Illegal immigration is one of the major problems that border states face. Every year, thousands of illegal immigrants enter the border states from Mexico. Illegal immigration places more pressure on existing social facilities. This is despite the fact that illegal immigrants do not pay taxes. Therefore, border states have stringent policies that strive to reduce illegal immigration. Arizona has one of the toughest immigration laws among the border states.
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The laws give the police the right to detain people who they suspect to be illegal immigrants. In addition, the law requires immigrants to always carry their documentation. The law mainly targets illegal Mexican immigrants. Critics of the law claim that the law would lead to racial profiling (Archibold para 2). However, supporters of the law point out that it would reduce illegal immigration and the economic burden that illegal immigrants place on the border states.
The new Arizona immigration laws require immigrants to carry their documentation at all times. Therefore, if the police stop the immigrants, they should produce their documentation. The law gives the police the right to “charge immigrants with a state crime for not carrying immigration documents” (Achibold para 4). In addition, the law gives the police the right to detain people who they suspect to be immigrants “when practicable” (Achibold para 4).
With the passing of the law, Arizona became the first state to require immigrants to carry their immigration papers at all times. The law is discriminatory to immigrants as it requires them to carry their identification papers at all times. However, the law does not require American citizens to carry their identification papers. Therefore, the law violates various international human rights treaties that the federal government endorses (Nebehay para 8)
Arizona’s new immigration laws may increase racial and ethnic profiling. This is because the law targets Hispanic illegal immigrants. The law may lead to increased police harassment. The police may use the statute that gives them the power to detain suspected illegal immigrants, to harass legal immigrants and Hispanic American citizens. Therefore, the law gives the police more ammunition to harass Hispanics. The law may lead to detention and interrogation of people based primarily on their physical or ethnic characteristics (Nebehay para 2).
In addition, the new immigration laws give American citizens the right to sue their cities if they feel that the cities are not implementing the laws. This statute ensures that cities enforce the laws. However, this may lead to social tensions in society. It may create tensions between Hispanics and other races within the state. This is because Hispanics may feel that other people within the state are targeting them. In addition, new laws may reduce the trust between Hispanics and law enforcement agencies. This may hinder Hispanics from reporting criminal activities (Nebehay para 6). This may lead to a significant increase in the rates of crime.
It is a fact that illegal immigration is a major problem in Arizona. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants enter Arizona annually. Therefore, it is vital for the state of Arizona to formulate tough laws to reduce illegal immigration. The new laws would be effective in reducing illegal immigration. However, the laws violate the rights of legal immigrants and American citizens. The new immigration laws continue to have stiff opposition from various parties. However, the court gave the Arizona police the green light to implement the laws (Santos para 1).
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Archibold, Randal C. “Arizona’s effort to bolster local immigration authority divides law enforcement.” The New York Times, April 21, 2010. Web. November 2, 2012.
Nebehay, Stephanie. “U.N. experts join criticism of Arizona immigration law.” Reuters.
Santos, Fernanda. “Arizona immigration law survives ruling.” The New York Times, September 6, 2012.