Last week, a federal judge ruled that portions of Arizona's border security measure – S.B. 1070 – were unconstitutional, giving Fox News and others license to criticize the free pass some say it will give to the thousands of illegal immigrants currently passing through or living in Arizona.
The measure, until recently, would allow police to ask for proof of citizenship from those it would stop for other reasons. In other words, S.B. 1070 can be described as "Ask! Tell!"
The measure has local tensions running high. Things are so bad at the border that musician Wyclef Jean has announced plans to run for President of Arizona.
S.B. 1070, signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer earlier this year, isn't a bad idea. At least Arizona is trying to deal with a problem the federal government seems unable – or unwilling – to focus on. Despite its shortcomings, S.B. 1070 is better than what many other states have done. For example, all Texas has done is prohibit Santana from renting cars at Alamo.
With this initiative, Brewer has become nothing short of America's little Dutch boy, with her gubernatorial finger in the dike struggling to hold back a flood of illegal border crossers.
Let me be very clear – I do not hate illegal immigrants, and I'm betting you don't either. No illegal immigrant has ever tried to get you to believe "refudiate" is a word. I don't want to knock Sarah Palin but when she got her fancy job on TV, she announced plans to deport "Dora the Explora." Not even Paul the Psychic Soccer Predicting Octopus saw that coming. I secretly hope instead she would try to deport Comedy Central's "The Mind of Mencia."
Given the current state of the U.S. economy, I'm surprised Mexico hasn't tried to tighten its borders to keep all the unemployed Americans out. I think we can turn the recession around pretty easily – all we need are more Cash Cabs and easier questions.
Illegal immigration remains a problem. It seems odd that we can come up with 22,000 miles of boom to protect 3,000 miles of beach from tarballs but we can't protect our largest border – which is less than 2,000 miles long – from people who are much bigger than tarballs. Former BP CEO Tony Hayward has his life back – let's put him to work.
Frankly, Americans should be flattered that so many are so willing to risk everything just to try to get into our country. Running from cops, across hundreds of miles of empty, open desert, cannot be easy. These are the tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free that Emma Lazarus wrote about on the base of the Statue of Liberty more than a century ago. The struggle of all immigrants, legal and illegal alike, is a reminder that ours is the greatest nation on Earth. You never hear about people risking everything to illegally cross the border into Norway or Finland – which is interesting, considering the border around Finland is technically the "Finnish" line.
The U.S. has been undeniably enriched by our neighbors to the south –- but good fences make good neighbors. No one likes waking up only to find their neighbors have moved in with them. Also, both nations share a debt to the Mayans. After all, the Mayans gave rise to a large part of the Mexican culture and population, and the Mayans' ancient prophecy about the world ending in 2012 is the only thing that will save America from its $13 trillion national debt.
Illegal immigration is a problem, and that's what S.B. 1070 attempts to address. Between you and me, I've always thought the problem was a simple one with fairly simple solutions. For one thing, let's continue our effort to build a wall. Maybe the resources aren't there to build a complete wall … maybe it won't be our finest wall… but we could fill in the incomplete segments with cast-offs from NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
Perhaps the best solution is the simplest – let's dress our border patrol agents like Canadian Mounties. That way, border crossers will think they've gone too far north and will turn around and head south.
It's an idea even a federal judge could support.
Doug Hecox is a comedian and professional writer in Washington, D.C.