Friday, April 23, 2010
Ariz. lawmakers pass most racist anti-immigration law in U.S.
One of the churches in NYC says, "Joseph and Mary were immigrants." Please call Arizona Gov. Brewer's office to tell her you are AGAINST anti-immigration law SB 1070 and you want her to VETO it! 602-542-4331 http://goo.gl/cWPD
Arizona lawmakers on Monday approved one of the toughest illegal immigration laws in the United States.
The immigration bill now heads to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign it, veto it or do nothing and allow it to become law. Brewer said she'd be reviewing the legislation over the next several days, indicating that she will likely take the maximum time allowed to her before taking action.
Senate Bill 1070 would, among other things, make it a state crime to be in the country illegally and require local police to enforce federal-immigration laws. If the governor signs it, Arizona would be the first state to criminalize illegal immigrants.
The Senate approved the bill 17 to 11. The only dissenting Republican was Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale.
Opponents include Mexico's embassy, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Valley Interfaith Project and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
ACLU's primary concerns about the bill are how it would impact police resources, that it would target Latinos and that it includes no training requirement for law enforcement.
"Rather than going after human smugglers, drug smugglers, this gives police authority to stop and question people who fail to carry their paperwork," she said. "This will give police officers the green light to engage in profiling and harass people who look and sound foreign."
Arizona law enforcement groups are split on the bill, with a union for Phoenix Police Department officers supporting it and a statewide association of police chiefs opposed.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, told the Senate: "Illegal is not a race, it's a crime."
He said he expects the state to be sued over the law, and he expects the law to prevail.
Sen. Richard Miranda, D-Tolleson, voice shaking, spoke out against the bill. He said everybody wants something done about the state's border problems. But he said this bill is not the solution.
"People are so desperate for an answer to this situation, that they'll drink the sand thinking it's water," he said.
He said by passing this law, Arizona is sacrificing its civil rights and encouraging racial profiling.
"It's popular that I hear that we're going to take handcuffs off police," Miranda said. "What we're doing with this bill is putting the handcuffs on the community."
Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, said the proposed legislation has resulted in Arizona being called the "Alabama of the 21st century" and a police state. He said national groups are urging boycotts.
"This is extremely un-American," he said. "To have the rest of the world look at the state of Arizona in this light is very damaging."
Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor echoed that sentiment.
"Is this really going to be a state that people are going to want to come to, whether to visit on a temporary basis or as a business wanting to relocate here?" Landrum Taylor asked. "Our state will be going completely backward."
Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, took it even further.
This piece of legislation are tactics that were used in Nazi Germany," Aboud said of the requirement that individuals be able to show paperwork.
Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Apache Junction, said this legislation will cost financially struggling cities millions in lawsuits and have a "chilling effect" on public safety by making people afraid to report crime and forcing officers to focus on immigration instead of crimes like human smuggling or drug trafficking.
"It's very popular to jump on the bandwagon and scapegoat a race of people," Rios said. "But the devil is in the details. This bill will not do what many have said it would. It will create more problems for our state."
Several in support of the measure said they are simply doing what they have to do in the face of the federal government doing nothing.
"The U.S. Constitution says the federal government shall protect states from foreign invasion," Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said. "The federal government has not done that. People are being attacked … Arizona needs to act."
The bill is the latest aimed at cementing the state's reputation as the leader in tough and controversial immigration-control measures. Arizona has about 460,000 undocumented immigrants, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Currently, immigration offenses are violations of federal law, something most local law-enforcement agencies cannot enforce.