Sunday, 9 May 2010

Arizona Immigration law, signed 23-04-10

On April 23rd 2010, Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona, signed 'the nation's toughest Bill on illegal immigration' ( into law. Aimed at systematically identifying, prosecuting and deporting more illegal immigrants from the state of Arizona, the Bill risks racial profiling Hispanic immigrants, whether legal or illegal, and subjecting them to ultimately 'prodecural' discrimination. The New York Times also reported Cardinal Roger M Mahoney of Los Angeles saying that, 'the authorities’ ability to demand documents was like “Nazism.” ', ( Indeed, the demanding of citizens' proof will create unease and tension between Hispanic communities and authorities of Arizona. Arizona boasts a 30.1% (Census 2008) Hispanic population; a figure that can't be ignored or easily subjected to pressure from government.

The Border Action Network, a democratic, leftist group who I looked at in detail in previous weeks, immediately setup rallies and protests in retaliation against the Bill. As they stress on their website, the Bill is now headed for a federal court challenge because, '[it] would result in widespread, pervasive discrimination on the basis of race and national origin, with irreparable harm dealt to those who are unlawfully arrested under this unconstitutional law.'

A Gallup Poll, conducted between the 1st and 2nd of May this very year found the following,

The table shows just how important reform is concerning this issue amongst a polled proportion of Americans. It is clear from the table that specifically more 'control' (42%) of borders is important to Americans, and that those questioned expect this action from their government this year.

This is a politically polarizing issue. As mentioned both by Hannah and Cherie, President Obama has criticised Arizona's position on the matter. The success of this one State at passing a Bill could signal to other Governors of border States that they too should propose similar Bills because polls like the Gallup evidently record supportive Americans. With a large proportion of Hispanics choosing to vote Democrat, (67 voted Obama in 2008 -, Obama must adopt a sensitive position on the issue as potentially future elections rely on these voters.

Ultimately this law restricts the freedoms of legal Americans too. Regardless of whether an Hispanic is legal or not, they will be subject to inspection by policemen, who Brewer claims will be 'properly trained'. She goes on to say, 'We have to trust our law enforcement'. But with the cracks in law enforcement that came to light in 1991 in the Rodney King police brutality case, trust in law enforcement concerning racial profiling could appear fractured.

After the successful passing of the Healthcare Bill, Obama's focus now remains on passing an energy Bill concerning American industries and the environment. This current concern over immigration risks overshadowing Obama's energy Bill plans and encourages Americans to question what is more important, the control of current immigration 'problems' or the need to address American environment and world politics on Climate Change. A nationally focused issue versus an international one.

The Arizona Senate Primaries are scheduled for 24th August 2010. Where potential candidates situate themselves on this issue will be critical to their results. According to The Rasmussen Reports (, '"91% [of respondents] say a candidate's position on immigration is at least somewhat important to how they will vote, with 67% who say it is very important."
The Arizona race sees incumbent John McCain versus Conservative J.D. Hayworth. McCain has said,

''If you don't like the legislation that the legislature passed and the governor signed in Arizona, then carry out the federal responsibilities, which are to secure the border — you probably wouldn't have had this problem."

Hayworth has also said that he strongly backs the law but accuses McCain of changing his position on Immigration for strategical political gain. The divide in the GOP which this issue is producing, put pressure on such potential candidates as they assess their Conservative stance and loyalty.

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