Free Racism Class Essay 1 Essay Sample
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Arizona is one of the states in the United States of America and happens to border Mexico. Recently, in April 2004, the state passed a new immigration law in order to curb illegal immigration into the state. The new law was made legal after being signed by the Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. The bill poses some controversial issues because even before it had been signed into law, the US president, Barack Obama had strongly been opposed to the bill (Ed Hornick, p 1).
What was the bill about?
The law, according to Coroan Brezina in the book 'Arizona: past and present' seeks to address the issue of illegal immigration into Arizona. The author continues to say that immigration has always been a controversial issue throughout the history of the US and most Americans have been unhappy with the inflow of foreigners into the country, who in their opinion are poor and uneducated. This is in the view that in the mid nineteenth century, around ten million immigrant flowed in from Europe and the situation only got worse towards the end of the same century (Coroan, p 56).
Why was it passed?
The immigration bill was therefore passed in order to restrict movement into the state by foreigners, so as to control population growth. One of the major things that the law seeks to do is to ensure that all immigrants into the state carry their alien registration documents whenever they are in the territories of Arizona. The law gives the law enforcement arm, which is the police force, to question aliens in case there is reason to suspect the legality of their being in Arizona. The bill, to the advantage of Arizona, targets those people who hire foreign laborers illegally, hence denying citizens the opportunity to get job placements in their own country. It also seeks to curb the issue of human trafficking as has been a habit for many years, not only in Arizona but also in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois and Kansas among others. Arizonans have been up in arms for a long time, asking the government to beef up crackdowns on illegal immigrants, who in their opinion, will never ever get assimilated into the American society. Arizona, for many years has been a major crossing point into America for many immigrants especially from the Mexican territories. As a very strict measure, the law has come with restrictions on the type of social services that foreign immigrants are entitled to. This is after seeing that many states, Arizona included, have been denied government contracts because of having employed more immigrants than locals in many firms. As such, the bill aims to control and regulate employment issues as well (Coroan, p 56).
How did the bill affect the immigrant population?
The immigrant population, especially the Hispanics, will definitely be affected in a number of ways, bearing in mind that they are the population that the new immigration bill that has been passed into law targets more than anybody else. One of the ways in which they will be affected is that children of illegal immigrants will not be entitled to birth certificates, hence denying them the right to become citizens of America. According to the CNN wires staff report, many Arizonans are strongly supporting the bill because, after all, the 'anchor-babies' as the children of illegal immigrants are known, do not contribute much in solving the problems being faced in Arizona, but contribute even the more to them.
Critics of the new law are of the opinion that the new law will cause some racial profiling in Arizona. This is because, according to the critics, the police force does not have enough knowledge or training on how to deal with individuals or people of a certain racial group past the racial issues. The law also paints a negative picture of immigrants as in depicted in the governor's statement after she had signed the bill into law, "...am committed to protecting Arizona from crime that is as a result of illegal immigration...." This means that crime is attributed to immigrants while it could also be possible that the highest percentage of crime is committed by locals. In addition, since the law tends to make the failure to carry identification documents a crime for the immigrants, this would give the police broad powers of detaining anyone suspected of being in Arizona illegally. This is an infringement of human rights (CNN Wire Staff, p2).
How has the bill affected racial relations in the state and what other problems did it bring up?
It is very likely that the bill will elicit a lot of racial profiling in the state of Arizona. In the minds of many citizens of the country, immigrants are just 'another group of human being who are poor, uneducated, and who will never be assimilated into the American culture.' Racial profiling is the discrimination against people of a given ethnic background, in the belief that they are less powerful or that they are inferior because of their origins. Also known as racism, its is seen as the hatred of a people by another on the basis of differences in skin color, language, place of birth or even language. Racial profiling is grounded on the belief that people of different races should remain segregated from people of other races.
As this paper outlined earlier, it is likely that immigrants, whom the law seeks to keep at bay, will be treated on the basis of racial profiling, simply because they do not belong to the country. This will also pose a challenge to those foreigners who are in the country legally. The fact that aliens will be required to carry their documents of identification, unlike their counterparts who are citizens of the country, presents the nation with some notion of racism. This will affect not only social relations in the country, but might extend as far as economically and politically because no country will want to associate with a racist country.
Other problems the bill brought up include some catastrophic impacts that will come as a result of minor becoming more reluctant to report crimes. This is because, after all, if they are from the race targeted, then they may not want to jeopardize their citizenship. Furthermore, officers will be put in a position in which they will not be able to defend the law without being discriminatory against immigrants. In addition, departments will have to incur costs that they may not even be able to afford in order to train and fight lawsuits. Gascon, a former Mesa police chief, has been reported to say that with the poor birth rates reported in Arizona, the last thing the country needed was some law enforcement that would restrict the movement of potential employees from other countries as the law had done (CNN Wire Staff, p2).
While other states like Oklahoma and Wisconsin are looking at the bill and trying to pass something on similar lines, the effect on immigrant status in the country will be that immigration into the country will be restricted to very strict levels. This is because, fear of detention because of the mere fact that one happens not to have their identity documents at the time of arrest will tend to keep people off. In addition, nobody wants to be associated with rising crime levels, simply because they are not citizens of the country (Corona, p57)