It’s a sad day for anyone who is not a xenophobic, anti-immigrant militant: Arizona has passed the harshest anti-immigrant bill in the country, giving police the authority to detain anyone on “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally and arrest them if they don’t have papers.
The bill, which has been the focus of criticism by pro-immigrant and human rights groups, is aimed at forcing immigrants without documents out of the state. Like most anti-immigration policy, it will also make life more dangerous for immigrants who come to the U.S. out of economic necessity.
The constitutionality of the bill is also dubious, as immigration issues traditionally are dealt at the federal level, not the state. —JCL
Pro-immigration groups across the US expressed despair today after Arizona passed the toughest bills in the country which they say are aimed at forcing out hundreds of thousands of Latinos living illegally in the state.
Arizona has long been a flashpoint in the debate over immigration, with tensions heightened by the murder last month of a popular rancher, Robert Krentz, in a remote spot used by groups smuggling people from Mexico to the US.
“The Mexico-Arizona border is out of control,” said the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association in a statement accompanying a report yesterday that claimed the impact of illegal immigration was so great the state could qualify for disaster relief.
The new bill, passed by the Arizona house of representatives last night, greatly expands the powers of the police in dealing with illegal immigration, including for the first time giving them the right to stop anyone on “reasonable suspicion” they may be an illegal immigrant and arrest them if they are not carrying identity papers.
AP / Ross D. Franklin
Protesters march in front of the Arizona House building in Phoenix on Tuesday as legislators take up an immigration enforcement bill.