Immigration reform done wrong

Arizona law marginalizes Latino community


Dios mio. Arizona's newest immigration law is downright scary.

The law, at its heart, looks to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants in ways that are against everything the United States stands for. There have been protests and even Facebook groups in opposition to the law.

This law is the broadest and strictest in decades. It makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and allows the police the ability to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally.

Many opponents of the bill suggest that it provides the opportunity for racial profiling.

No.

The law is racial profiling. It gives no guideline, such as reasonable cause, for police to stop someone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. The United States does have a history of racial profiling – does anyone remember Japanese internment in 1942?

Arizona politicians are making a tremendous error in judgment. The signing of this bill into law is a reactionary event to the murder of a prominent rancher in Arizona this past week. Arizona is currently the major crossing point for illegal immigrants and has resulted in violent flare-ups from drug runners.

The more preposterous point in all of this is that even Arizona Senator John McCain supports this bill, although in previous years he didn't believe it was necessary to document illegal immigrants.

Even President Obama, who rarely ever criticizes state law, has come out strongly against the bill.

He was quoted in the New York Times as saying that the law serves "to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."

Now, it isn't unheard of for police to ask for documents on subways, highways and in public places. Many European nations follow such procedures, but given the fluidity of travelers within the European Union, they seem more reasonable.

The worst part of all of this is that the Latino community in Arizona makes up around 30 percent of the state's total population. Many of these families have been citizens of the United States for generations.

Not only is the law devoid of logic, but politicians continue to fan the flames of the issue. A prime example is John McCain's response to the president's criticism at a news conference in Phoenix on Friday.

"If the president doesn't like what the Arizona legislature and governor may be doing, then I call on the president to immediately call for the dispatch of 3,000 National Guard troops to our border …" McCain said. He stated that the law is being passed to compensate for "the federal government's failure to carry out its responsibilities, which is to secure its borders."

The government didn't fail at anything. When former President George W. Bush tried to pass immigration reform, his own party killed it, mainly because of a guest-worker program that would allow workers the ability to get a three-year work visa in the United States.

This legal means of allowing a regulated flow of immigrants into the country would let immigrants work in jobs the ordinary American citizen wouldn't do.

It is slightly embarrassing to all Americans that this law has even been passed. Racial profiling is downright wrong, no matter how the issue is looked at.

The Arizona immigration law truly represents a slippery slope.