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經濟學人:移民政治學(1)

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IT MAY have taken the Supreme Court just an hour to wrap up its discussion of illegal immigration this week, but America’s politicians, it seems, cannot get enough of the subject. It will be several months before the court rules on the case in question, which concerns a state law in Arizona, but Democratic leaders in the Senate are already planning a vote to overturn its decision if the law is upheld. That vote would presumably fail, thanks to Republican opposition, but it would allow the Democrats to keep the subject in the news. Democrats are also attacking Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, for supporting the law. Mr Romney, meanwhile, has dismissed the whole fuss as an effort to distract Hispanic voters from Mr Obama’s failings as steward of the economy. The outcome of the presidential race, both sides acknowledge, could conceivably hinge on whether it is the state of the economy or laws like Arizona’s that stir more indignation among Hispanics.

最高法院本周對于非法移民的討論也許只持續了一個小時,但是美國的政客們看上去從未停止在非法移民這個問題上大做文章. 最高法院裁決這個涉及到亞利桑那州州法律的案子還將花上幾個月,但是參議院中民主黨的領袖已經在計劃,一旦最高法院判亞利桑那州州法律有效,就發動一場投票來推翻這一決議.由于參議院中共和黨的反對,這一投票多半會失敗,但民主黨卻能把這一話題保留在公眾視野中.民主黨也批評米特·羅姆尼,因為這位預定的共和黨總統競選人支持這一法律.同時,羅姆尼認為這整場鬧劇只不過是民主黨人想借此來分散西班牙裔選民的注意力,讓他們忽視奧巴馬總統作為經濟守門人的失職. 民主共和兩黨都承認,經濟狀態和激起西班牙裔美國人憤慨的亞利桑那州法律,都可能影響總統大選的結果.
Arizona’s bill, passed in 2010, seeks to discourage illegal immigration by making it a crime under state as well as federal law and by instructing state authorities to be on the lookout for illegal immigrants. Civil-liberties groups worry that this will lead to harassment of anyone with brown skin, even though the law expressly prohibits such “profiling”. There is no easy way for the authorities to judge an individual’s immigration status, argue opponents, so many citizens will be subjected to unwarranted checks.
亞利桑那州這一法案于2010年通過,旨在讓州法律和聯邦法律把非法移民認定為犯罪行為,并引導州政府密切搜尋非法移民者,以此來打擊非法移民活動.公民自由組織擔憂這將給那些古銅色膚色的人帶來困擾,盡管法案中明令禁止"按膚色下定論". 反對者稱,官方鑒定個人的移民身份從來就不是一件容易的事,所以許多美國公民被迫接受未經批準的檢查.
That prospect seemed to concern several justices during the oral arguments on the law before the Supreme Court. Stephen Breyer, for example, fretted about the possible fate under the law of a jogger carrying only a driver’s licence from New Mexico, a state that borders Arizona and used to issue licences to illegal immigrants. But the solicitor-general said he was not challenging the law on the grounds that it would discriminate against Latinos. Instead he argued that the law pre-empts the federal government’s power to set immigration policy. Its defenders retort that it aims only to help the federal government fulfil its obligations on immigration, and that only an administration that was deliberately neglecting them could find fault with it.
這件事的可能性,令幾位法官對庭上的案子有所憂慮,他們有過幾番辯論.比如,根據這項法律,史蒂芬·拜耳就擔心某位從新墨西哥州過來,身上只帶駕照的慢跑者的命運,因為新墨西哥州毗鄰亞利桑那州,而且曾經給非法移民發放過駕照.但是副檢察長則說道,他反對這項法律并不是基于該法律會歧視拉美裔美國人這一點。相對的他說這項法律奪取了聯邦政府制定移民政策的權力.它的辯護者們則反駁,這項法律只是為了幫助聯邦政府履行制定移民政策的義務,并且只有故意忽視他們的政府才會發現這項法律有問題.
The Supreme Court’s verdict will determine the fate not just of Arizona’s law, but of similar measures in five other states. As successive presidents have promised but failed to tackle the question of America’s 10m-odd illegal immigrants, frustration at the federal government’s inertia has grown, especially among conservative voters. Republican-controlled legislatures in several states have attempted to take matters into their own hands. The need for a crackdown on illegal immigration seems to have become an article of faith among Republican primary voters. The presidential bid of Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, came to grief partly because he had signed a law allowing certain undocumented students to pay the same rates as other state residents at public universities.
最高法院的判決不僅將決定亞利桑那州這一法律的命運,還將影響其他五個州采取的類似措施的命運.接連幾任總統都承諾解決這一困擾美國超過1000萬非法移民的問題,但都失敗了,因此人們對政府惰性的失望情緒日漸增長,特別是在保守派的選民中.共和黨掌握的幾個州的立法機關已經試著處理這件事情.取締非法移民很有必要,這似乎在共和黨初選選民中成了一種信條.里克·佩里這位德克薩斯州州長的總統競選之路最終失敗,或許有一部分原因是因為他曾經簽署了一項法律,這項法律允許某些沒有正式身份的學生和本州學生用一樣的比例支付公立大學的學費.
Even as the debate about illegal immigration has become shriller, the phenomenon itself has declined. The recession has helped to stem the flow of job-seekers across America’s southern border. Despite more vigorous policing, the number of people caught trying to cross has declined markedly. This week the Pew Hispanic Centre, a research institute, released a report arguing that Mexicans, who once accounted for most of the illegal influx, are now leaving the country in greater numbers than they are entering it.
盡管對非法移民本身的爭論日漸激化,這種現象本身卻在減少.美國經濟衰退,阻止了一大批想跨過美國南方邊境來找工作的人.盡管監管越來越嚴密,被當場抓住試圖穿越國境的人的數量卻顯著下降.本周一家研究機構,皮尤西裔研究中心發布了一份報告,稱過去墨西哥人占據了非法移民者中的大多數,而現在他們離開美國的人數比進入美國的還要多.

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