Some Concerned over New Arizona Anti-immigration Law
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a tough, new anti-immigration law into effect on Friday. Since then leaders from San Francisco to metro Detroit have been protesting and even threatening to boycott the state.
Supporters of immigration reform say the controversy will actually help focus public attention on the issue. They are planning a rally in Ann Arbor on Saturday where the president will address the graduates of the University of Michigan.
The new Arizona laws gives police the power to question anyone reasonably suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, and people are now required to carry papers proving their right to be in the United States. If you are without papers, you can be charged with trespassing and jailed for up to six months.
Arizona’s governor argued the tough law is necessary because the federal government has failed to stem the tide of undocumented immigrants in Arizona.
“We can not stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life,” said Brewer.
Elena Herrada is a community activist in southwest Detroit and with the Social Justice Program at Marygrove College. She sees Arizonia’s law as unjust and unworkable.
“A pretty extreme law that basically comes down to almost ethnic cleansing for the state of Arizona,” she said. “How are they going to do that especially given the history of Arizona? Arizona belonged to Mexico. So, there’s people that have been there long before the border.”
Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations fears ethnic and religious profiling in Arizona.
“If a Muslim female is driving close to the border and she has on hijab, then perhaps that may make her look un-American to some people in Arizona law enforcement. If someone is Latino, they may be pulled (over) if they’re driving close to the border simply because they’re Latino,” he said.
Critics say the new Arizona law and any that might be modeled on it only create confusion and more problems.
“I know it’s a terrible, difficult, painful thing, but it will actually force people to realize how much the entire country is interwoven and how we can’t possibly separate each other on the lines of these statuses,” said Herrada.
“This bigoted law may actually be a blessing in disguise because this bigoted law in Arizona has now brought the immigration reform debate back to the national forefront,” said Walid.