Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University Shreveport. If you're an elected official, political operative or anyone else upset at his views, don't go bothering LSUS or LSU System officials about that because these are his own views solely.
This publishes Sunday through Thursday with the exception of 7 holidays. Also check out his Louisiana Legislature Log especially during legislative sessions (in "Louisiana Politics Blog Roll" below).
Even as the left’s victimization industry creates another rationale for its existence with its latest cause célèbre, what was Arizona’s S.B. 1070 that specifies how the state’s law enforcement officials may inquire as to the status of a person’s citizenship status, Louisiana has had a very similar law that has generated zero controversy and may add another.
In 2002, the state enacted today’s R.S. 14:100.13. Like the Arizona law, it applies only to non-citizens. Like the Arizona law, production of a legal driver’s license means the law does not apply to the person involved. Unlike the Arizona law, production of a “green card” alone will not prevent the law from being evoked, because it involves the driver only whereas the Arizona law can apply to all passengers. Unlike the Arizona law, “profiling” is not expressly prohibited. Unlike the Arizona law, it is not a secondary offense, in that the law does not expressly tie its enforcement to a legal traffic stop by authorities.
In fact, except for that it applies only to the operation of a motor vehicle and thereby excludes passengers, Louisiana’s law can be considered more far-reaching than Arizona’s. It carries more similarities with the federal law (8USC1304(e)) which adopts no standard for such enforcement, not even the standard of reasonable suspicion, and requires no lawful stop precedent to such inquiry.
So why the fuss now and not any directed at Louisiana when its law hit the books eight years ago? Because then was only months after 9/11/2001 when liberalism’s view of unrestricted immigration as a device to make America atone for its various “sins” and to help reshape it into the left’s warped image decidedly was out of vogue. Then, the law was seen as a safeguard against terrorism. Now, as the deficiencies of the left’s ideology become more apparent each day with a chief practitioner of it and willing allies sitting in Washington trying to remake the country into that image, the issue has become a political tool to try to forestall collapse of liberalism’s political power, and Arizona’s recent action provided the perfect excuse to try to exploit.
Louisiana also, not being on the southern border, does not experience nearly the problem of illegal immigration as do the frontline states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. While the numbers of illegal aliens seem to be growing in the state, it never had been a big issue, not even after the hurricane disasters of 2005 where it appeared that a number of illegal aliens came to the state as labor for rebuilding.
In fact, only one bill this session directly addresses the issue. HB 1205 by state Rep. Joe Harrison would mandate each Louisiana agency and each of its political subdivisions to verify the lawful presence in the United States of any natural person fourteen years of age or older who has applied for state or local public benefits. The remainder of the bill, and one other, addresses those who employ, transport etc. knowingly illegal aliens. It would not increase costs, but was heard in committee May 13 and languishes.
One might have hoped the Arizona matter would have brought increased awareness of the desirability of this bill, but there has been a small amount of false demagoguery about it as well. It adds no significant burden to government or the private sector, does not infringe on constitutional rights, and assists in enforcing the law. Passing it into statute makes all the sense in the world.