Seth Meyers said it perfectly on NBC's Saturday Night Live last night:
"The last time I heard 'show me your papers' was in a WWII movie...and it was Adolph and his fascists. " Hilter's family, Meyers suggested, ought to get some kind of residual payment from the new Arizona immigration law.
The law itself is criminal and it will never survive constitutional scrutinty.
It can't possibly hold up.
Those who passed it had to know that.
So, it makes me wonder.
Just who supports this new law.
My husband and I lived in Arizona for nearly five years.
I gave birth to our first two children there.
Our time in the Wild West allowed me to make a few observations. Among them was the difference between those who honestly wanted to resolve the issue of illegal immigration, and those who wanted to keep the cheap labor flowing, but still look good politically.
The proposals from the first group involved such things as day visas and huge fences and tighter borders and more aid to Mexico and naturalization of those who had already illegally crossed into the United States. But these solutions pose a huge problem to second group.
You see, this second group relies on illegal immigrants for perfectly manicured lawns, clean houses, well-reared children, cotton harvesting, mining, truck loading, painting and all kind of tasks they decline to do themselves.
These people don't have to decide whether to hire a housekeeper or a lawn maintenance crew or a nanny. They can have it all because illegal immigrants will work for next to nothing, work as many hours as they can and never, ever talk back.
Most won't dare even ask for a glass of water.
But the folks in that second group can't come right out and argue that.
They can't say, "Keep the illegals coming and keep them oppressed. And don't give the legal Mexicans immigrants or the citizen Hispanics any power because they might want to protect their kind and wreck the whole thing for all of us."
They have to pretend to do something.
To protect their lifestyles and their reputations.
And this is it.
Under this new law, anyone who cannot prove citizenship will be arrested.
Do you think the cops will stop us white folks?
Of course not.
Maybe, but probably not.
The black population in Arizona is slim and poses no political threat.
And illegals tend to go where they have realtives or friends. They are no large populations of illegal Kenyans or Germans or Russians or Chinese in Arizona. What would bring them there? Why would a good cop stop a white guy or a black woman on suspicion of illegal status?
No, this law is clearly and openly geared toward Mexicans.
With this new law, the people of the second group can stand on their balconies and watch as the legal, illegal and citizen Hispanics who had the misfortune of taking their kids for a walk, running to the store or grabbing a bite to eat without their passports or naturalization papers or visas on hand are arrested and say, "Look. Look what we're doing. We're fighting illegal immigration."
And this is what they've done.
This is the reality:
They've made Arizona a threatening place to live for Hispanics who are legally living in the United States, reducing the chances that they will settle or remain settled in the state and, eventually, take political control.
They've given the appearance that they are tackling the problem of the immigration overflow when they know, full well, that nothing has changed on the border. Mexicans will continue to cross the border illegally at the same rate because it's still worth the risk.
Mexico is still dirt poor.
Mexican health care is still lousy.
Border security is no better.
The desire for a better life, for money to send back home, remains.
And so, most important, they've ensured that ...
their desert lawns will remain plush and green;
their tiled houses will remain dust-free;
their children will remain out of sight while they sip gin and tonics or glasses or merlot or marguaritas poolside under misters.
Nothing will change.
But they've forgotten one things.
This showing of papers didn't work for Hilter.
And we will win again.