Arizona: A Police State?

December 6, 2011

Political action


Arizona has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants living there, which is five times the amount it had in 1990.  Because of it close proximity to Mexico and vast desserts the Arizona border has become a floodgate for illegal immigrants to make their way into the United States.  As a response to this growing problem, the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, signed a bill in April 2010 called SB1070 or “The Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.” This bill quickly became the center of a national controversy because of its extremely strict take on immigration.

This law stated that all immigrants must have their immigration papers on them at all times and allowed for police officers to stop anyone of suspicion and ask for their proof of identification or immigration papers, if they do not have their papers they can be charge with a misdemeanor.  Even if the person was legally living in the U.S. they can be taken to jail.  Although this is an efficient way to slowdown illegal immigration, it also takes away from the freedoms of U.S. citizens who may come from Spanish descent and are living in the United States legally.

What this law does is essentially turning Arizona into a police state; these types of methods are similar (although to a lesser extent) to what took place in Nazi Germany. Jews were forced to register themselves and carry around documentation saying they were Jewish. These laws, which made it illegal to be Jewish without identification, were the first steps in the mass genocide that was the holocaust. Although I do not think that SB1070 will lead to this, it will profoundly affect the rights of those immigrants living in the U.S. legally as well as illegally.

This law has other major effects on the safety of several communities in Arizona, if someone is living here illegally or legally but they don’t have their paper and need to report a crime to the authorities they are much less likely to do it because it could result in their arrest.  This law inhibits police officials from doing their jobs of providing safety for those who really need it.

Illegal immigration has become a huge problem in the United States however “The Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” is not the answer, and rightfully so a federal judge has put a hold on the bill becoming active.  Politicians such as President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have openly denounced the law. Obama said in a public statement that SB 1070 “undermines basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”  The controversy circles around what freedoms are we willing to sacrifice in order to keep illegal immigrants out? Also what freedoms do illegal immigrants still have in our country?

If we looked at this situation through the perspective of what we know about Malcolm X, he would most like state that those people with Spanish descendants should separate from the community that is inhibiting their freedoms.  In a country that is built on the freedom of its citizens and equal opportunity to all, it should be our priority to uphold these freedoms, not to limit the freedoms of other who aren’t citizens.

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4 Comments on “Arizona: A Police State?”

  1. jordanwylie Says:

    I think the issue with illegal immigrants has been blown completely out of proportion. Yes, there are tons of Mexicans coming across the border to Arizona, but can you honestly blame them? Their lives are miserable there. Many Americans can’t even begin to comprehend what live is like there. The poorest people here are still much better off than the poorest people there. Becoming a US citizen should not be this hard. I believe as long as the person can demonstrate that they are not a burden to society they should be able to stay and gain citizenship. This law in Arizona should be ended. It is completely against what the American people stand for. We are supposed to be a melting pot and provide better lives for all. By questioning every person on the street who has dark features is an invasion of privacy. It also isn’t fair to those who happen to forget their papers. Their entire livelihood should not be on the line because they forgot some paper. Illegal aliens tend to work three times as hard as any American citizen. They are forced to take jobs for less pay in order to survive. Imagine how productive they could be as a legal citizen.

  2. elotis Says:

    I am not in favor of SB 1070 because I believe it carries the notion of “police state” with it, however, I am not utterly opposed to the idea of immigrants having to carry some sort of ID with them. Carrying their papers with them everywhere they go is not an efficient solution, but some minor form of ID would work. While I am overall opposed to this bill, I do think illegal immigration needs to be curbed, in some way or another. Yes, their lives are miserable in Mexico, but just because I sympathize with them, doesn’t mean I think it’s right that they can use the resources that legal citizens work for. With that said, I think the solution to this is easing the process in which people obtain citizenship One of my roommates is from Canada and it seriously is the biggest hassle for her to try and gain citizenship here. She has even lived in the state of Michigan for 8 years and still pays out of state tuition! The process should not be so lengthy and bureaucratic and if this was fixed, the amount of illegal immigration would be reduced and bills like SB 1070 would not be needed.

  3. nluongo Says:

    Not touching on the infringement of rights, I think that this bill is a bit misguided in what it is expected to accomplish. It is supposed to prevent illegal immigration by kicking out immigrants found by police as well as keep new ones from coming here by intimidating them. First, local police are not going to be able to make any noticeable difference in the number of illegal immigrants in a state by picking individuals up off the street. Second, people will only stop trying to come here when they are no longer convinced that the US is a better place to live than Mexico. Even with this bill that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. This bill will only serve to impede civil liberties with little to no benefit to anyone.

  4. mzselig Says:

    To preface this comment, I would like to say that I am opposed to SB1070. That being said, I do believe that there is some validity to the argument that something needs to be done about illegal immigration into the US from Mexico. While the restrictions and powers put into place and granted through the implementation of SB1070 are hugely blown out of proportion, I do believe that there should be something done about illegal immigration.
    The flood of illegals entering this country has hit an all-time high in recent years and, while not causing the kinds of problems some lawmakers and talking-heads have claimed, there is validity to the argument that some sort of legal action should be taken to prevent the immigration of illegals into this country. Illegal immigration from Mexico into the US is inherently illegal but the kinds of actions taken by the Arizona State government goes against all that the US and constitution stands for. This country is one that was founded by immigrants and has flourished as a land of prosperity and a beacon of hope for all that yearn for a better life. Illegal immigration to this country is not the only option for these people! One who is not from the US can legally move here and apply for citizenship. This course of action does not involve paying a drug cartel, in all likelihood, to smuggle you across the boarder in search of a better life.
    SB1070 violates not only the constitution but also the moral values we hold dear in this country. While illegal immigration is an issue that must be addressed, it is not one that should be dealt with based on illegal and disgusting laws.

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