Restoring the Sacred

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jonah Goldberg: Is Arizona's Law Wrong if it Works?

Here’s President Obama on the law’s ramifications: “You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona — your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go.”

In the president’s (flawed) scenario, that hypothetical Hispanic citizen will be “harassed.” What does that mean? It means he will be asked to prove his citizenship, which he will obviously be able to do. He won’t be tried, convicted, and deported; he will be inconvenienced. Indeed, under the more realistic scenario, he will be pulled over for a traffic violation and asked to offer his driver’s license (his “papers”). And that will be it.

Meanwhile, imagine you’re an American kid of Chinese ancestry. Given your SAT scores and GPA, you should be able to get into, say, the University of Michigan. But because of Michigan’s race-based policies, you’re turned down because you’re not black or Hispanic. That’s not just inconvenient, that’s a lifetime loss. You’ll never be able to go to that school. Period. Similarly, being turned down for a job you deserve because of your skin color is a real loss. Being questioned for a few minutes about your immigration status may be inconvenient, or even feel insulting. But, beyond ruining your day, you’ll be fine.

Here's the whole article from National Review Online:

Is Arizona Law Still Wrong If It Works? - Jonah Goldberg - National Review Online

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