Left Wing: Arizona Immigration Bill and Racial Profiling

This Week in Liberal and Progressive Media

Arizona is set to pass a sweeping immigration-reform bill (S.B. 1070) that will give state officials broad new powers to arrest people suspected of being illegal immigrants. But as an editorial headline in the Arizona Daily Star argues, "Racial profiling, SB 1070 will go hand in hand."

"The measure would turn legal residents into police targets, as well as those who are here illegally. It would foment racial profiling of Hispanics." The bill has caused such controversy in the state that Gov. Jan Brewer's office has been beset by protests this week calling on her to veto the bill. According to Rasmussen Reports, 84 percent of Arizona Republicans favor the new get-tough legislation. Democrats are more closely divided: 51 percent like the new law, but 43 percent oppose it.

The Daily Star argues that the reform would "interfere with more important police work and it would give free rein to those who use emotional immigration issues for political gain. Do we really want our local police to behave as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio does, infamously putting immigration enforcement and raids ahead of crime investigations?" (NEWSWEEK embedded with  last spring to cover how cartel violence had spread into Arizona.) 

The state's Latino community, likely to be the biggest group affected by the law, has piled on. The Latina Lista blog writes: "Arizona's new law makes it 'open season' " on Latinos and points out various parts of the bill, such as one provision allowing officers to transport aliens to "any other point of transfer into federal custody that is outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency," as especially harsh. Latina Lista editorializes: "Basically, this allows for the 'disappearance' of undocumented immigrants. Since these immigrants are not afforded the opportunity to contact family members to let them know what has happened to them, this 'transport' to facilities outside the region and/or state is a cruel act to perpetrate on a family worried to death about where their husband, wife, mother or child is."

There is one provision—allowing any citizen to challenge in superior court law-enforcement officers or any government agents who fail to live up to the new law—that opponents say is so bad, it's good. According to Latina Lista, "This section may actually be one of those things that comes and bites the state of Arizona in the ass. It allows for everyday citizens—in addition to the Minutemen, Tea Party and other racist extremists—to bring to court any law enforcement agency or city official deemed not enforcing the full extent of the immigration law." That's quite an image.

Governor Brewer has until Sunday to sign or veto the bill.