Legendary rock guitarist Carlos Santana thought it was appropriate to lecture a ballpark full of Atlantans when he was honored with a “Beacon of Change” award at Sunday’s MLB Civil Rights Game at Turner Field. Pronouncing Georgia’s new immigration law just signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal “anti-American,” the Mexican-born Carlos Santana said,“I represent the human race. The people of Arizona, the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Later, he told reporters , “This is about fear, that people are going to steal my job. No we ain’t. You don’t clean toilets and clean sheets, stop shucking and jiving.”
Santana is entitled to express his opinion; he is even entitled to express stupid and ignorant opinions. But when he uses his fame, name recognition and a forum given to him as an honor to express a stupid, ignorant and irresponsible opinion, that is intolerable.
It is true that cynical politicians and feckless journalists have been working overtime to create the public perception that the United States of America has no right to police its borders, that people who come here in flagrant disregard for our laws are virtuous, admirable, and have a right to all the benefits of citizenship, and that the view that laws are meant to be enforced and that illegal immigration should be discouraged by the government is not only quaint but racist. Their vile work notwithstanding, objections to illegal immigration are not “anti-American,” and it protecting illegal immigrants isn’t right.
Laws, as I have stated here many times, should be enforced to the best of the government’s ability or repealed. The absurd position taken by Santana and his friends that it is fine for the United States to have immigration laws as long as it doesn’t seriously try to enforce them, is one of those bizarre epidemics of insane ideas that periodically threaten a culture, like Holland deciding that tulips were as valuable as gold, or a whole generation in the Sixties deciding that being stoned all day and having sex with everyone you met was a reasonable and productive way to go through life.
Georgia has passed a law that–the Horror!—actually dictates harsh penalties for willfully violating immigration laws. HB 87…
- Creates a new criminal offense of aggravated identity fraud for anyone willfully using fraudulent documents to get a job. A person under 21 would be punished by 1-3 years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000. Those 21 and up would face minimally 1-10 years in jail and/or a fine up to $100,000.
- Empowers any peace officer with probable cause to believe a person has committed a criminal offense, including a traffic offense, to investigate their immigration status if they cannot produce valid identification and detain them if they are found to be in the country illegally. • States that a person’s race, color or country of origin is not to be a determinant in investigating their immigration status.
- States that a person who contacts the police to report a crime, as a witness to a crime or victim of a crime will not have their status investigated.
- Requires that when anyone is held in county or municipal jail for any reason, an effort is made to verify that they are in the country legally and if they are not in the country legally, immigration authorities will be notified and they will be subject to detention.
- Creates a new criminal offense: transporting or moving an illegal alien.
- Creates a new criminal offense: knowingly and intentionally inducing an illegal alien to enter Georgia. Penalties range from less than 1 year in jail and/or a fine to 1-5 years in jail and/or a fine.
- Creates a new criminal offense: concealing or harboring an illegal alien. Harboring is defined to mean anything that substantially helps an illegal alien to remain in the United States. Exceptions are: helping infants, children, a crime victim, in a medical emergency, or attorney-client representation. Penalties mirror those for transporting an illegal alien.
- Requires any private employer with 5 or more employees to use the federal E-Verify program to determine that any newly hired employee is in the country legally. This will be effective July 2012 for employers of 100 or more and Dec. 31, 2012 for employers of 5 or more. In order to receive a business license or renew a license, businesses will have to show they are registered with E-Verify. Violation of this will be a criminal offense.
- Requires anyone applying to receive a public benefit to show via a secure and verifiable document that they are a legal resident and to swear and sign an affidavit to that effect. By Aug. 1, 2011 the state attorney general website will have to provide a list of what are secure and verifiable identification documents. As of January 2012, no public agency can accept anything other than this type of document. Exceptions are provided for those providing emergency medical services, for those giving service to infants, children and victims of crimes, for a person reporting a crime or for those helping people to obtain a temporary protective order.
- Authorizes any legal resident 21 and older to file a civil action against any official or agency to require enforcement of provisions of this law.
- Authorizes the state attorney general to bring a civil action against any political entity in the state deemed not to be enforcing the code section.
- States that no local body, including counties, municipalities, school districts, commissions or others, can adopt a sanctuary policy that would restrict local employees from cooperating with federal or other law enforcement officers on immigration status information while the local employee is performing official duties.
In other words, the Georgia law makes illegal immigration illegal. It does not permit citizens to help non-citizens violate the law. It proscribes tough penalties for breaking the law. If we want to debate whether the penalties are too harsh, fine…they obviously have to be tough than current laws, since Georgia has almost a half-million illegals within its borders already.
Is there anything racist about the law, as Santana contends? Only if one agrees to play the disingenuous victim fantasy game: if you enforce a law that is overwhelmingly violated by a class of people, and that means your purpose must be to harm that class of people out of hate and bigotry. That is a lie, of course. The government enforces the law, and it is the duty of all classes and categories and groups of people to obey the law. The only class of people targeted by law enforcement is the group known as “law-breakers.”
Is there anything anti-American about the law? Only to the anti-American advocates who argue that open borders are in the nation’s best interest, rather than the best interest of the impoverished citizens of corrupt governments and the officials who make the U.S. such an inviting oasis by their own wretched policies.
The consequences of the government’s abdication of its obligation to enforce legal immigration and discourage illegal immigration are already devastating, and if Santana has his way, will only get worse. His message at Turner Field, intentionally or not, was pure disinformation, and thus reckless and irresponsible. Americans should no more listen respectfully to statements about the cruelty of enforcing immigration laws than they should applaud speakers who solemnly announce that the world is flat or that Barack Obama is an agent of Islam.