By John C. Marston ’13 & Brett Mejia ’13
The Arizona legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 1070 April 20 set off a wave of rhetoric and sparked a national debate on immigration.
The main point for both opposition and support is the provision in the bill that allows law enforcement the right to ask people when reasonable suspicion exists if they are in the country illegally. Proponents of the bill say it will lead to a lower flow of immigration into the state and will save government revenue.
“Senate Bill 1070 isn’t a new immigration law or creating any new authorities,” said State Rep. Steve Montenegro in an interview with The Roundup. “It is telling certain Arizona counties that you can’t prevent a police officer from acting on laws.”
Rep. Montenegro said 1070 is a response to national authorities not enforcing immigration laws.
He spoke of the plight of undocumented immigrants as not a cultural or ethnic problem, but a matter of enforcing the rule of law.
Critics of the bill say it will lead to systematic racial profiling, burden the taxpayer and enable a climate of fear.
“Remember, it’s not just 1070,” said Arizona Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-7) to Esquire Magazine.
Rep. Grijalva has called for an economic boycott of the state to show opposition to the bill. Rep. Grijalva said the banning of ethnic studies programs in public schools, the Arizona Department of Education’s decree to schools that teachers with “heavy” or “ungrammatical” accents are no longer allowed to teach English and the calls for the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment all have snowballed into making brown skinned individuals unwelcome in the state.
Several leading civil-rights groups have sued Arizona over the law, including the federal Justice Department. The law suit was filed on July 6.
One main argument against the bill is that immigration is a federal issue. The racial profiling clause is also present in many lawsuits.
On July 28, 2010, Federal Judge Susan Bolton temporarily repealed hotly-debated sections of the bill, including the “reasonable suspicion” clause and the provision allowing the questioning of a prisoners’ immigration status. Other sections were left to stand.
These include a clause making it illegal for an undocumented worker to solicit work in a public place or work in Arizona and incriminates citizens who hire undocumented workers.
The bill’s constitutionality will be appealed up through the courts and could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
SB1070 creates fear, tension in community – http://wp.me/pIfpv-Aa
Reports, claims vary on SB1070’s economic impact – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zV
Staff Editorial: Immigration bill fails to solve issue – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zI
SB1070 promotes bigoted rhetoric – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zz
SB1070 defends Arizona borders – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zw