Governor Brewer disappointed the entire nation by signing into law the controversial statute which basically gives the Arizona State and local law enforcement personnel tools to racially profile. The law created a separate offense for foreign nationals who violate federal immigration laws and allows state and local police officers to arrest and detain such individuals upon reasonable suspicion that they have violated federal immigration laws. The Arizona’s Signature of this bill means that it now is part of the Arizona laws and will be enforced immediately.
This is a sad day for America as neither Governor Brewer nor the Arizona Legislature understand the impact of this statute on our country’s stance on civil liberties and on Arizona’s economy. For instance the Immigration Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think-tank organization, released a short study regarding the cost of Arizona’s anti immigration Legislation. The study predicts that Arizona risks to lose about $38 billion in economic activity at a time when the state has a $3 billion deficit. You do the math; the proposed law is both unwise economically and threatens the very essence of civil liberties that our country was based.
Some States have declared that they will follow suit by instituting similar laws. For instance in Ohio, State Senator Tim Grendell of Cleveland has announced that he will be introducing a bill in Ohio modeled after the Arizona SB 1070. The Ohio Proposal is currently in draft mode and Senator Grendell is looking for co-sponsors. Frankly, these moves by Arizona, and may be soon to follow Ohio, is a sign of the frustration that the States are facing for Congress’ failure to resolve the status of the 12 million undocumented aliens now present in our midst in the US.
Shortly after the Arizona Governor signed SB 1070 into law, President Obama declared that the law is “misguided.” The American Immigration Lawyer Association held an emergency meeting, which I attended, and almost unanimously voted to boycott the State of Arizona from the fall Board of Governor’s Board Meeting which was planned to be held in Scottsdale this September. The American Civil Liberties Union called this law unconstitutional and provided a section by section analysis of the statute.
It remains to be seen whether this law will pass constitutional muster. One positive sign is that although unfortunate, this law will bring the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the forefront again. We hope that the nation will realize that CIR must be a priority for America.