Arizona Immigration and fake statistics

In case you haven’t heard, the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s immigration law today.

I was not surprised to see this show up on some of the feminist blogs I read, as they generally have a pro-immigration slant, but I was more than a little surprised to see that Amanda Marcotte considers this a women’s issue.

In a blog post for the XX blog on, she argues that the laws surrounding checking IDs will likely result in racial profiling (certainly) and probably target the young (highly likely) but that this will also target women more than men (wait, huh?).

Her reasoning:

…..women, especially in poor or rural communities, are also much more likely to be out and about without legal identification than men, especially if they don’t drive or drive often. Women that are poor or undereducated are much more likely to be stay-at-home mothers with few resources, which makes it very easy to let concerns about up-to-date licenses or ID slip, especially if you don’t drive a car much because someone else in the household is using it for work. If your daily life is dedicated to running errands for your family, you may not have much cause to worry about keeping all your papers in order generally, until it’s too late and you’re finding yourself in jail for not being able to prove citizenship on the spot.

A few comments:

  1. I have searched for 20 minutes for any study or proof that women leave the house without their ID more often than men.  I can’t find it.  Maybe the idea is that women walk around more than men?
  2. Women that are poor and undereducated are not more likely to be stay at home mothers.  56% of SAHM have at least some college education or more.
  3. I can’t find any hard data on which gender lets their license expire more often, but I also can’t find proof that it’s women.
I hate statistics based on bad data, but I really hate statistics just pulled from thin air.  Some assertions are self evident for sure….I don’t know that many people would argue that a group of teenage boys out on a corner is more likely to be stopped by the police than a group of 70 year old men….but the paragraph above states quite definitively several things that don’t seem at all definitive.  I could be wrong, but there weren’t any sources attached to check with.  When you factor in the idea that men are probably more likely to be stopped than women, it’s hard to figure out where this particular point is coming from.
If you disagree with Arizona’s law, that’s fine….but don’t make up statistics about it’s impact on women to justify that.  If it’s wrong, it’s wrong because it impacts people in general, not women in particular.