Arizona’s New Immigration Law – The Facts and How You Can Help

“Every Generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds… to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation” – Ellison S. Onizuka, American Astronaut.”

The law has been amended to require that an individual can only be subjected to an immigration inquiry when the questioning officer is engaged in a lawful interaction with that individual. As Shikha Dalmia argues, this is less of a restriction than a sugar coating over the previous law. While eye-contact is no longer sufficient cause for an officer to demand proof of citizenship, Jay walking, littering, loitering, or failing to signal for a full 500 feet before making a right turn would be more than enough. Given Arizona Sheriffs’ fondness for race based round-ups, this amendment does little to sooth concerns about fairness and equal protection before the law.
First there are some general impacts related to Arizona’s law which will occur regardless of your opinions on the matter.
Tourism- Is a vital component of Arizona’s economy. Spending directly related to tourism amounted to $18.5b in 2008. This generated approximately $2.6b in tax revenue. An estimated 1.4b of which goes to state and local government.
Labor market- Illegal migrants are a necessary component of the existing labor market. While this is far from an ideal situation, it is the current one. The Arizona day labor market depresses wages, to be sure, but it also enables a vast number of minimum wage jobs to exist due to the capital flow freed up from labor costs at the bottom. This should be reformed with temporary work visas and an increased quota for mexican migrant immigrants but in the short term this law threatens to seriously harm the industries of the state. Arizona is already struggling to stay competitive, now they will struggle harder.
National Reform- This law is justifiably a reaction to the vacuum left by Bush’s failure at immigration reform. No thinking human being could possibly lay the blame on Obama for this one. Regardless of your position on health care, you have to admit that it took every ounce of political capital he had to push it through. It would have been a ridiculous political move for him to have put immigration reform on the agenda before or during that debate as it would have guaranteed the failure of both. Remember that it was the Republican party which was so divided over immigration reform in the past at the same time when a republican president saw the wisdom of reform. Now the same republicans that stopped immigration on the federal level have rammed through an extremist version of their own bill.
The Hispanic Voting Bloc- may have just ruined republicans chances of sweeping middle range democrats out in the midterms. I’m not going to say that concerns me, but it should concern the party. Middle of the road voters want pragmatic laws that will do the country good, not political granstanding timed to boost electoral images at the expense of citizens rights.
Mexico- It’s that gigantic country just across the street, and it’s pissed. Rumbles of diverting trade from arizona would exacerbate the harms already mentioned. They seem unlikely to take the form of overt legal condemnation, but as we’ve already seen, boycotts don’t need state backing to cost a state 8 figures in a month. Keep in mind that Arizona is dependent on trade with Mexico. If that relationship were to become any more strained.
But it would be unfair to simply present the predictions I lend credence to. Here are a few of the main talking points used by the supporters of the law followed by reasons why they don’t hold up to empirical analysis.
 
Public resources. (i.e. Health and Education)
Law Enforcement- As of Fiscal 1999, the 24 counties along the Mexican border spent a combined $102m on services provided for and related to illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico.

These are the factual impacts of the law no matter what side of the line you stand on.

Other Sources You Should Read:

Go no further than this article right here.

How You Can Be Apart Of The Student Movement Against This Bill

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3. Go to Dream Activist to find all the other ways you can be apart of the movement

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Arizona’s Immigration Law (SB1070) – Is It Racist?

Well, yes and no. The law does not explicitly state that “all those of brown skin or accented speech shall be detained and asked to demonstrate their legal status in this state”. Anyone who didn’t sleep through their freshman history class would know such explicit statutes are not necessary for a law to be overtly racially targeted. Remember poll taxes and literacy tests. Neither stated that a pollster was required to test and tax every black person or that the law was passed in order to keep blacks from voting, but those were the realities of the laws’ implementation.

So while the law does not say that those of hispanic origin shall be targeted, that seems the reasonable prediction given the situation in Arizona. Consider the following:

We’ve already watched Sheriff Arpaio launch massive racially targetted “crime-supression sweeps” in the name of combating illegal immigration (even as illegal immigrants are repeatedly shown to commit less crimes than white citizens). We’ve already seen a widely supported governor of the state refuse to recognize MLK day as a holiday. We’ve already seen ethnic studies banned in the state’s public schools and teachers with accents fired.

In other words we’ve seen actions taken by this particular state and its political class that seem to indicate a certain…defensive reaction to a perceived ethnic crisis. It is not that they hate Hispanics per se. Rather it seems that the politicians in question -and presumably their constituents or at least their subordinates – are of the opinion that the immigration question is a racial one.

That being the case, how are we to react to the current law? When law enforcement individuals in the state have already set precedent for grouping legal hispanics in with illegal ones in enforcement actions, how are we to expect liberties to be protected?

The fact is that this law does not provide for the fairness and equality before the law that is the foundation of our nation. Our pride in our liberty begins with our freedom from unwarranted and arbitrary invasions by the government.

When walking down the wrong street being the wrong color becomes probable cause for detainment, we’ve ceased to command the ethical heights demanded of us by our founding fathers. We cannot, as defenders of liberty here and throughout the world, allow ourselves to be overcome by fear or selfishness when deciding what is right. We must be better than that, we prove ourselves to be those proud and determined americans who did not surrender to fear when the world was threatened but stood up as its strongest protectors. We must recognize that the laws are the means by which we have secured our own liberty from past oppressions and never fail to uphold that tradition.

My grandfather fought for the freedom of people he had never met who spoke different languages then he did, believed in different gods than he did, and looked very different than he did. Instead of leaving them to those who would use the law to discriminate and harm he took up arms so that they could.

We’ve seen all of these things in the name of an American identity based in amnesia and xenophobia.

This is an America that I want nothing to do with. I want an America whose laws aren’t knee-jerk politicized grandstanding. I want an America whose police aren’t modeled on the gestapo and the committee for state security. I want an America that understands how the law must limit the powers of police so that we may all remain free.