Arizona, Here We Come...NOT!

ArizonaFriday, April 23, 2010 was a day that will be remembered by many. On this day, Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law bill SB 1070 – “Immigration; Law Enforcement; Safe Neighborhoods”.

While the controversial law (which goes into effect sometime this summer) is written to require that lawful contact be made, law enforcement officers might stop any person with reasonable suspicion of being illegal and ask about their immigration status. If the person cannot produce documentation that would validate their legal status, they would be arrested.

Some are concerned that the Arizona law promotes racial profiling and division in communities. Others feel this was a necessary step to control the immigration problem in the state. Arizona, with an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants has the busiest stretch of illegal crossings in the country.

The Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Alessandra Soler Meetze, commented: "By signing this bill into law, Brewer has just authorized violating the rights of millions of people living and working here. She has just given every police agency in Arizona a mandate to harass anyone who looks or sounds foreign, while doing nothing to address the real problems we're facing."

President Obama has asked the Justice Department to investigate possible civil rights implications as he felt the law threatens to "undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe…"

At the signing of the law, Governor Brewer, acknowledging the law being highly controversial, stated, “We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act”.

There is talk now in Washington to make immigration reform a priority both in the Senate and in the House.

Will Immigration Reform still happen this year? It might… One thing is for sure though; this debate will most probably continue to bring the best and the worst out in each of us.

No matter what happens, our summer vacation plans may not include Arizona this year… You know, I wouldn’t want to be stopped “while driving brown…”

I thank you for reading, and for your comments.

Orlando Gil
Training Connections-Translation Services
“Helping Bridge the Gap with The Latino Workforce in the Agricultural Industry”