National / News / May 6, 2010

Arizona passes sweeping immigration reform with new law

On April 23, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into State Law SB 1070. The bill, now turned law, requires immigrants to carry documentation proving their legal status — to do otherwise is a misdemeanor — and allows police to arrest anyone with “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally unless it interferes with an emergency medical treatment or investigation. “Reasonable suspicion” is not defined. The law also allows people to sue the local government if they feel the law is not being enforced. It is the broadest and strictest immigration law in generations.

Opponents of the law said it opens the door to increased discrimination of Hispanic people, regardless of their status. President Obama called it a measure threatening “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Several police chiefs and mayors in Arizona have said they will either sue to block execution of the new law or are declaring their objective to not enforce it unless forced to. A sheriff of Arizona, Clarence Dupnik, called it a “national embarrassment,” adding that the law is “stupid, and it’s racist.”

El Paso passed a resolution to limit the amount of business the Texas county does with Arizona. The Major League Baseball Players Association has also come out against the law.

“A new Gallup Poll shows that more than three-quarters of Americans are aware of Arizona’s new immigration law and that 51 percent of them support its tough measures and 39 percent are opposed.” — USA Today. Of those who support the law, 62 percent are Republicans, 27 percent are Democrats, and 37 percent are self-declared independents. Within Arizona there is a 70 percent support rate. Supporters are mostly those who fall into the Tea Party category of the right wing, according to various media reports.

Mark Levine, visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, Sweden and frequent independent contributor to many news sources, reported that California Congressman Duncan Hunter was asked if he would support the deportation of natural-born American citizens who are the children of illegal aliens.

“I would have to, yes … It takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls.”

Although the racial profiling is a big issue, the law also complicates other matters. Constitutionally, immigration can only be handled by the federal government. Many politicians and activists have been calling on a boycott of Arizona products and tourism, and the University of Arizona has already had ten applicants turn down offers of admission to date for either being wary of racial profiling or just on principle.

President Obama looks to take on immigration reform but not at the expense of the energy independence focus that has been started recently. Karl Rove pointed out that there were some “constitutional problems” with the law but did not elaborate.

Estudiantes sin Fronteras (Students Without Borders) has put up black signs with white writing. The signs take quotes from the legislation itself in bullet point fashion. The heading reads, “No one is Illegal” and has a paragraph with the organization’s reasons for being against the legislation.

Governor Brewer stands by her decision and law denying racial profiling as an inherent part of the legislations outcome. She said that they need to trust their police to do the right thing.

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