Arizonas New Immigration Law Is a Fundamental

Arizonas new immigration law is a fundamental violation of the principles of the Civil Rights Act of 1994, and existing federal non-discrimination legislation. The law enables police to randomly stop and demand proof of citizenship from people who the authorities think are illegal aliens. This law will obviously have a disproportionate impact upon individuals of non-white heritage, particularly Hispanics. The law “would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status” (Archibald 2010).

One of the fundamental rights of all citizens, as codified in the Bill of Rights, is the right not to be illegally searched. While some exceptions have been made for warrantless searches by the U.S. Supreme Court, such as general traffic stops to screen all individuals for drunk driving or wearing their seatbelts, this law specifically targets individuals of a particular profile — namely, those people because of their appearance or accent who seem illegal.

A legal citizen who was Hispanic, African, or Indian and spoke with an accent could conceivably be very easily detained through this law. It seems unreasonable to require all citizens who might be suspect (i.e. non-white) to carry legal evidence of citizenship — even when going for a jog around their neighborhood in the morning. The U.S. Supreme Courts decision to uphold the Arizona legislation seems fundamentally misguided and is likely to be judged by future generations as one of the worst decisions of the court during this era (Jonsson 2011; Savage 2011) . The law has been opposed by the NAACP and other groups that have historically supported civil liberties of disenfranchised Americans.

Not only is this law bad for civil liberties, it is also bad publicity abroad for America, making the nation look intolerant of individuals of different heritages, rather than the land of liberty: “Mexicos Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was worried about the rights of its citizens and relations with Arizona” (Archibald 2010). While supporters of the law.

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