Praise for Arizona’s SB 1070

I’m getting on the road for today’s “Phoenix Rising” rally in Phoenix. Check here for information: “Phoenix Rising Rally at Arizona State Capitol.” I should have a full photo-report tomorrow morning and will update here.

Also, at LAT (FWIW):


Tina McClendon was finally surrounded by her own people.

The 39-year-old postal worker stood in a minor league baseball stadium here last week with thousands of others who backed Arizona’s new immigration law.

McClendon sported a T-shirt that read “Arizona: Doing the Job the Feds Won’t Do!” It’s one of four similarly-themed shirts she wears regularly. Her sartorial choices earn her frequent compliments from strangers – not a surprise, as polls consistently show large majorities backing the state’s crackdown against illegal immigration.

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But McClendon says she also gets dirty looks from Latino neighbors and believes her stance has led people to leave trash on her car. “So many legal citizens are scared to come out,” she said. “They’re afraid to speak up.”

Earlier that day, tens of thousands of protesters denouncing the law filled the streets of Phoenix. But the rally McClendon attended couldn’t even fill the 9,873-seat stadium. It’s a dynamic that’s persisted ever since April, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law.

The onslaught of criticism through boycotts, protests and lawsuits has frustrated many of the law’s backers, who contend its broad support in polls – ranging from 51% to 70% depending on how the statute is described and who is surveyed – shows it is the people’s will

The law makes it a state crime to lack immigration papers and requires police to determine the status of people they stop and also suspect are in the country illegally.

Backers of the law hope a rally planned for Saturday in Phoenix will draw foes of illegal immigration from around the country. Another Phoenix rally is scheduled for June 12.

“Mass public displays are a good way of sending a message to Washington, D.C.,” said Daniel Smeriglio, a Pennsylvania activist who organized Saturday’s rally. “The other side is trying to send their message out the same way we are.”

Despite fewer events and lower turnout from the law’s backers, it appears that their message is being heard more loudly nationwide than that of SB 1070’s foes, who support reform that allows illegal immigrants who obey the law to become legal residents.

Comprehensive immigration reform stalled in 2006 despite support from both political parties. Its onetime prime advocate, Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, who is being challenged in the Republican primary, has now taken a hard-line stance and disavowed his prior bill.

Democrats in the Senate last month outlined a possible immigration bill that is significantly more restrictive than what was proposed in 2006, and most observers agree it’s unlikely to pass this year.

Immigrant rights advocates, such as Shuya Ohno of the Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C., can cite polls showing strong support for their critique of the law. Many of the polls that show as much as 70% support of SB 1070 also show that majorities of Americans believe it will cause racial profiling – a contention of immigrant groups. Other polls show even greater margins support allowing law-abiding illegal immigrants to become citizens.

“People are just fed up and frustrated and they want something done,” Ohno said. “The idea that people who are for the bill are against immigrants is just wrong.”

First, don’t believe LAT‘s fudging of the polling numbers. Americans don’t support “immigration reform” when they understand it to to be open borders, amnesty and reconquista. And second, don’t forget that Senator John McCain has flip-flopped on the issue. If amnesty was so popular he’d still be leading the charge for “earned legalization.” But Los Angeles has the largest urban population of Mexicans anywhere outside of Mexico City, so LAT‘s not going to alienate the homies.

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