Liberty and freedom are not the same thing

In the May 12 edition of The Courier-Herald, Brian Beckley made an argument opposing the Arizona immigration law. It became clear, as I read his column, that though he may have been writing from his heart, his mind missed many facts pertinent to the issue.

Beckley should check his history before he writes. The Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Freedom is not mentioned at all. Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death” and even Abraham Lincoln referred to this nation as being “conceived in liberty.” Ellis Island harbors the Statue of Liberty.

Liberty comes with direction and constraint. It is active and responsible. The type of “freedom” that Beckley advocates is in favor of open borders, no constraints. These nearly open borders are what drove Arizona to implement its recent immigration law. Do we want everyone to have access to our country as Beckley proposes? Do we want murders, criminals, thieves, drug dealers, terrorists and other similar types to have access to our cities, properties, families and our children? Their needs to be some reasonable constraint and process for immigration.

Beckley claims he has read the Arizona law. He claims it is racist, but offers no evidence of his observation. In fact, the law absolutely prohibits any type of racial profiling, or detention on the basis of race or ethnicity, among others. He also implicates our police force in his racism comments by stating that they would assume “probable cause” to include “brown skin” or “a thick accent.” Beckley is quick to reference the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution but not too quick to mention the 4th Amendment which refers to “probable cause.” All police officers know that probable cause is “a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime.” Being Hispanic is not a crime. I am confident in the professionalism of our police force and in the checks inherent in the system, that they are able to distinguish the difference and that caution will rule the day.

And as for everyone being treated equal, that has never been an American concept. People are born with equal, and unalienable, rights. That is true. But I can assure you that, should I show up to play for the Seattle Seahawks, I would not be treated as an equal with Matt Hasselbeck.

A recent poll showed that 73 percent of Americans approve of the Arizona law (Pew Research), and 57 percent of respondents to The Courier-Herald’s question two weeks ago felt that Washington should have a similar law. Yes, we need serious immigration reform, but not open borders. Make it easier for those responsible individuals who want to work here, either permanently or seasonally, to be able to do that, without becoming criminals. We need to keep those who would take advantage of our system, either through crime or irresponsibility, out of our country.

And because I support the Arizona law does not make me a racist, as many liberals would like to believe. My wife and half my family are Hispanic. The church I attend is a Spanish church. These are good people and good friends, and I will always defend their rights and their persons.

Dave Marks


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