The bill known in Arizona as SB 1070 is a state law promulgated by the State Senate of Arizona and is considered the strictest and most sweeping control measure against illegal immigration in the United States of America in the last decades.
The bill is called the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.” Under this law, it is a state misdemeanor for a foreigner to be in Arizona without carrying his documents of identification required by federal law. The bill also augments the application of federal immigration laws at the state and local level, and takes harsh measures against those who house, hire, or transport illegal immigrants. According to its supporters, the motive behind this law can be called “attrition through enforcement,” meaning weakening resistance through pressure by legal means. In the case of illegal immigrants, this pressure is meant to obligate those who wish to immigrate to the United States, to do so in accordance to the laws established by the government, and for those who are already in the country illegally, to consider returning to their home country.
Due to protests — especially in Arizona, where 28 percent of its population is Hispanic and mostly Mexican — Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed HB 2162 into law this past Apr. 30, an amendment to SB 1070.
These modifications eliminate the possibility of the local police (state and municipal) to use racial profiling as a motive to detain an individual. It also maintains that persons can identify themselves to the police with a valid driver’s license from Arizona or another state, identification as a member of a native tribe recognized in the state, or with any other valid form of identification.
The amendment clarifies that the authorities can interrogate or question a person about their legal immigration status only when there is “legal contact” — meaning, when there is “a lawful stop, detention or arrest” in the application of any other law or ordinance in a county, city, or town in the state of Arizona.
Prior to this amendment, the law originally proposed that any person walking down the street (for example, in Phoenix) who is suspected by the police of being undocumented, can be stopped and arrested until he or she could prove legal residence in the country. Now, [the police] will not be able to do that. The amendment also prevents breaking into homes suspected of housing illegal immigrants without a warrant.
After conducting polls in relation to the Arizona law SB 1070, or the anti-immigration bill, the results are shocking. A majority of Americans know about the law and a larger percentage favor it than oppose it. Almost 60 percent of the population is in favor of the above-mentioned law.
This law was approved by the Arizona legislature as a response to the lack of action taken by the federal government. And its purpose is to confront migratory problems that the states adjacent to the Mexican border suffer. The Democrats have considered working on the issue, but given public opinion in the U.S., they do not believe that there would be popular support to abolish or water down SB 1070. In fact, it is believed that other southwestern border states could come out with similar legislation.
The American people’s feelings can be summed up in the words of one housewife, who when asked about her opinion on the bill, responded: “Let them come in droves, but come in accordance with the law. Why do they have to come violating our immigration laws? What would other countries think if “the gringos” invaded them like wetbacks, violating their immigration laws?”
Personally, what calls my attention are the comments made by other countries’ governments that claim to be against the measures established by said Arizona immigration law, because it violates the illegal immigrants’ human rights inside the U.S. But the reality is that these illegal immigrants are looking for the “American dream” because in their countries of origin, the government has violated their most basic human rights. For example, the right to a job and the right to three meals a day. Who am I to criticize a neighbor that feeds my children, who ask for food because I, being inept and lazy, do not provide that necessity?
Who are our Costa Rican neighbors to talk about respect of human rights for Nicaraguan illegal immigrants who go there looking for the “Costa Rican dream,” because in our dream they don’t have work or three hot meals? Who are the Spanish to talk about human rights for immigrants that move to their country? Or the Italians? Or especially, the Mexicans; whose coyotes in complicity with the authorities, rape, steal, con, or kill those who dare pass through their country in search of the border at the Rio Grande?
Ladies and gentlemen, let us be more honest with ourselves. Let us work so that our people do not abandon our country for lack of work or food. So that there may be no more children on the streets begging, or mothers with children on their laps begging at stoplights under the harsh sun, or elderly people scavenging in dumpsters looking for each day’s meal. Let us think more about how to save a dying Nicaragua.
Let us not see the garbage in foreign eyes when we have been unable to clean our own.
Edited by Gheanna Emelia