Gov. Jan Brewer signed the Arizona immigration bill today, even as echos of President Barack Obama’s words of disapproval still lingered in the air. Obama said early Friday he would be having the Feds (Justice Dept.) look into the matter to see if immigration law is even something the state has the right to handle. The Arizona Governor, who is up for re-election in November, suggested she will let Obama, and potentially the courts, decide that eventually, but her first priority is “protecting Arizonans”.
Jan Brewer said in today’s press conference, where she signed the AZ Senate Bill 1070 into law, that the letter and spirit of the new AZ immigration laws “mirrors, ver batam, Federal law” as pertains to immigration. However, the Governor didn’t have a pre-packaged answer for everything. Brewer practically stammered through her response to a media member’s question, “What does an illegal immigrant look like”. Simply: she said she didn’t know.
However, just as Brewer finished up a rousing speech on not tolerating racial profiling and discrimination by law enforcement, she mentioned new “descriptions” and training for law enforcement to base their “reasonable suspicion” of illegal immigration status upon. Opponents to the new Arizona immigration laws worry this new bill will include physical descriptions, will “target” a person for further search based on ethnicity and lead to racial profiling, though supporters say this isn’t so.
Most illegal immigrants in Arizona are Mexican. That’s a fact. The Arizona prison population, which is intensely over-crowded and under-funded, has high percentages of Mexican nationals in its populations, many of whom are not legal US citizens. That’s also a fact. So, the question is: if a bill is aiming to reduce crime by targeting illegal aliens (ie: Mexicans) who commit it, how does it do so without using racial profiling against “Latino-looking” people, which is federally prohibited?
The Governor claims citizens must “trust” police to make apt determinations on who falls under soon-to-be-laid-down descriptions and criteria of a person in the country (and in this case, state of Arizona) illegally. Many Latino citizens in Arizona already have a heavy distrust of police, and express they already suffer from racial profiling due to their skin color, and fear the new immigration bill will simple help law enforcement further trample on their civil rights. Brewer claims she will be as aggressive against any reports of unprofessional conduct and undue profiling as she is against illegal immigration.
To read the entire AZ Senate Bill 1070, click here. For more on Gov. Brewer’s press conference and the Arizona immigration law signing, click here.
CNN televised colverage of press ocnference – 4/23/2010