Libertarian Critiques of AZ Immigration Law

Here are a few libertarian critiques of the Arizona immigration law.

Shikha Dalmia argues that Europe’s stringent immigration laws are no model for the U.S.

these countries are doing a far more effective job of controlling their citizens than their borders–exactly what will happen in the United States if the Arizona law is replicated or federalized. Indeed, given that the overwhelming majority of undocumented workers are here because some American employer or family member wants them to be, there is no way to clamp down on them without imposing a vast, repressive state on American citizens that criminalizes ever-increasing spheres of life. . . .

the claim that the bill doesn’t apply to citizens is disingenuous. Regardless of what the law says, dark-skinned, naturalized citizens with an accent (like me) will inevitably feel the pressure to carry their papers around at all times. That’s because if you can’t produce them on demand, under Arizona law, you would have to be detained while the local police verify your status with immigration authorities–which will put you on the road to Kafkaland, where your freedom could be held hostage by a typographical error. The upshot will be a dual class of citizens on American soil: Paper-carrying and non-paper-carrying.This is very similar to the situation in Italy, where the law does not require citizens to carry their identification papers–but if they don’t have them, they have to face the prospect of being detained and hassled while authorities conduct a background check.

The only way of making the Arizona law less discriminatory will be by making it more draconian by implementing a full-blown National Identification system that covers all Americans, as in France and Belgium . In France random ID checks by police, especially in poorer neighborhoods, are quite common. And in Belgium, on the threat of fines, everyone over the age of 15 is required by law to carry an identity card complete with an electronic chip full of personal information.

More from Roger Koppl here and Steven Chapman here and here.

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