Yesterday the state’s Senate approved what may be the harshest measures against undocumented migrants. The bill, which was backed last week by the House, permits local police to check if a person has their immigration papers. The proposal also “targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.”
The controversial bill is expected to be signed soon by Gov. Jan Brewer though she has yet to speak out publicly on it. Proponents of the measure contend that it will help curb crime; bill author Russell Pearce claimed that the proposal would obligate police to “get (handcuffs) on the bad guys.” Opponents, meanwhile, said that the proposal would encourage “racial profiling” by police and unfairly targets Arizona’s Latino populace. The measure has even been criticized in neighboring New Mexico where some legislators worry that “a wave of illegal immigrants” could come to their state.
The bill received the backing of Sen. John McCain who called it “a good tool” on the same day he unveiled his security-heavy immigration proposal with Sen. John Kyl.
A silver lining to the controversial proposal may be that this forces federal officials content to brush off immigration to tackle the urgent need for reform. An editorial in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle succinctly said it best:
Members of the U.S. House and Senate should take Arizona's actions as a cue to get to work on immigration reform. This nation cannot have 50 immigration policies.Image- New York Times (“Immigration advocates (in Arizona) want the governor to block the bill (that was passed on Monday).”)
Online Sources- New York Times, The Latin Americanist, CNN, Reuters, YouTube, San Francisco Chronicle