Ripple Effects of Arizona’s Immigration Law

By Larryse Brown

In the state of Arizona police now have the right to search “suspected immigrants” questioning them about the legitimacy of their citizenship. There is nothing else that sets “illegal” immigrants apart from the rest of the population of Arizona. In fact, they look just like many other residents of Arizona, including those living there legally

such as American citizens. According to the new law officers can arrest those who are not able to prove that they are in the country legally. Police say that this will be an effective way to keep the illegal immigration level to a minimum. However some U.S citizens argue that this will become an acceptable practice of racial profiling and clearly imposes on the 14th amendment.

While the debates continue to spark there is talk on whether or not the new law to stop illegal immigration will be brought to California-the largest population of Hispanics in the U.S and seven percent more than Arizona’s 30% according the U.S Census Bureau.

“We have a real problem with people coming here illegally, but creating

an atmosphere where anyone who doesn’t look “legal” can be stopped by police isn’t going to solve the problem” says Joanne Naughton, criminal justice professor at Mercy College. Naughton believes that creating a police state where civil rights are ignored in order to solve the immigration problem isn’t going to solve the immigration problem but will create more problems for all Americans.

According to Naughton the new law gives no police guidance about how to determine who is in Arizona illegally and leaves it up to the officers as individuals to apply their own standards on the activity or appearance as evidence of being in Arizona illegally. A law like this would probably be “deemed void” because it is too vague and in violation of our constitution

“The Arizona law gives no police guidance as to whom they should suspect of being in Arizona illegally”.

It is suggest that this situation could only be dealt with by the good people of Congress who are refusing to get involved claiming “they don’t have the political will for it”.

“Too many of the Senators and Representatives from the states most affected receive

campaign contributions from people and corporations who want to leave things exactly as they are” Naughton also states that illegal immigration provides low wage workers claiming that for those who hired them, its just fine.

Angela Alvarez a Mercy College student who has witnessed a police officer’s interrogation of a citizen while visiting family describes the process as “humiliating and degrading and it’s outrageous that such a thing is continuing let alone even suspected of expanding, racial profiling is illegal”.

Even so, to others the thought that immigrants are coming to America and getting the same health benefits of an American citizen without having to pay taxes is at the very least discomforting and is still very much a crime according to the United States immigration law.

However, if there is silver lining it’s that this may force Congress to do what is should have done years ago: provide legislation that will recognize the fact that millions of people are here illegally, cannot all be deported, and must be able to get onto a track that will allow them eventually to achieve legal status, Naughton illustrates.