Racially suspicious

Arizona governor Jan Brewer is the latest politician to pass through a pathetic substitution for immigration reform. On April 23, Brewer signed SB 1070 into Arizona State law.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer is the latest politician to pass through a pathetic substitution for immigration reform. On April 23, Brewer signed SB 1070 into Arizona State law.

The law, titled “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” is perhaps the most simple-minded piece of legislation attempting to solve a complex problem in recent memory. The bill has been met with fierce opposition, and justly so. Despite some of the questionable provisions of this law, to be sure, it can join the ranks of Brewer’s history of ridiculous legislation including, but not limited to, allowing concealed guns inside of bars. Don’t forget that SB 1070 acts on the premise of safe neighborhoods.

The law allows police officers to question people about their immigration status and to request to see their papers only on “reasonable suspicion.” A mere requirement of reasonable suspicion may sound like a recipe for blatant racial profiling to your average sensible American, but thankfully, Brewer has cleared this up for the public. Brewer claims to have personally worked to incorporate new aspects of the bill, specifically language that would prohibit officers from using race or national origins alone when acting within this law.

It is unclear exactly what, then, would inform a reasonable suspicion, but we can all breathe a little more easily knowing that the likes of John McCain, the epitome of white, might well be requested to prove he is authorized to be in the U.S. (just kidding John, you look like you could be in a commercial for a life insurance policy, not an illegal immigrant). It is time to out the purple elephant in the room: Conservative folks. We all know this law is about Mexicans, particularly the illegal immigrants that make up about 10 percent of your labor force, working the jobs that you won’t. You can be honest—just embrace your subtle racism.

The most absurd element of the legislation, besides the unashamed racial profiling at work that borders on discrimination, is that it is detrimental to the cause it espouses to advance. The alleged interest of the bill is that it will help to curb illegal activities perpetrated by illegal immigrants, such as drug trafficking and human trafficking. But if police officers are busy questioning average Hispanic individuals—who make up roughly 29.1 percent of Arizona’s population—isn’t there a basic mismanagement of resources? Shouldn’t our officers be investigating the illegal activities themselves? The answer should be yes.

Officers should be tackling actual crime—which is why previous legislation allowed for officers to request proof of authorization only if a suspected illegal immigrant was violating some other crime. Furthermore, the law-abiding hard-working immigrants that are un-authorized are already fearful of the vengeful eyes of Narcos (drug-traffickers) and Coyotes (human-traffickers).

It is unlikely that SB 1070 will encourage good-willed illegal immigrants’ cooperation with law enforcement in bringing down suspected drug and human traffickers. It will only add the fear of deportation to a community that has been alienated on both sides of the border.

It has been suggested that every legal immigrant in the state of Arizona should show up on Jan Brewer’s doorstep to prove they are authorized to be in the U.S., and why should we not be promoters of this idea?

After all, she has suggested to the rest of the country that mismanaging precious time and resources is a prized value in Arizona. Is Oregon next? The good people of that state should not let police officers have the blood on their hands when all they are trying to do is their job. Shouldn’t Brewer herself take on that position since it is of such vital importance to her?