Attorney General Eric Holder recently said the following about supporters of Alabama’s immigration law:
“[They] are willing to turn their backs on our immigrant past … We are not going to let that happen in the United States of America”.
Among other things, the law requires police to verify the legal status of a person if there is good reason to suspect that they are here illegally; requires schools to determine the immigration status of students; and requires immigrants to carry documents verifying their status .
All of these things are done in the name of making it easier to identify which immigrants are here illegally, and to prevent them from receiving the same treatment reserved for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.
So, Holder is engaging in name-calling when he says that supporters of this law are somehow opponents of immigration. They are opponents of illegal immigration, yes, but it’s a derisive caricature to distort that into an opposition to all immigration. Nothing in the law makes it a punishable offense to be a legal immigrant.
Punishing people who practice medicine without a license isn’t anti-doctor. Punishing people who drive without a license isn’t anti-transportation. Demanding that prospective teachers pass a criminal background check isn’t anti-education. And arresting people who break gun control laws isn’t anti-gun.
Likewise, it’s not anti-immigrant to demand that people who come to this country arrive through a recognized port of entry (like an airport) and show a valid passport and/or visa so that we can determine who they are and whether they are a safety risk. Punishing people who come here illegally is not anti-immigrant, nor is it “turning our back” on the fact that we’re a nation of immigrants.
Maybe Alabama’s immigration law is a bad idea, but it’s not anti-immigrant. Holder is demonizing those who want to stop illegal immigration.