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Arizonans grew sick and tired of anybody and everybody waltzing into their state without permission and without papers.

They were patient, waiting on Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush and then Barack Obama to enforce laws already on the books. Heck, even the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks failed to sound all the alarms. Now, nearly nine years later, thumbs are still being twiddled in Washington.

Arizonans took matters into their own hands.

In April, their governor signed legislation that, among other things, makes a state criminal offense of anyone who fails to carry immigration documents - or “the right kind of papers,” as Mrs. Obama said.

The law doesn’t take effect until this summer, which puts everyone on notice to get their house of papers in order.

Before that happens, the House and the Senate are expected to tackle immigration reform (hallelujah). That prospect, on the heels of the Arizona’s decisive measure, has Hispanics up in arms. But they shouldn’t be.

The law isn’t kin to Jim Crow. There will be no Hispanics-only drinking fountains or back-of-the-bus policies, thanks to leading civil-rights activists, including Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks.

But the law is the law.

Public schools send teens home when they don’t have their ID cards, and nobody’s questioning that silly policy. I mean, isn’t it downright stupid for a teacher or coach to call a child by name and then punish her because she doesn’t have her school photo ID strung around her neck?

There’s no discounting the conundrum the little girl pointed out to Mrs. Obama.

It kind of makes you wonder: If the little girl’s mom “doesn’t have any” papers, how do school authorities know that’s her mom?

c Deborah Simmons can be reached at