Immigration is considered a major problem to many in the United States. Some even refer to this tide of new American citizens as an ‘invasion.’ States that share a border with Mexico have a particularly harsh view of the situation, being as they have to deal with most of the security that comes along with keeping the borders secure. Arizona in particular shares a large border with our neighbors and, as a response to the influx of illegal immigrants, has passed some laws which threaten the civil rights of many American citizens.
The Arizona law which has gained this attention is one in which police are required to check the immigration status of anyone that they suspect to be in the country illegally. In addition, suspected (though not necessarily proven) undocumented immigrants can be arrested without a warrant. It also makes it a crime for immigrants who are in the country legally to walk the streets without having their papers – similar to the way many fascist states work. This law has proven problematic to say the least, prompting judges to put a halt to it.
Despite the obvious violations of human rights and degradation of American citizens, the biggest problem with the law is that the enforcement of it is left to the discretion of officers who are not trained in immigration enforcement. This inevitably leads to profiling and racism, as anyone who looks even remotely Mexican can be stopped and potentially imprisoned.
This will lead to people being harassed for no good reason other than the way they look. Those of Mexican or similar decent will not be able to go about their daily business without the potential of being stopped and asked to prove that they belong. God forbid a Mexican-American attempt to travel around the state of Arizona, as they would no doubt be stopped and jailed on multiple occasions.
These sorts of laws turn those of ethnic decent into second-class citizens and make law enforcement into nannies. It also gives officers more power than they need, leading to the potential for more abuse. To make matters worse, if they do find someone in the country illegally and jail them, since they don’t have the official capacity to deport them they have to call the feds to come in. If the feds happen to be busy, the person in question gets released.
Though the law is currently on hold, the US Supreme Court will be making a ruling soon to determine whether to put it back into place or not. So far, reports on the Supreme Courts’ opinion suggest they will be supporting the law, though the final say won’t be known until June. If this law goes into play, it means serious consequences to human rights in America and the degradation of our own Mexican-American population. There can be no justice when such laws exist, formed and passed by a state that doesn’t wish to deal with the problem on a more realistic level, but instead feeling that a few friendly causalities are worth the price of halting illegal immigration.