Arizona, USA and Illegal Immigrants

Arizona’s law against illegal immigrants is probably more of an expression of frustration than a law than can be comprehensively enforced. There has been nationwide condemnation of the law, but at the very least, it has put focus back on the pressing issue of illegal immigration.

Part of the outcry against the law is that it will lead to racial profiling. But the racial profiling, in this case, is mostly due to the “accidental” circumstances; after all, practically all the illegal immigrants come from south of the Arizona border with Mexico. Profiling is inevitable, whether there is racial bias or not.

Arizona’s frustration is understandable, even if one regards the law as extreme. US policy on illegal immigration is presently ineffective, and in many ways ambiguous. After making allowance for refugee and guest workers status (however the exceptions may be determined), it is absolutely imperative that the United States adopts a hard, consistent policy that the country sticks to – inflexibly! This would include no more amnesties, no way for an illegal immigrant to to legalize his status from within the United States, and in all cases, after due process, immediate deportation. Other countries do it. Why don’t we?

Take Australia, for example. Australia does have an advantage over the USA as regards immigration. The ocean forms a virtual moat around the country, but it still has its share of illegal immigrants, including a surprising number from the United States. Whenever the Department of Immigration identifies an illegal alien, after due process, that person is immediately flown out of the country back to his land of origin. There is no messing about as here with court hearings to see if he has bought a ticket, a situation that costs as much as a ticket and is nothing more than a waste of time.

If a child has the luck to be born in Australia and is therefore a citizen and the illegal parents are not, there is no way that the parents can stay. They are illegally in the country and have to be deported. They can leave the child or take him with them. (He will always have the citizenship in his back pocket, should he wish to return when he is older.)

The Department of Immigration discovered a Chinese family living a small town in conservative, rural Queensland. They were illegal immigrants and in due course, they ended up on a plane to Hong Kong, despite pleas from the residents of that town, for the family operated the town’s only Chinese restaurant. Since they were illegally in the country, there was no way that they could get their status changed to legal residency. The town’s people then followed the right procedure. They filled immigration applications, guarantees and sponsorship papers, and within a matter of months they were able to bring the family back to the town, now as legal immigrants. The town had a big barbecue for them and pretty soon, the Chinese restaurant was back in business.

Arizona’s move has signaled to the federal government that it is high time for real action. The government should look to other countries where there are immigration policies that work, some of the European countries and Australia for example, to help formulate a workable immigration policy.