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Arizona Immigration Bill Draconian
Burnt Orange Report
April 23, 2010
Today, Arizona’s governor signed into law a bigoted, narrow-minded immigration bill that will make non-white (especially Latino) residents into second-class citizens, subject to racial profiling and prosecution.
The Center for American Progress has details on the bill:
The law essentially legalizes racial profiling:
* The law puts communities of color in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government workers to determine if a person is illegally in the United States based on a “reasonable suspicion.”
* Legal experts maintain that the law will result in racial profiling, as it does not prohibit police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate.
The law undercuts the Constitution and imbues local police with federal authority:
* Arizona is attempting to grant local police arrest authority for administrative violations of federal immigration law, even though the state police does not even have that authority under federal law.
* The measure does not require the local police to have a search warrant or even suspect that some illegal action has occurred.
* The law criminalizes the solicitation of work even though courts have previously ruled that the solicitation of work is protected speech under the First Amendment.
The law will harm the state and local economies:
* The Texas-based Perryman Group calculated that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs.
* The Immigration Policy Center noted that, “with Arizona facing a budget deficit of more than $3 billion,” the new law will “further imperil the state’s economic future.”
* Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other local leaders anticipate a drop in new business ventures in the state because of the harsh new law.
The law will be expensive and take cops away form community policing:
* The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police firmly opposes the law for fiscal and public safety reasons, noting that fear of government officials will diminish the public’s willingness to cooperate with police in criminal investigations and will “negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner.”
* Local taxpayers will bear the heavy costs of lengthy court litigation.
* The costs to arrest, detain, process, and transport undocumented immigrants out of Arizona will drain local government treasuries. … If the federal government were to handle the entire undocumented population, the cost would be approximately $23,482 per person, based on a recent study by the Center for American Progress.
State Representative Garnet Coleman released a statement on this horrible bill, which puts naked bigotry ahead of public safety and sound public policy:
This bill is reminiscent of dark times in our country’s history when people were targeted based on the color of their skin. With the stroke of her pen, Governor Brewer has mandated racial profiling. The citizenship of Americans who have lived in Arizona for generations will be questioned based on their appearance.
Instead of focusing on stopping crime, Arizona police officers will be forced to sweep up students, gardeners and nannies who have committed no crimes. Immigrants who witness crimes will be too afraid to report them, therefore turning immigrant communities into safe havens for criminals.
It’s unfortunate that the Republican party continues to use this community as scapegoats to rally parts of their base. This is bad public policy that no state should mirror. I’m thankful that responsible legislators and people of good will at the federal level are taking a hard look at this issue, and I encourage them to pass a sensible comprehensive immigration reform bill as soon as possible.
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