Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Aiming to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants, it will make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. What do you think of this law? Why?
Randal C. Archibold reports on the controversial legislation in “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration”:
The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.
The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.
Even before [the governor] signed the bill…, President Obama strongly criticized it.
[…]The Arizona law, he added, threatened “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.”
[…] While police demands of documents are common on subways, highways and in public places in some countries, including France, Arizona is the first state to demand that immigrants meet federal requirements to carry identity documents legitimizing their presence on American soil.
Ms. Brewer acknowledged critics’ concerns, saying she would work to ensure that the police have proper training to carry out the law. But she sided with arguments by the law’s sponsors that it provides an indispensable tool for the police in a border state that is a leading magnet of illegal immigration. She said racial profiling would not be tolerated, adding, “We have to trust our law enforcement.”
Students: Read the full article here, then tell us what you think about this law. Are you more sympathetic to the opposition’s argument that it is “an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status,” or to proponents’ argument that it is “an indispensable tool for the police in a border state that is a leading magnet of illegal immigration”? Why? What effects might this law have when it takes effect in August?
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