By Joe Skoog ’13
The language used in the controversial Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s attempt at immigration reform, could only be called xenophobic.
The bill states that law enforcement officials can ask for proof of citizenship through, as the bill states, “lawful contact,” which means any contact with a person suspected of being an undocumented immigrant.
This means that law enforcement is, by default, encouraged to use racial profiling to detain people suspected of being undocumented and attempts to make being Hispanic a crime.
The bill uses the term “alien” instead of “undocumented” to try to make them seem different and somehow less deserving of the rights that others in America enjoy.
Supporters have tried to say this bill is vital to our state’s security, when in reality there have been no terrorist attacks credited to anyone who has come across the Arizona border undocumented.
Additionally, proponents of the bill have said undocumented immigrants cost the state billions of dollars because they do not pay taxes and receive emergency medical care.
Both of these arguments are inherently untrue.
According to Shikha Dalmia in an article for the Reason Foundation, two thirds of undocumented immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes.
This doesn’t even take into account the sales tax undocumented immigrants pay every time they buy something.
Also, what they fail to say is that, according to Shirley Lee-Jackson in an interview on “On the Record,” 18,000 undocumented immigrants die every year because they can only receive emergency care in the United States.
Looking at that argument, is it correct to assume that proponents of SB1070 are willing to let thousands of innocent people die just to save the state money?
Even with the current law, immigrants are continuing to cross the border into Arizona and still are only receiving emergency care.
Another argument for the passage of SB1070 is that it prevents crime and makes Arizona safer.
This is no justification for allowing police officers to profile people based upon someone’s race.
SB1070 allows for state-sanctioned racism and attempts to view all people of Hispanic descent as being threats to the security of Arizona.
At Brophy, one of the first things we are taught as a freshman is to be committed to justice.
With this in mind, students should speak out and try to have this piece of legislation repealed.
Senate Bill 1070 serves as a stark reminder that prejudice and xenophobia are still prevalent today.
As Brophy students, we should stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves and stop the injustice of this bill.
SB1070 creates fear, tension in community – http://wp.me/pIfpv-Aa
Four months into law, debate over SB1070 legality lingers – http://wp.me/pIfpv-A6
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 defends Arizona borders – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zw