New Arizona Immigration Law Spark Ire

Posted on Apr 28, 2010 in National Issues

The Arizona Legislature has recently enacted a law, which calls for police departments to ask its residents for proof of their immigration status, including even demanding identification. While liberals and conservatives agree that illegal immigration has gotten out of control in Arizona with a suspected 460,000 illegal workers in a state of 6.6 million people, they certainly disagree on the solutions to the problem.

Conservatives argue that the state of Arizona is simply taking over the position of the federal government, the entity charged with enforcing immigration, in their own state. This is largely in response to the federal government’s lack of action on their borders, which are now believed to be the most porous on the country’s southern border with Mexico.

However, liberals see this action as problematic. First, many people fear that this law will cause a great deal of racial profiling to be done against Hispanic-Americans in the state as most illegal immigrants in Arizona are of Hispanic descent. Governor Jan Brewer hopes to avoid that becoming an issue by developing a training program for police departments to use that flushes out what is “reasonable suspicion,” the standard that must be met in order for police to question individuals on their immigration status. Many still believe though that this law is xenophobic and will cause more problems in law enforcement than it assists. Namely that, illegal immigrants will be less likely to come forward with evidence of or information on a crime if they fear being punished by police.

The penalty for those not able to produce documentation is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.

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