Despite opposition from the Obama administration, the Mexican government, and local Hispanic groups, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has signed into law one of the toughest anti illegal immigration bills in the country.
According to the Arizona Republic:
“Arizona’s immigration law, now considered the toughest in the nation, makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local police to enforce federal immigration laws. It will require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce “an alien registration document,” such as a green card or other proof of citizenship, such as a passport or Arizona driver’s license.
“It also makes it illegal to impede the flow of traffic by picking up day laborers for work. A day laborer who gets picked up for work, and traffic is impeded in the process, would also be committing a criminal act.
“The law goes into effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends, likely in early May.”
Arizona voters overwhelmingly approve of the law. Arizona has, in recent months, become a corridor for illegal aliens moving north, into the United States. These include not only people looking for work, but drug traffickers and “coyote” human smugglers. This situation has led to an atmosphere of lawlessness and violence along the Arizona/Mexican border that has become intolerable to most Arizonians, especially considering the lack of enforcement of immigration laws on the federal level.
Hispanic leaders, however, reacted with near hysteria at the signing of the law. “Latino leaders compared the bill to apartheid in South Africa and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.” Some political analysts suggest that Democrats, including the Obama administration, will attempt to use the new anti illegal immigration law to drive a wedge between Hispanics and other Americans. Law suits and other actions opposing the new law have also been promised.
Supporters of the new law maintain that protocols will be enacted that will prevent police from stopping people who are just guilty of nothing more than “being in public while Hispanic.” Critics, on the other hand, respond that the new law will inevitably lead to racial profiling.
The passage of Arizona’s anti illegal immigration law may lead to a renewed immigration reform measure in the United States Congress, according to Reuters. But this too has some pit falls. Such a reform package would likely have some kind of “conditional amnesty” for illegal aliens, which has proven to be a political loser in the past when it has been brought up. Congress may be ill prepared to wrangle with another piece of controversial legislation so soon after health care reform. But dithering on immigration reform may anger some Hispanics, who might turn their ire on the Democrats for this November’s election.
Sources: Arizona governor signs immigration law; foes promise fight, Craig Harris, Alia Beard Rau and Glen Creno, Arizona Republic, April 24th, 2010
Obama warns of ‘misguided’ immigration efforts, Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters, April 23rd, 2010