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The immigration bill in Arizona focuses on the movement of aliens or foreigners in the country. Arizona, as literature review will show, has been faced with a lot of problems and issues that the country has had to tackle as a result of the influx of immigrants who have now flooded the country. As statistics show, the country is hosting millions and millions of foreigners who have found their way into the borders of Arizona in the name of job searching. As a result, the crime rates have gone high, and all this has been attributed to the increasing immigrant numbers in the country. In addition, unemployment rates for the local citizens have gone significantly high because apparently, all the jobs 'have been taken up by foreigners.' This in itself already forms a basis on which citizens are likely to discriminate against the immigrants (Michael, p 126). It is in this view that the governor of Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill on immigration into law early this year. The bill, in essence, seeks to reduce the levels of immigration into Arizona, and at the same time, seek out any illegal immigrants that are living in Arizona contrary to the immigration law. The law states that all immigrants should always carry with them their identification documents whenever they are in the country. In connection to this, the police have a right to stop a person, ask for his identification documents, and detain him on suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. It is hoped that by so doing, illegal immigrants will be netted and deported accordingly.
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Many of the immigrants in Arizona are from the bordering Mexican land and Hispanics, who in the eyes of Arizonans are poor and uneducated fellows. The immigration law hence seeks to address the border management issues that seem to be providing a loophole into how Hispanics find their way into Arizona. Arizonans are of the view that these immigrants are low-life people who will 'never be fit into the American lifestyle (Michael, p126).
Why the Arizona immigration bill was passed
The Arizona immigration bill was passed with a view of bringing down the level of movement into the country, especially by people considered illegal into the country. Many critics of the law view this law as a target to the Hispanics as their numbers are more than of any other group of immigrants. Another reason as to why the bill was passed was to deal with the increased cases of human trafficking. It had come to the attention of the top officials in Arizona that many citizens were involved in the act of trafficking humans from other countries as a source of cheap labor. In praise of the new bill, Russell Pearce, the republican state senator was quoted saying, '....handcuffs are a wonderful tool...on the people they are supposed to be on...... Illegal does not refer to a particular race, but to a crime...'although this was meant to imply that the law does not target any particular group of people, the reasons behind why it was passed has elicited a lot of debate within Arizona nationals (Eric, p 54)
Does the new immigration law affect the immigrant population and in what ways?
The law has affected the immigrant population in Arizona and the whole of the US region in a number of ways as outlined; To begin with, the law requires that immigrants specifically carry their identification documents with them whenever they are within the confines of Arizona. If they do not present their documents on demand, they are prone to be jailed. This poses the question 'how would one be able to tell if a person walking along the street is carrying his documents or not?' This will definitely give rise to racial policing because for a police person to walk up to such a person and ask for their documents means that he will be guided by some characteristics that point to the fact that the individual is not an Arizona national. This is racism at its highest. Immigrants into Arizona, whether with documents or not, are likely to start feeling out of place because it is likely that at any given time they are prone to be detained, just in case they happen not to have their documents at any particular time. The law also poses a challenge because it gives the police the right to hold someone custody on suspicion that they are in the country illegally. What will be the basis of the suspicions? Won't this give a leeway to the police to take advantage even of innocent and legal immigrants?
According to some research done just a day before the bill was signed into law, respondents expressed their feelings towards the law and a man from the Spanish origin was quoted saying, '...have always felt at home in Arizona, but...I feel all alone.' This is after he had been attacked by some Arizonans who had first referred to him as a 'stupid Mexican.' Another one, an immigrant for that matter, was reported saying that the bill will infringe on their rights as human beings. It is also important to mention that according to a report published by CNN reports, the bill also infringes on the right of children born to immigrants to be given birth certificates. In other words, even though born in Arizona, they cannot gain citizenship status, at least not for as long as the bill holds waters in the country ( Eric, p 34).
How the bill has affected racial relations in the state and other problems it brought up.
Critics are of the opinion that the immigration law in Arizona is nothing more than a gate pass to racial policing. Racism refers to discrimination by one group of people against another, on the basis of their skin color, their language, background or biological make up that causes them to have some special characteristics different from the discriminating group. Racial policing therefore implies that the police will be harassing this group of people, Hispanics, in the name of enforcing the immigration law. According to another report yet by the CNN reporters, the new law will make it illegal for anyone to pick or transport another person for the purpose of giving them day labor, something that the church is up in arms against because this is simply against faith and good conscience. If immigrants are removed from the country, it also means that the gross domestic product of the country will suffer because after all, a good percentage of the labor force is made up of immigrants. It also means that the government will be doing away with a whooping 30-40% of the population, the larger part which is the productive population. The racial relations in Arizona will most definitely suffer because immigrants will always be viewed with as aspect of being criminals. As the governor stated while passing the bill into law, "...the law as a tool for curbing and fighting crime...' since the law targets immigrants, it goes without saying therefore that the immigrants are the criminals (Brian, p 24).
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Other states like Oklahoma and Wisconsin are looking at the bill and trying to come up with a law in similar lines. If this happens, the immigrant status in the US region will greatly be affected, in the sense that some people will prefer to leave to having their movements monitored every other minute. People, who were planning on moving to the US, Hispanics especially, will be very cautious and those who would hate to have their moves monitored will most likely than not do away with those plans. In as much as illegal immigration is illegal and should be dealt with, the approach is just wrong and will make immigrants look like just a group of people who have no right to live and work anywhere around the world. As in the case above of a 25-year old Spanish man who was attacked on the basis of his race, racism will become a very tough phenomenon to wipe out of the US. Children born to immigrants will find it hard to establish their true identity, born in the US but do not have the citizenship of the country. At some point, the bill states that there are some social services that the immigrants will not be entitled to. What picture does this portray? That they are less human? Employers of 'illegal' employees also face the risk of being fined and their business licenses withdrawn if they happen to be caught. This law contravenes the ruling made by the Supreme Court in the year 1982, which stated that all states must educate illegal immigrants through the twelfth grade because how then will this be possible if 'illegal' children will not even be entitled to a birth certificate leave alone an education policy (Brian, p 54)?