Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great(?*) Piece on HB 2479, or "Arizona PA"

*-See comments.

by Scott Vine of Lancaster, published in the Post-Gazette. It merits a sizable selection:

Consider the possible effects of a law requiring police in Pennsylvania to check the legal status of anyone of whom they have "reasonable suspicion." Consider my son's baseball team, which is well-coached by a Latino and a Jewish American and whose players belong to families of various ethnic backgrounds. We come together weekly to enjoy the national pastime.

Imagine one Saturday the kids are playing and the police have a reason to be in the parking lot. Two officers approach and ask each parent who looks Hispanic for his or her papers (assuming the process would unfold like that in other countries and that the white and African-American parents would not be asked).

We watch this, as do the children. What does this teach them? When the police leave, what remains?

Go read the full piece. And here is a link to the website and to the report mentioned, and shown above. I feel like this proposal would do awful things for our regional and global economic competitiveness.


  1. I'm not a fan of the PA Bill, but Scott Vine went WAY overboard in his post. The reality is, the situation you described there can't happen just because HB 2479 is passed. There are so many reasons to hate that bill, I don't see why he had to invent one that isn't true, very polar opposite of fox news.

    I wrote on the article this afternoon in my blog.

  2. Burgher Jon -

    Just read your article. Thank you very much for the comment, and although FWIW I'm not sure the comparison was intended to be directly applied to the Italian law (which WAS mentioned above) so much as the Arizona law...

    "Imagine one Saturday the kids are playing and the police have a reason to be in the parking lot. Two officers approach and ask each parent who looks Hispanic for his or her papers"

    I read some other online sources that seem to confirm the PA law doesn't go so far as this. It only turns officers and other employees of the Commonwealth into border enforcement officials if they have SOME LEGITIMATE REASON to be interacting with them in the first place. This would make Vine's example rather poor (although one could imagine the police, in the parking lot, knowing they are empowered to act as border agents and perhaps desirous to, suddenly checking their ballfield permit.)

    I am reminded of one of Doug Shields' favorite quotes: "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."

    I haven't read the full pdf of the bill yet and either I or someone I trust will have to. Unless you've read the whole thing, Jon? Not picking on you just pulling a thread.

  3. Ha, it's a fair thread to pull. I haven't read the bill in its entirety, but its not my JOB to report on it. Vine missing or glossing over critical facts is unacceptable because people assume that a newspaper man will know all the facts on a bill, and will represent them honestly.

    I just wish both sides would constrain themselves to responsible representations of fact. There are more then enough legitimate issues to be debated here, we don't need to be sifting through the muck just to find them.

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  5. Another fact, I went and checked, the entire bill is 18 pages double-spaced. It's not like we're talking about the tax code here. I still don't intend to read it, but I would if someone was paying me to write about it.

  6. It was an op ed piece. Not sure what are the mores and folkways as far as the editing responsibilities for those.

    Looks to me like the law is a grab bag. A citizenship check kicks in when a suspicious individual applies for public aid, receives health care at an emergency room, goes to a soup kitchen or is detained or charged with a crime. Being an illegal alien while driving seems particularly bad. Citizens are empowered to report possible employment violations to the District Attorney. And all employers are required register with "e-verify".