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McCain vs McCain. Daughter Meghan against Sen. John McCain, calling AZ anti-illegal immigration law "license to discriminate"

By WcP.Observer - Posted on 29 April 2010

Meghan McCain comes out against controversial Arizona anti-illegal immigration law which her father Sen. John McCain defends
Meghan McCain has come out against the controversial Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, despite her father's - Sen. John McCain - clear defense of it.

demonstrator against new Arizona anti-illegal-immigration law, 2010
A demonstrator is taken into custody for blocking a street at a federal detention center in Broadview, Ill., to stop deportations from being carried out. Some protesters chanted “Illinois is not Arizona”.


It's McCain vs. McCain. Meghan McCain criticizes Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant law, as dad Sen. John McCain defends it. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) makes the rounds on television, standing up for the Arizona immigration law that has sparked protests and outrage nationwide, his daughter calls it "a license to discriminate." "Let me say up-front that I do not support the bill that was signed by Governor Jan Brewer," Meghan McCain wrote in her Daily Beast blog on Wednesday. "I believe it gives the state police a license to discriminate, and also, in many ways, violates the civil rights of Arizona residents."

Sen. McCain, however, feels the law will not become corrupted, as his daughter fears. "I do not want any discriminatory behavior, and I've talked to a group of lawmen," the senior senator from Arizona said on CBS' "The Early Show" Tuesday. "They think they can implement this law without racial profiling."

However, the younger McCain - who was born and raised in Arizona, but now lives in New York City - feels the approach taken by the controversial Arizona law is not the answer. "The concept that a law-enforcement official can stop an individual when 'reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an alien, who is unlawfully present in the United States' is essentially a license to pull someone over for being Hispanic," McCain wrote.

According to the Arizona immigration law, 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. If someone is found to be in the State of Arizona illegally, they would be turned over to federal immigration officers.

The Los Angeles Times: White House considers a legal challenge, and some political leaders call for an economic boycott to protest the law that makes it a crime to be in Arizona illegally. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who himself called for companies not to plan conventions in the state, said in an interview Tuesday that he expected the state to see declines in business and leisure travel, the trucking industry and retail shoppers from Mexico. "There are political, legal and economic consequences that are going to hit the state," said Grijalva, who has received death threats since speaking out against the law. "The disgust goes across state lines."

Pressure continued to mount Tuesday against Arizona's tough new immigration law, with the Obama administration considering a legal challenge and political leaders calling for economic boycotts. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she had "deep concerns" with the law and said it could siphon resources needed to target criminals. U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said he was considering "the possibility of a court challenge."

"I think that that law is an unfortunate one," Holder said. "It is, I fear, subject to potential abuse. And I'm very concerned about the wedge that it could draw between communities that law enforcement is supposed to serve and those of us in law enforcement."

The law makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork. The legislation also bars people from soliciting work or hiring day laborers off the street.

Critics said the law will result in racial profiling and discrimination. Calls for boycotts spread throughout California this week after the bill was signed by Brewer on Friday. The law is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends this week.

On Tuesday (Arpil 27), seven members of the Los Angeles City Council signed a proposal for a boycott, calling for the city to "refrain from conducting business" or participating in conventions in Arizona. Councilman Ed Reyes, who coauthored the proposal with Councilwoman Janice Hahn, said he wants city officials to spend the next 90 days assessing the financial relationships that exist between various city departments and businesses based in Arizona. "If Arizona companies are taking our money, I want to sever that," he said.

Hahn acknowledged that a boycott would be logistically complicated but said the city should not remain silent. "When people are asked to show their papers, it brings back memories of Nazi Germany," she said. A spokesman for City Controller Wendy Greuel identified at least 12 city contracts with Arizona companies that are worth an estimated $7.2 million.

San Francisco supervisors introduced a similar resolution Tuesday, and Mayor Gavin Newsom imposed an immediate moratorium on city-related travel to Arizona, with limited exceptions. Newsom also announced the convening of a group to analyze how a boycott would affect city contracts and purchasing.

City Atty. Dennis Herrera said he hoped the city's resolution would "be an impetus to others taking an aggressive stand in terms of scrutinizing the services they have with Arizona companies."

The leader of the California Senate, Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), called the law a "disgrace" and said the state also should consider a boycott. He sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking for an inventory of Arizona businesses and government agencies with which California does business.

"The Arizona law is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional, and the state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy," Steinberg wrote.

Already, several organizations have canceled planned conventions in Arizona. The American Immigration Lawyers Assn. announced that it is moving its fall convention, originally scheduled for Scottsdale in September.

"We just felt that given this new law signed by the governor that it would not be right for our association to meet and convene there and take on the issues of immigration in a state that passed such a misguided bill," said George Tzamaras, spokesman for the group.

Arizona was already reeling from a decline in tourism because of the recession, and the fallout from the law has taken hotel owners by surprise, said Debbie Johnson, president of the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Assn.

"Obviously our members are concerned," Johnson said. "I thought there would be political issues. It has become so tourism-focused and that, to me, is the unfortunate side." Johnson said 200,000 people, many of them Latinos and legal immigrants, depend on a paycheck from the tourism industry. "They don't want to lose their jobs," she said.

AZ Gov. Brewer said at a meeting in Tucson on Monday that she wasn't worried about possible boycotts. "I believe it's not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might," she said. But Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who himself called for companies not to plan conventions in the state, said in an interview Tuesday that he expected the state to see declines in business and leisure travel, the trucking industry and retail shoppers from Mexico.

"There are political, legal and economic consequences that are going to hit the state," said Grijalva, who has received death threats since speaking out against the law. "The disgust goes across state lines."

The concern about the law crossed international borders, with a travel warning posted by the Mexican government Tuesday. The post, on the Mexican Foreign Relations Ministry website, urged Mexican citizens to be careful in Arizona and to expect harassment and questioning.

Arizona immigration law: painful lessons from Oklahoma. Arizona may soon regret its new immigration law. Oklahoma passed a similar law in 2007 that deeply hurt its people and economy.

In late 2007, Oklahoma legislators enacted what was then the nation’s toughest anti-immigrant law. Mere months later, state Sen. Harry Coates – the only Republican legislator to vote against the measure – said, “You really have to work hard at it to destroy our state’s economy, but we found a way. We ran off the workforce.”

Perhaps the only upside of Arizona’s new, even harsher anti-immigrant legislation is for Oklahoma, where immigrants and citizens may flee as Arizona’s economy crumbles in the aftermath of its hateful legislative action.

Oklahoma HB 1804, passed in November 2007, cut off undocumented immigrants from state services and made it a crime for anyone, including citizens, to provide transport or assistance to undocumented immigrants.

One study suggests the bill led to an estimated 50,000 people fleeing Oklahoma and a 1.3 percent drop in economic output statewide. As a result, Oklahoma may well have incurred $1.8 billion in economic losses, just as it, like the rest of the nation, was bracing for recession.

That’s a steep price to pay for what even some proponents of the law have acknowledged is a rarely enforced, mostly symbolic measure that has the primary impact of creating a “culture of fear” for the state’s Latino community, both legal and nonlegal residents, causing not only economic harm but psychological pain as well.

It is this culture of fear that connects Oklahoma and Arizona. Both are states littered with crumbling farms and factories and aging populations who feel that any prospect of prosperity is passing them by.

But instead of building a 21st century global economy that works for everyone, Oklahoma and Arizona imagine that kicking out new immigrants will somehow turn the clock back 30 or 40 years, to some heyday that never really existed but, more to the point, could never exist again in our current context.

Immigrants who are stimulating our economy now come from Mexico and the Philippines, not Germany and Poland. Our greatest economic prospects lie in information technology, not corn or manufacturing. Exurbs and urban renewal lure young people to the coasts more than ever. But the reality is, that is nothing new.

Forty years ago, folks in Arizona and Oklahoma were complaining that the immigrants weren’t Irish or Scandinavian, and Tucson and Oklahoma City were luring kids from the countryside. Change is unavoidable. What we can avoid is reacting with irrational fear and scapegoating and hate.

Arizona’s new law will undoubtedly cause even greater economic losses in that state, given that it’s not only harsher, but Arizona has a larger immigrant population and the law is receiving greater national scrutiny. Kristen Jarnagin, spokesperson for the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association, noted that the state’s significant tourism industry “is certain to experience the unintended consequences of the economic backlash” from the passage of the new law, SB 1070. Already, immigrant rights groups and allies are calling for boycotts of the state.

In 2008, Arizona tourism brought $18.5 billion in revenues into the state. Even a slight dent in that income will be deleterious.

Arizonans are understandably focused on the need for immigration reform. The state is the main port of entry for new immigrants and, as in all states, the recession is putting financial limits on already-strained public services.

Arizona is stepping in to fill the gap left by the failure of Congress to pass workable immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship and moves us all forward together.

Extremist and hateful as Arizona’s law is, it may unfortunately be just the beginning of reactionary state lawmaking if Congress continues to stall.

The negative lessons that Oklahoma has learned, and which Arizona is about to learn, may not be enough to counter fanatical frustration in the face of federal inaction.

If you read the comments on local news websites and blogs where some angry and vocal native Arizonans express support for SB 1070, the professed need for self-defense often overshadows common human decency.

“If someone breaks in to your home, you have every right to shoot them dead,” wrote one poster on the Tucson Fox News affiliate’s website. “The USA is our home, why don’t we have the same right? Sounds extreme, but nothing seems to be working.”

But other than being downright hateful and inhuman, Oklahoma already learned the real impact of this attitude: You only end up shooting yourself in the foot.

Republicans hit Arizona immigration law. Much of the criticism is coming from associates of former President George W. Bush

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio said in a statement Tuesday that he fears the law puts the Arizona’s police force in an “incredibly difficult position.”

“It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens,” Rubio said. “Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.”

Rubio criticism was quickly followed up by a fellow Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush. In an interview with POLITICO, Bush said the law is not “the proper approach.”

“I think it creates unintended consequences,” he said. “It's difficult for me to imagine how you're going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well.”

Much of the criticism is coming from associates of former President George W. Bush. “I wished they hadn’t passed it,” Bush strategist Karl Rove told a crowd of 500 at a senior community center in Florida. “I think there is going to be some constitutional problems with the bill….At the end of the day,” he said, “I think there are better tools.”

Conservative Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter, called the law “dreadful” on Wednesday in his piece for the Post. “This law creates a suspect class, based in part on ethnicity, considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent,” Gerson wrote. “It makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live without scrutiny — but it also makes it harder for some American citizens to live without suspicion and humiliation.”

“Americans are not accustomed to the command ‘Your papers, please,’ however politely delivered,” he continued. “The distinctly American response to such a request would be ‘Go to hell,’ and then ‘See you in court.’”


Photos courtesy of Wargo / Getty / York / AP and Getty Images / Scott Olson

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