Arizona’s New Immigration Law – Necessary or Discriminatory?
Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, signed a bill in April 2010 making it a state crime to be in the country illegally or without proper documentation. According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately one-third of the 38 million immigrant residents in the U.S. are estimated to be unauthorized with 460,000 being residents of Arizona.
The new Arizona law which was drafted and signed by the governor in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration gives the police and law enforcement officials the power to make “reasonable seaches” of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The law also requires the police to inquire about the immigration status of any person they stop, detain or arrest and reasonably suspect to be in the country illegally.
The new law will go into effect on July 29, 2010 if it is not successfully challenged in court. To date, several lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of this new law. Those who oppose the law including legal scholars, immigration rights activists and even lawmakers argue that the law violates protections against unreasonable searches and encourages racial profiling. Opponents also argue that the federal government has the power under the U.S. Constitution to regulate immigration policy, not the states.
Those in favor of the law argue that the federal government has failed in securing our borders and that the law will help prevent immigrants from pouring through the U.S. borders illegally. Also, proponents claim the law will not lead to racial profiling since the law prohibits the use of race or nationality as a sole basis for an immigration check; however, race and/or nationality can be considered amongst other factors.
Read more about immigration laws and how they affect students without legal immigration status.
Update: Just before the law was to go into effect on July 29, 2010, federal court Judge Susan Bolton declared most of the bill unconstitutional. An appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been filed. The issue is expected to eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll keep you posted.
What do you think about Arizona’s new immigration law? Is it an effective way to deal with the immigration issues facing the U.S.? Or should our country focus on immigration reform that allows immigrants to become legal U.S. citizens through a realistic process not taking 10 years to complete? Do you think our borders should remain closed prohibiting the vast majority of immigrants from entering the country or becoming U.S. citizens? What about the founding principles of this country and the words on the Statute of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”?