Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest immigration bill last month. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. Shortly after the passing of the new immigration law, revisions were made to the original version, authorizing local and state law enforcement authorities-including the campus police to question those they suspect to be illegal immigrants and ask that they produce verification of their status.”
The law threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness which we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between policemen and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.
The bill, sponsored by Russell Pearce, a state senator and a firebrand on immigration issues, has several provisions. The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation to harassment and discrimination against Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship status. Arizona’s new immigration law has spawned calls for boycotts, a travel warning from Mexico to its citizens and possible federal lawsuits. The prospect of plunging into a national immigration debate is being increasingly talked about on Capitol Hill, spurred in part by recent statements by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and majority leader, intending to bring immigration legislation to the Senate floor after Memorial Day.
According to Jurist, a group of six UN human rights experts said that Arizona’s new immigration law could violate international standards that are binding on the US.
In addition to this unconstitutional law, censorship has been brought into the public school systems. Arizona has adopted a new measure restricting what can be taught in ethnic studies classes in the state’s public schools. Such measures were promoted by opponents of a Tucson school district program devoted to the study of Mexican-American history and culture.
Judy Burns, the president of the Tuscon district’s governing board, told LA Times the measure was misguided.