An Arizona law on prosecuting illegal immigrants (read Mexican nationals for the most part, some freshly smuggled Chinese fresh off the boats too) goes live, everyone is on tender hooks. Most "illegals" have gone underground, most "legals" don't want the risk to wander around and be asked to prove their citizenship.
The way the right sees the free-market, it does not include any minorities in them. It is a place where the descendants of the original gringos from four hundred years ago, and another wave of their brethren in early twentieth century, get all the opportunity. Well, it is not the case today, so we want to wall off against those who are "taking away our jobs". Interestingly these are jobs no one wants to do, as it is menial, does not pay benefits and definitely not unionized. It does reduce the cost of labor and "ruins it for all the rest of us". It does keeps oranges priced reasonably, but then no one really cares about those things. "They don't pay taxes and they tax our health care system, and our education systems, where their US born kids go to school for free". Some of that is a very fair assertion, some simply fiction. United States is a great melting pot. But we have never really learned to live together, just learned to tolerate each other, as long as it doesn't effect my life or my family. Here comes the hard part where economy, ideology collide, when time are tough everyone wants to cut corners and reduce their dependence on labor. Our illegal immigrants work hard and are happy to take any job that is our there. And this is a better life than the life they left behind.
Interestingly, the paranoia is going to to ruin the economy of Arizona already reeling with the real estate bubble. Sometime lawmakers just do stupid things, they cut things which would save them more money if they kept the,. For example California cut their tax collectors who pay for themselves in two months.
In the end its a tricky issue, a path to quick naturalization for all illegals will not be fair on the one who stood in line for years to get a legal path. There has to be a middle path and a compassionate path, we as a nation have not figured that out as we are obsessed with our own lives for now. And that's how it will be for a while, even as drug cartels battle across the bottle to get their merchandise. It does make sense to patrol the border and maintain vigilance, but at the same time not ostracize the people who are already here, yes, illegally. As long as they are productive and contributing to our economy. Yes, they also don't pay much taxes, but do avail of services, so maybe a different of taxer sites in lieu of state income tax maybe an idea.
Meanwhile in Arizona, anyone who looks brown is going to continue to avoid the sun till some of the ground rules are clearer. And that is a shame.