Friday, February 18, 2011

Meanness Central

Driven by a Republican obsession to detain, arrest and deport illegal immigrants, Arizona state legislators are proposing a new tool in their strategy that could make that state Meanness Central.

Senate Bill 1405 would require Arizona hospitals to confirm that people seeking non-emergency medical care are U.S. citizens or in the country legally. If patients were found to be illegal residents, hospitals would be required to report them to federal authorities. Hospitals that refused could be fined.

Hospital admissions desks would be turned into immigration enforcement operations, not that much different from border crossings where federal agents check citizenship status.

For the moment, the bill has been yanked from the Senate calendar for lack of support. Perhaps even some lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Arizona Legislature are too embarrassed to endorse this new act of cruelty and vengeance.

This doesn't sit well with Senate President Russell Pearce, who is frantic about Arizona stepping up anti-illegal immigrant activities by using police-state methods, rather than sensible reforms.

Physicians whose Hippocratic oath imposes high standards of ethical behavior correctly are incensed that coarse political methods would be imposed on their practices. In the centuries-old Greek oath, one phrase—"keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing"—underscores the antithetical nature of the proposed law.

What is so repugnant about Arizona's series of laws aimed at brown-skinned residents, illegal and otherwise, is they seem spawned by the same hateful mindlessness that at some time in the nation's history was aimed at Jews, Japanese, Chinese, gays and blacks, and usually by white, devoutly religious people claiming the tenets of brotherhood.

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