“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.
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.
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