Arizona legislature legalizes racial profiling
According to census data, 30.1% of Arizona’s population is of Hispanic or Latino origin.
That means that almost one third of the state’s population is now one pen stroke away from having to carry their birth certificates, passports or landed immigrant papers with them at all times – while white people will not.
According to the law passed today in the Arizona legislature, police officers in the state, barring a veto by the Governor, will be obligated to ask anyone who they have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally to produce proof of legal residence. If someone who is checked is unable to produce documentation at that moment, the law requires the cops to arrest them.
When does a police officer have reason to “reasonably suspect” that one of Latin origin might be illegal?
Other than something like a rally populated by Latinos carrying signs in Spanish reading “I’m an illegal-arrest me”, your guess is as good as mine.
I am, however, pretty certain that a white face will serve as sufficient proof of your legal status while a brown face would likely produce a different result.
I have no problem with enforcing immigration laws, but to quote Reverend Al Sharpton – something that I rarely do- “two wrongs don’t make a civil right.”
If Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, allows this law to go into effect, there are two immediate responses that would be in order:
Mexico should immediately place a ban on all imports coming from Arizona. Considering that Mexico is Arizona’s number one international trading partner, this should go a long way to make the point.
Secondly, anyone who is considering a vacation in Arizona – don’t. This shouldn’t be an issue for anyone of Latin descent as risking being pulled over in the RV for a document check probably won’t produce the relaxing vacation in the sun you have in mind.
As for everyone else, do the right thing. Don’t let these people benefit from this kind of behavior. Come to California for your vacation. If you’re planning a corporate convention, stay away from Arizona. There are lots of great places out here in the west where we don’t profile and discriminate.
Remember, Arizona took 9 years to institute the Martin Luther King holiday after President Ronald Reagan signed the creation of the holiday into law. Each time an opportunity to approve the holiday went on the ballot, the good people of Arizona voted it down.
What finally made the voters come around?
A successful tourist boycott, including the NFL moving the Super Bowl from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona to the Rose Bowl in California.