Arizona criminalizes the illegal

Arizona’s new immigration law highlights lax federal enforcement.

Andrew Wagner

SB1070, the controversial bill recently signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, has produced hundreds of stories attacking the bill as an invitation to racial profiling. One 13-year-old Mexican-American deemed it âÄúlife-alteringâÄù and said legal Mexican-Americans âÄúcanâÄôt walk anywhere without the âÄòpigsâÄô thinking that they are illegal aliens.âÄù The outcry fails to address the language in the bill that specifically bans racial profiling. ThatâÄôs right, the bill that has been deemed draconian and denounced as something out of the Nazi era has a ban on racial profiling. Page two of the bill reads, âÄúa law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.âÄù Other opponents of the bill claim immigrants must carry âÄúpapers,âÄù likening those papers to the documents freed slaves were forced to carry in the 1800s. What they donâÄôt say is that the bill lists myriad acceptable proofs of citizenship, including a driverâÄôs license, a non-operating identification license, valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification or any valid U.S. federal, state or local government-issued identification. These are forms of identification we all carry every day. Unreasonable? Absolutely not. Is it age discrimination to ask someone who appears to be under 21 for identification at a bar? I donâÄôt believe so. Just as it is against the law to drink when under the age of 21, it is against the law to be in the United States illegally, and those who are here legally must produce an ID if they have been arrested for another crime. The law does not allow police to stop someone for appearing to be Latino. If someone âÄî even a rich white person âÄî is arrested for any crime, they must produce proof of citizenship. Another provision of the bill makes Arizona the first state in the nation to make it illegal to be in the state illegally. Absurd, right? Currently, according to the Associated Press, the state âÄúdoesnâÄôt require police to ask about the immigration status of those they come across, and many departments prohibit officers from inquiring out of fear immigrants wonâÄôt report crime or cooperate in other investigations.âÄù This bill requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone arrested for any crime, regardless of race, and makes it against the law to hire illegal immigrants. How are these draconian changes? The federal government has failed to provide us comprehensive immigration reform, and it has forced Arizona, a state among the most affected by illegal immigration, to take matters into its own hands and address an issue that has brought violence, as well as drug and human trafficking, inside its borders. Andrew Wagner, University undergraduate student