ARIZONA PASSES DISCRIMINATIVE IMMIGRATION LAW
GOVERNOR JAN BREWER SIGNS (SB 1070) TOUGHEST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAW IN U.S.
by Tito Rodriguez, staff writer
In proud view of cameras and law enforcement, on Fri. April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the toughest law in our modern United States history aimed at stemming the flow of illegal immigrants. This now infamous bill, SB 1070, makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without the proper documentation proving that one is a legal resident of the United States. SB 1070 also now requires the local police to act as federal immigration agents by requesting anyone suspected of being an undocumented resident to immediately provide the appropriate paperwork upon demand. Both the supporters and protestors of SB 1070 have been engaged in tremendously heated arguments, particularly via anonymity of the Internet, since the signing of this new law. Supporters of SB 1070 have commonly used arguments in support of the legislation with statements such as "Illegal is illegal. What part of illegal, don't you understand?" Supporters have also cited the immigration laws of Mexico which allow officials to ask for proof of citizenship. While opponents of the law have generally argued that this new type of legislation is more reminiscent of something one would expect from Nazi Germany rather than modern America which universally claims to honor the freedom of all individuals irrespective of ethnicity or nationality. Another rebut of the opponents is that the laws of the U.S. should be based on the values and principles of our country alone and never measured by the standards of any other nation.
Major outrage about the effects of SB 1070 are being expressed in many segments of the Mexican American community both in Arizona and throughout the nation. Many see SB 1070 as a precursor to similar pieces of legislation which will be systematically attempted in other states. Hundreds of children to recent immigrants, mostly Chicano college and high school students, immediately left their classes after the signing of SB 1070 pouring out into the streets of Phoenix and filling the plaza outside the state Capitol. In the ensuing days, they were joined by many other protesters who pleaded for federal government intervention to nullify the law. Religious leaders, community organizers, currently serving police chiefs, mayors, and even the former governor of Arizona have all expressed their extreme reservations. Past governor and present Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told U.S. lawmakers that her agency has "deep concerns" about this new state immigration legislation passed in Arizona.
Supporters of tougher actions against illegal immigrants frequently state that the influx of immigrants from Mexico has driven up the rates of violent crime and lessened property values claiming these are two of the main reasons why such an extreme measure such as SB 1070 needed to be taken. Conversing these premises are numerous studies which have proven that both of these assertions are emphatically not true. It is generally known by most observers of contemporary news that the great decline in nationwide housing prices are due solely to the economic crisis this country has experienced in recent years, the results of mismanagement and bad business practices in the banking and insurance industries. Of more serious concern to most Americans, however, is the issue of crime. By far, the largest legal and illegal immigrant population from Mexico lives in California. In a recent long and extensively researched study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, it was found that "Immigrant adults have lower incarceration rates than U.S. born adults in California.. and.. High immigrant populations do not appear to be associated with high crime rates." (ref: PPIC document and www.ppic.org) A pertinent example of these findings is the "incarceration rate for (all) foreign-born adults (roughly 35% of California's total population) is 297 per 100,000.. compared to 813 per 100,000 for U.S. born adults." Ultimately it was surmised that "Public perception does not match the facts." In Los Angeles, which has the largest illegal immigrant population in the whole of the United States, crime rates have dropped to a forty year low. L.A. city and police officials have consistently expressed the need for keeping good faith relations with the immigrant community whether an individual is legal or not. This is tremendously important in order to combat the significant gang problem which continues to persist in the city, where most illegal immigrants live in these greatly affected areas and are seen as a major source for the gathering of law enforcement/police intelligence. Most residents of Los Angeles are fully understanding that the vast majority of its illegal immigrant population are merely undocumented workers who