere in the U.S. And yes, I'm looking mostly at you, conservatives. You've embraced this tarbaby all on your ownselves.
More to the point, none of this really has anything to do with dealing with the problem of controlling our southern border and why it is so difficult.
I have no doubt that this law has something to do with hating on some Mexicans and something to with the a certain type of person's approach to a problem being to find the biggest stick possible and beat on it. But that's not the problem.
One problem is that this law is an unenforcibly bad law; it requires Arizona cops to choose between racism and authoritarianism. It's said that hard cases make bad law. Well, bad law makes for hard cases, and this one is going to be as bad as can be. But that's not the problem, either.
The problem is that this law is a symptom. The problem is that this is a symptom of the kind of bad, stupid, things that people do when they have no patience and no intelligence to come up with a complex solution to a complex problem. The problem is that this law isn't all that much different than doing bad, stupid things like launching land wars and occupying lands in central Asia in retaliation for an act of civilian criminality by a handful of raggedy-ass guerillas. It's not all that much different from doing bad, stupid things like passing legislation that let slicky-boys run financial Ponzi schemes and then refusing to change anything when their greed and dumb stupidity impoverish others.
Back in June of 2007 I talked a lot about this. About how the "illegal immigration" problem isn't really an "illegal immigration" problem but a multi-car pileup of social, economic and political ills in Central America, economic imbalance across the Border, pig-stupid U.S. drug and labor laws, wishful thinking and reality-avoidance on all sides wrapped up in the bone-deep simplicity of the sort of people like Arizona's governor and her fellow thumb-hammerers in the state legislature. About how this does nothing more than punish people desperate to help themselves and their families while doing nothing, less than nothing, about the problems and structural instability that brought them there.
I have no hope that the sort of people in Arizona who thought this law would work will suddenly get smarter. In fact, I have little hope at all that my nation as a whole can avoid the long slide into magical thinking and stupid answers to difficult questions that this law represents. All I can do is repeat to Governor Brewer and the idiotic legislators of Arizona now what I said then:
"The real issue - the one Which Dare Not Speak Its Name - is that the institutional poverty, misgovernance and social maladjustment of most Latin American countries is so profound and so destructive that to address it would take every penny that the U.S. has spent on poorly planned foreign adventures and more. Much more.Hadrian used stone to build his wall and try and keep the Pictish wetbacks out. It was a warlike act and as such it worked for a time. But eventually the pressure from without and the rot from within knocked the rocks down.
So instead we get this idiotic argument that all we need to do is fence these little heatherns out and everything wil be Good. God will once again be White and in His Heaven, the food will magically get harvested, processed, cooked and served by Real Amurikans (actual Citizens) who will suddenly, magically, want to work for the pittance we want to pay for these jobs to prevent our food, clothing and service costs from reflecting what it would cost to pay humans actually living wages to do these things.
As Hadrian himself might have said: Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.
It is your business when your neighbour's house is on fire."
I have no idea of what it means that the only rocks involved here are inside people like Jan Brewer's and Russel Pearce's and George Will's heads.