Political Animal


January 27, 2013 5:04 PM Arizona could end up outdoing its crazy self

By Samuel Knight

Just when you thought Arizona couldn’t go any further out of its way to repel non-whites and foreigners, a state representative wants orderlies to join Phoenix’s draconian crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

According to a state ABC affiliate, State Representative Steve Smith proposed House Bill 2293 last week. It’s a bill that “would require hospital workers to attempt to verify a patient’s citizenship, essentially make a note of it and call authorities.”

Smith said his goal is to find out the amount of money hospitals spend to treat undocumented immigrants.
“They’re (hospitals) not withholding care, they’re not deporting, they’re not throwing them out, they’re not doing anything, we’re just logging information,” said Smith.

Right. It’s all about good governance. Nothing to do with scapegoating foreigners whatsoever. Except that undocumented immigrants pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

The law wouldn’t just cost the state and federal government money by scaring away undocumented immigrants. It could also keep legal U.S. residents, tourists and foreign students away from Arizona. Who would want to visit a state that could end up requiring people to carry their passports on them at all time in case they get hit by a car or mugged? And what happens if a legal resident or visitor shows up at a hospital unable to verify her status?

If bill advances, it will almost certainly be amended — it hasn’t even reached committee yet. But it’s frightening to think how this legislation could affect the state.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.


  • c u n d gulag on January 27, 2013 6:03 PM:

    Jayzoos H. Keerist, being asked to show his pecker to prove he's really Jewish!

    Why don't they just put electronic tracking devices in chorizo sausage, jalapeno's, pablano's, and packages of tortilla's?

    You can't spell crAZy, without the "A-Z!"

  • Mark-NC on January 27, 2013 7:07 PM:

    Yet another example of the "small government" right expanding government. The scary part is that this is a growing thought process among the righteous right.

    Heil ___________. I wonder who they would put in the blank.

  • John Sully on January 27, 2013 7:16 PM:


    AFAIK, the ITIN is intended for people who are here legally. Because of this I suspect that the premise of the HuffPo piece is invalid. When I was a kid working gigs where illegals were hired, they most often paid under the table (cash! score!). No ITIN required (or SSN!). We valued these jobs because it meant that you had more money in your pay packet and when you were making only a couple of bucks an hour, that helped. A lot.

    Also, IIRC, the EIN is for employers, not employees.

  • John Sully on January 27, 2013 8:21 PM:

    Oops that last one went on the wrong thread....

  • paul on January 27, 2013 8:56 PM:

    And of course the state shouldn't end up paying more than a few hundred million in settlements with people whose medical care is impaired because they weren't carrying a passport or birth certificate.

  • Paulk on January 27, 2013 11:09 PM:

    But of course. Because the last think you'd want is for someone with a dangerous communicable disease like meningitis to do is go to a hospital for treatment. Instead, let's hope the keep working around us like usual.

  • Daryl McCullough on January 28, 2013 7:56 AM:

    I don't think it's crazy. I think it's cynical. Many southwestern states (New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado) are trending blue in recent years, and I think that's largely because of the rising Hispanic population. Arizona is trying to stay Anglo-majority by making Hispanics feel unwelcome. They can't by law target Hispanic citizens, but they can indirectly attack them by encouraging suspicion of anyone with darker skin or whose native language is Spanish.

  • flubber on January 28, 2013 1:09 PM:

    People without legal immigration status, or people with murky, confusing immigration status (more common than you think, even among tech workers in Silicon Valley) might be afraid to go to the hospital.

    People will suffer, and more people will die. Cynical politicians know this, of course, and for voters it's a selling point.**

    **Not that Repub voters necessarily want illegal immigrants to die (although some do) but they like the fact that immigrants will be dissuaded from going to the hospital, and might encourage some immigrants to go back where they came from. The fact that some small number of immigrants will die, is a price the Repub voters are willing to pay.