This week there has been quite a hullabaloo in Arizona over the state’s new law to combat illegal immigration. (Murders and kidnappings have a way of doing this.)
While the law is not perfect, the people of Arizona have said they want to protect their borders, and they’ve been forced to take matters into their own hands because the federal government has failed in its fundamental duty to do so. (By the way, Arizonans overwhelmingly support legal immigration via green cards, working papers, etc.)
Last week there were over 100,000 citizens protesting this new law, and while they have a right to be angry (the law, by the way, is still supported by the majority of people in the state and in the country at large), this anger is largely misdirected.
Can you feel a short story coming? (I hate to disappoint!)
In 1978 I went to school in Ireland and got to Dublin via a cheap, indirect flight that took me to London. As I went through immigration at Heathrow, I was detained; I was taken to a back room and interrogated. I did become angry as the authorities continued to question me, but my wrath was not directed at the British administrators.
They were, after all, just doing their jobs, and as a first generation Irish-American with relatives in Northern Ireland, I fit their profile of concern. No, my anger was directed at my knuckleheaded Irish cousins who had been using violence for political reasons.It was the IRA’s illegal activity that prompted a response – and perhaps even an over reaction — on the part of the authorities.
I wonder if some of Arizona’s citizens today feel the same way I did, thirty years ago, as I sat fuming in a Heathrow holding cell?