I'm geographically close, however. I have lived in Southern California for all but 13 years of my life now extending into its seventh decade. My life's experience is growing up in a strong Mexican environment in San Juan Capistrano, married a Latina and have a beautiful daughter-in-law who is third generation Latina.
I have witnessed from all angles the brewing controversy in California now reaching feverish pitch in Arizona. Another chapter of my life's impressions comes from a decade covering police and sheriff departments as a newspaper reporter in Santa Ana and San Diego, both with strong, vibrant Latino communities.
These experiences makes me dreadfully fearful of the abuse that could be inflicted by cops enforcing the new law in Arizona.
The first is obvious and highly promoted by progressives and immigration reform advocates. That is, the cops stopping my daughter-in-law, as an example, because she looks like who she is, an ethnic Mexican woman. The likely prospects of that happening is 0-100, totally preposterous drivel. Cops aren't that stupid.
But cops are people and they make bad judgment calls sometimes and here's where.
Cops are judged by their superiors on performance ratings which include the number of arrests. Cops learn from valuable tools such as profiling so they don't waste their time looking for a white guy when witnesses of a crime describe the perp as a black man.
Put the two together in Arizona and what you have is this scenario:
A patrolman seeking promotion is reamed out by his sergeant for lagging behind his squad in arrests. No problem, the patrolman figures. So he drives to a barrio, looks over the cast of suspects and correctly picks one poor soul and asks for his papers. Presto! Off to the federal poky he goes. Do that just enough times not to appear too obvious and his arrest rate leaps towards the top of the squad.
Gov. Jan Brewer at the signing ceremony Friday announced the Legislature is spending $200,000 to train law enforcement officers in the state how to enforce the new law in 90 days without racial profiling and violating probable cause and racial discrimination guidelines.
Good luck with that, Guv. It's oxymoron legal gobbledegook.
Since I have followed Rep.Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) since his days as a surfer, mayor of Imperial Beach and San Diego County Supervisor, it comes as no surprise to me how easy it is to identify an illegal immigrant along our southern border.
On a cable news show, Bilbray insisted you can identify an illegal immigrant as unkempt, the clothes and shoes he/she wears.
And then to prove his objectivity, the geographically-challenged Bilbray acknowledged the secure border fence constructed between San Ysidro and Tijuana did push the illegal entry passages farther West into Arizona.
My reactions was sending them clear passage into the Pacific Ocean offers new meaning to the old term "wetback."
Here is where it is difficult for anyone outside of Arizona casting aspersions on those who blame the estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants as the root of crimes exhausting law enforcement resources, schools and public welfare services.
The cause celebre is rancher Richard Krentz found murdered on his property. It would be presumptuous on my part to argue he was killed by human (coyote) smugglers or drug runners rather than migrants from the interior of Mexico looking for work.
I also find it curious that lacking in the argument in favor of the new law is the illegals are taking away jobs from U.S. citizens. Certainly, the good residents of Arizona are hiring the illegals either settling or in transit to other parts of the country looking for work. This is a two-edged sword, it seems to me.
The new law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. It also toughens restrictions on hiring illegal immigrants for day labor and knowingly transporting them.
I will reprint a paragraph of an earlier column I wrote last week about the percentage of illegal immigrants arrested in the U.S.
An analysis by the nonpartisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that the proportion of criminal immigrants in detention rose from 27% in 2009 to 43% in 2010. However, that statistic reflects only a "relatively small number" of people guilty of serious offenses like armed robbery, drug smuggling and human trafficking, the report said. Most are guilty of minor offenses such as traffic violations or disorderly conduct. Immigration violations such as illegal entry into the United States are also included.
Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer