The issue of immigration has covered news heads for a long time. The issue of immigration all over the world has brought up many debates around the world. People have been witnessed trying to escape the harsh economical condition of North Africa to Europe. There are thousands of immigrants who try to enter the US each year. Already there are foreign citizens who live in the US illegally and it is feared that there is a likelihood that they might be putting some pressure on the social amenities which are meant for the US citizens. There are many other disadvantages which have been pointed out to be caused by the illegal immigrants. It is on such sentiments that the Arizona immigration Law was passed. In this paper the Arizona immigration law is discussed and views given on its effectiveness.
The Arizona Immigration Law
Arizona has been viewed as one of the states which have been adversely affected by a huge inflow of illegal immigrants. The relevant authorities had to take measures to correct that. Arizona immigration law was passed on March 23, 2010 when Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate bill 1070 into law (Warner 67). It was termed one of the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration whose aim was to “identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrant” (Archibold 1). This meant that entering of migrants and their presence in the United States without proper authorization was a state misdemeanor criminal offence. The bill gave the state and local police constitutional powers to check immigration status or any legal state documents from any suspicious individual that allows him to be in the country legally.
Criticism of the Law
The law has been severely criticized because of the loop holes it created for innocent people to be exposed to police scrutiny and possible harassment. The new immigration law was received with a lot of opposition and it immediately unleashed a nationwide protest (Archibold 2). Most of those who were against the immigration law claimed that it would trigger harassment from the police to the civilians as they would be expected to always carry and produce their identity cards whenever required to. It would also promote racial discrimination since the major suspects would be individuals with features that differ from the Native Americans like the blacks, Chinese, Asians among other races in the world.
The law would also hinder or deny international students opportunities of learning from the American institutions. This was experienced in the University of Arizona which lost a considerable number of students after the law was passed while the president of the university quoted that he had received alerts from many other parents who were considering taking their children to universities in other states. Most feared that there would be constant harassment from the police thus tainting the relationship between the police and the community.
In the US, there are laws governing the way a person is arrested. It has been that noted that actually the constitution depicts how a seizure and arrest ought to be done. The new immigration law allowed law enforcement officers to carry out warrantless arrest if the victim could not prove legal residency since there could be a possibility that the individual in question was an illegal immigrant.
The cap 1373(c) of the eighth title of the United States Code stated that once individual was arrested, he could only be released upon producing legal documents his residency in the United States of America. Failure to do this would attract a $500 fine and a jail term of up to six months. The Arizona residents were therefore required to carry such identification as “Arizona driving Licenses, Arizona non operating identification licenses” (Archibold 2) or any other legal residency document in order to avoid arrest. The law termed failure to carry identification documents as a crime.
The Arizona Immigration law was created on the basis of the misconduct of immigrants such as constant breaking of the law. The law enforcement officers also considered apprehension of illegal immigrants to the interior of the United States as deterring their efforts to prevent unauthorized entrance at the borders. Their realized that so much attention was directed towards the orders while neglecting the interiors which were the most hit by this illegal immigration (Warner 64). Border security without proper interior immigration laws enforcement would not be enough to stop illegal immigration in to the United States.
The Arizona immigration law however brought about conflict between maintaining the rights of the individual and general welfare or the national interest which involved establishing laws, policies, or programs that are determined to be for the common good which brought about controversy of human rights violations and the Arizona Immigration law passed in 2010. The major threat of this law would be Hispanics who were legal immigrants in the United States and had resided in the place for a long time (Demersseman 242). However, failure to enact this law would be allowing the many illegal immigrants in the United States to look down upon those who used legal means to migrate.
Law enforcement officers including the governor for however reacted upon the fear stricken Hispanics concerning the new Arizona immigration law by asking them to avoid rumor mongering since the law safeguarded the citizens against any form of discrimination or harassment. He quoted that the law contained several safeguards that were mainly directed towards racial discrimination meaning that the Hispanics and other races in America were actually not the target (Palin 1).
For instance, the law does not allow investigation on the bases of nationality, color or race and it further authorizes a police officer to carry out immigration status verification only after a lawful stop, detention or arrest. Such action can only be carried out by a law enforcement officer only under existence of reasonable suspicion but not on the basis of ethnicity and by merely suspecting that the alien could be illegally in the soils of the United States. However, all citizens were required to possess legal residential documents or immigration status in order to be on the safer side since the Arizona law is not a totally new document but it is rather an extension of the 58 years old federal law that illegalizes improper immigration in to the United States. This means that for an individual to be lawfully in the US, he must possess proper immigration papers.
As seen from the above, the law has both the negative and positive effects on the society. The Arizona Immigration law has got its pros and cons when we put in to consideration the general welfare of the community and the violation of human rights. Considering the general welfare of the community, the law came into force at a time when it was greatly flood due to the flood of illegal immigrants in the state.
For instance, the state’s current population is estimated to be 6.5 million people whereby an estimated half a million are illegal immigrants. The biggest challenge Arizona had was the failure of the federal government to enforce the federal immigration law that put the state in to a desperate situation. It actually came to a point when the assistant secretary of the US homeland security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raised the issue and acknowledged that Arizona law enforcement was very weak. The agency had actually vowed not to process any illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona, an action that triggered Arizona’s efforts to come up with a new immigration law (Palin 1).
On the day the law was bypassed, Arizona governor Jan Brewer asked the legal enforcement officials to begin undertaking a training program that would enable them carry out the law while abiding to the federal immigration law while protecting the civil rights of every individual. The law which was targeting the interior of Arizona coupled with border enforcement strategies would take the state a long way in fighting drug trafficking, intolerable violence levels and other related problem like terrorism.
Regardless of the many benefits that the law brought about, it had notable loopholes that would entertain violation of human rights. The attention towards violation of human rights the notion of whether human rights could be violated in order to improve the welfare of the community came in to alert when US President Barrack Obama reacted to a message directed to him by Arizona governor after the law was passed where he quoted that “our borders are being erased and the president considers it a wonderful opportunity to divide people along racial lines for is personal political convenience” (Palin 1). The president termed the new immigration law as irresponsible and misdirected effort thus causing havoc to the resident fear of violation of their right.
The protest against the new law and the question concerning the fate of human rights in Arizona was further triggered by the president’s statement concerning the new law “We are examining any implications especially for civil rights because in the united States, no law abiding citizen – be they an American citizen, illegal immigrant, a visitor o a tourist from Mexico – should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like” (Palin 1). Thus it is clear that human rights should never be violated in efforts to better the welfare of the community.
The president further indicated that the section of the law had high chances of undermining civil rights and fairness n the residents of the American states as well as deterring the trust between the police and the community. In other words, the new law that was meant to promote the welfare of the community in general like fighting drug trafficking that was prevalent especially through the Mexico border, seemed to exploit human rights in order to accomplish its mission (Palin 1).
It is a matter of fact that the issue of illegal immigrants is costly to the US. There have been arguments on whether the illegal immigrants benefit the country or not. It has been felt that in some situations the illegal immigrants have put unnecessary pressure social amenities. Some have argued that the illegal immigrants work on jobs which the whites may not take. There some states which have relatively many immigrants.
The Arizona states is one of those states that have experienced a huge inflow of the immigrants. In reaction the state came with a law which was meant to kick out the illegal immigrants out of the state. The Arizona immigration law has received a lot o criticism from various quarters. It has been said that the law undermine the freedom the citizens who live in the state as it empowers the police to engage in searching people to rule out who illegal immigrant and who are not. Authorizing the police to continue carrying out research on individual is actually a violation of the constitution.
In as much as the law is to be effective in controlling the amount illegal immigrants to the Arizona state, grievances have been aired against the law. The law has been viewed on the wrong perspective and it is said that such a law is likely to isolate its citizens along ethnic lines. It is expected that students of colored origin are likely to change from the learning institutes within Arizona to different institutes outside the state.
Archibold, Randal. Arizona Enacts Stringent Alw on Immigration. New York Times Politics, 2010. Web.
Palin, Sarah. Palin to Obama; Do your job, secure your border. CNN Politics, 2010. Web.