Comprehensive immigration reform moved to the front burner this afternoon at 4:30 ET. At that moment, saying she did not know what an “illegal alien” looked like, Governor Janice Brewer criminalized her entire state. She signed a bill into law (SB 1070) that presumed every person in the state of Arizona to be an “illegal alien,” and she made being an “illegal alien” a crime. If Arizona recognizes that racial profiling is illegal, and if the Governor herself cannot categorize what her law enforcement will be forming reasonable suspicion about, then everyone is presumed guilty.
In so doing, Governor Brewer joined southern governors during the 1950s and early 60s in nullifying the constitution and federal civil rights law. Arizona has just become the Mississippi of the 21st century. Further, to the extent SB 1070 is part of a larger Republican Party strategy– informed by the right wing nativist/Tea-bagging faction, then the southwest just became part of the GOP’s southwestern strategy which appeases old whites and writes-off swelling numbers of Hispanic voters. A stupid electoral strategy in addition to being racist and illegal.
Here’s what SB 1070 is about:
Makes it a crime to be in the country illegally ◦Requires local law enforcement and other state officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they encounter as part of a “lawful contact” if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that person is in the country illegally ◦ Race and ethnicity not to be used as sole factor but it can be used as a factor. Police can conduct warrantless arrests of anyone who cannot immediately produce documents ◦If a lawful permanent resident, can get 6 months in jail and $100 fine if don’t have papers on spot but produce them later. If residents believe local police not enforcing immigration laws, they can sue them ◦Outlaws the hiring of day laborers ◦Prohibits anyone from knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant for whatever reason
The kicker of SB 1070 is that it leaves the Hispanic community to live in fear, and shame. Just today, Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) said he will now think twive before going to see his Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez said on TV she now considers herself a target were she to go to Arizona. which leads to considerations about constitutional violations. The Obama Administration DOJ is investigating possible civil rights violations.
And perhaps the economic ramifications can hurt the state most. Congressman Raul Grijalva recommends an economic boycott of his home state. And as Keith Olbermann pointed out this evening, consider Manny Ramirez– who plays spring training in Arizona, being pulled over and arrested for not carrying his paper. Olbermann suggests it wise for major league baseball to look elsewhere for spring training next year.