Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law yesterday that makes it “a state crime to be in the country illegally” and “requires local law enforcement to determine an individual’s immigration status if an officer suspects that person is in the country illegally.” Civil rights groups are already preparing federal lawsuits, and President Barack Obama called the bill “misguided”, adding, “I’ve instructed members of my admininstration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation.”
The American Civil Liberties Union explained why we should be outraged about this law:
The law creates new immigration crimes and penalties inconsistent with those in federal law, asserts sweeping authority to detain and transport persons suspected of violating civil immigration laws and prohibits speech and other expressive activity by persons seeking work. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona strongly condemn the governor’s decision to sign the unconstitutional law and are dismayed by her disregard for the serious damage it could cause to civil liberties and public safety in the state.[…]
The new law, which will not go into effect for more than 90 days, requires police agencies across Arizona to investigate the immigration status of every person they come across whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country unlawfully. To avoid arrest, citizens and immigrants will effectively have to carry their “papers” at all times. The law also makes it a state crime for immigrants to willfully fail to register with the Department of Homeland Security and carry registration documents. It further curtails the free speech rights of day laborers and encourages unchecked information sharing between government agencies.
Naturally, conservatives who claim to be for small government love the expansion of police powers in Arizona.
Representative Raul Grijalva, one of the leaders of the House Progressive Caucus, closed his Arizona offices yesterday following threatening phone calls. Grijalva also “called on businesses and groups looking for convention and meeting locations to boycott Arizona.” Already yesterday the American Immigration Lawyers Association canceled plans to hold the group’s fall national convention in Scottsdale. A petition has been created to urge California’s state pension fund to “divest from all Arizona companies” and sell all Arizona real estate.
The law may never be enforced, depending on what happens with the federal lawsuits, but some people are predicting it will boost support for Democrats among Latino voters.
Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. For comic relief, I recommend reading the official statement from Arizona Hispanic Republicans. After criticizing the (Republican) state legislators who spearheaded the bill and the (Republican) governor who signed the bill, they say they are “ultimately holding President Obama accountable,” because “Obama promised Hispanics that he would pass immigration reform within 90 days of his Presidency. Had Obama carried out his promises to Hispanics last year, the Hispanic community would not be experiencing the crisis we are experiencing right now.” That’s quite a creative way to misdirect blame.