As you can imagine, the new Arizona immigration law, has become a hot button issue. As it should be. It is a breeding ground for racial profiling, unjust,un-American, will create a great distrust between minorities and police, and will require those who have been here legal to carry id. Once slaves became free after the Civil War they were also required to carry id. As was true during apartheid in South Africa. Along with the aforementioned problematic effects of this legislation are the effects it will have on surrounding states. Do law makers in Arizona actually believe this will stop illegal immigrants? Well the honest answer is, no. The other answer is, they don’t care. They don’t care that instead of immigrants coming to Arizona they will go either east or west to California, New Mexico, and Texas. Which in turn will cause problems for those stats. There is some good news…This legislation is unconstitutional.
History always as the answers. In a New York Times op-ed, Linda Greenhouse writes:
Rather, I’ll offer a reflection on how, a generation ago, another of the country’s periodic anti-immigrant spasms was handled by the Supreme Court. In 1975, Texas passed a law to deprive undocumented immigrant children of a free public education. Many thousands of children — a good number of whom were on the road to eventual citizenship under immigration laws that were notably less harsh back then — faced being thrown out of school and deprived of a future.
In June 1982, by a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court struck down the Texas law. Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote for the majority that the constitutional guarantee of equal protection prohibited the state from imposing “a lifetime hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status.” Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., a Nixon appointee and the swing justice of his day, provided the fifth vote. The law “threatens the creation of an underclass of future citizens and residents,” he wrote.
I have no doubt that but for that ruling, public school systems all over the country would be checking papers and tossing away their undocumented students like so much playground litter. Blocked from that approach, local governments now try others. The city of Hazleton, Pa., passed a law that made it a crime for a landlord to rent an apartment to an undocumented immigrant. A federal district judge struck down the law on the ground that immigration is the business of the federal government, not of Hazleton, Pa.
Indeed, federal pre-emption would appear to be the most promising route for attacking the Arizona law. Supreme Court precedents make clear that immigration is a federal matter and that the Constitution does not authorize the states to conduct their own foreign policies.
Eugene Robinson also has a great op-ed on the Arizona legislation explaining the problematic effects of the legislation….Eugene Robinson writes:
Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.
The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.
Let me interrupt this tirade to point out that while Arizona has unquestionably done the wrong thing, it is understandable that exasperated officials believed they had to dosomething. Immigration policy and border security are federal responsibilities, and Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a crisis.
One of the concrete problems with the law treating undocumented immigrants as criminals is that it gives those without papers a powerful incentive to stay as far away from police as possible. This will only make it more difficult for local police to investigate crimes and track down fugitive offenders, because no potential witness who is undocumented will come forward.
What happen to America the land of promise? The land of the free? Oh wait it was never really that. Through out our history ( and still today) we have discriminated and oppressed all immigrants and minorities. If you were not of the European, White, Protestant descent that was too bad. Although, as you can imagine, if you were White, once the ‘settlers’ of America realized you could assimilate easily (within a few generations), it became a lot easier and faster to be accepted than if you were of a different skin color. If we truly want to stay a world power, we need to start being more open-minded, less ethnocentric, and more inclusive instead of exclusive. It we carry out those things we will once again become the great melting pot many believe American to be. Immigrants are not a hinderance, they are a benefit to our society.
I urge you to read both op-eds.