Immigration Reform in Arizona

Majority Opinion Rules

Arizona lawmakers recently passed the controversial immigration law SB 1070 — allowing police officers to demand residency documentation from anyone they “reasonably suspect” to be an illegal immigrant — has sparked national controversy.

But, even if it is an extreme step toward the right wing, it does have majority opinion on its side.

An April 27 poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion shows that seven out of 10 Americans support arresting people who can’t prove they are in the U.S. legally. Almost two-thirds of those who responded to the poll expressed that they believe illegal immigrants hurt the country by taking jobs away from American workers.

The bill is a signal that Americans will not tolerate illegal immigration. And, according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), because the federal government has done little to help Arizona with its immigration problems, the state has been forced to take the matter into its own hands.

So, regardless of whether the legislation will be found unconstitutional — if not overly extreme — at least it will get the attention of the federal government, and encourage the White House to find a more levelheaded solution to our country’s enormous illegal-immigrant elephant in the room.

—Arik Burakovsky

Staff Writer

So Much for Equal Protection

Not only does the Arizona State Senate’s new bill promote blatant racial profiling, it also damages U.S.-Mexico relations — as if vigilante border patrol and the George W. Bush-approved plan to build a fence along the southern border hadn’t already made us international villains.

As the federal government attempts to sort out the civil-rights disaster that Arizona has created, one thing becomes certain: The bill hastily shoves aside any attempts to welcome diversity into Arizona’s community and spits right-wing propagandism in the face of equality. All Arizonans of Latino descent — legal citizens or not — can now be pulled aside in public places to be manhandled and humiliated by cops because of the color of their skin.

Rather than addressing illegal immigration at large — which obviously concerns individuals of all ethnicities — this bill unjustly targets our neighbors south of the border. Even though the law’s fine print also allows Arizona state police to stop and question potential Canadian illegal immigrants, realistically, police won’t pull over a white civilian and ask to see his papers — even if his pronounciation of “about” is a little off.

Though the ink is still drying on SB 1070, it is already under full attack and nationwide scrutiny — which is, perhaps, the only positive result of its existence. If its publicity during the past week has worked to build resistance against this bill, maybe it can come to serve as a never-again precedent.

—Margaret Yau

Contributing Writer

Racism on Unabashed Display

Arizona could’ve been a little less obvious about the thinly veiled racism in its latest wave of legislation.

After passing a bill that allows police to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant and making it a crime to even leave your house without proof that you’re a legal U.S. resident, you’d think lawmakers would lay low and hide, for at least a while, behind their corrupt desire for insulated state security at all costs.

But whatever credibility the law’s supporters may have held to their argument — that the legislation is simply a way to realistically enforce federal law — disintegrated a mere seven days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer passed the bill.

That’s when the state’s superintendent of public instruction proposed a law that would ban both ethnic-studies courses and teachers with accents from English classes.

You’ve got to be in serious denial to claim that the two measures aren’t related — not to mention outrageously racist.

Though Brewer the bull hasn’t passed the education bill quite yet, it’s likely she will. And even if the bill dies, it will still send a clear message to the state’s residents: If you’re not white and completely assimilated, you should take your freedom elsewhere.

—Alyssa Bereznak

Senior Staff Writer

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