As anyone who reads my blog is aware, I have mixed emotions about Arizona's new immigration law. I have deep sympathy for those who must live with all the varied difficulties and dangers of having criminal behavior in their community coming over illegally across the borders. Still - I hear what those on the left and the right are saying about civil rights, racial profiling, logistic difficulties and the like vis a vis the law.
Ed Morrissey has an excellent post on this topic this morning. Ed also points out what should be clear to all politicians, irrespective of their political philosophies:
I agree that this issues of this passage got exaggerated, but it points out some sloppiness on the part of legislators as they passed this into law. Did they somehow think that opponents would not parse the language carefully? After all, it wasn’t just people on the Left who objected to the vague notion of “lawful contact” in this passage. Plenty of people on the Right also expressed concern about the potential for police to assume expansive powers to stop and question people with no probable cause other than assumptions about immigration status. Even some of the police in Arizona objected to it.
The Arizona legislature could have saved everyone the trouble by defining the parameters from the beginning. Governor Jan Brewer more or less had the same criticism, signing the bill but issuing an executive order to clear up the ambiguity by establishing rules for “lawful contact” simultaneous to the bill signing. The change now makes plain the intent to have Arizona law enforcement check residency status while enforcing the other laws of the state, a common-sense approach that other states should also adopt — since the federal government stubbornly refuses to enforce their own existing laws.
The new clarifications are welcome indeed, and should defuse the controversy that threatened to distract the GOP from the larger issues of economic crisis and government encroachment. But just as with the surprises that we keep finding in the ObamaCare bill, the entire problem could have been avoided had the legislature paid more attention to the details before voting it into law.