Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the most punitive and sweeping anti-immigrant state law in the nation which will take affect this July 29th. This law’s full effects will not be measurable for months to come, but it is already clear that it will be challenged in court because it denies rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. And until the legal issues are settled, the new law will have a detrimental effect on Arizona’s economy, as well as city and state budgets.
The law essentially legalizes racial profiling. The law puts communities of color in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government workers to determine if a person is illegally in the United States based on a “reasonable suspicion.” Legal experts maintain that the law will result in racial profiling, as it does not prohibit police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate. Of course all Arizonans don’t all look alike. Like America, Arizona is a diverse state with multiple generations of U.S. citizens. Three out of every 10 Arizonans are Hispanic, 1 out of 10 is American Indian, and 13 percent are foreign born.
The law undercuts the Constitution and empowers local police with federal authority. Arizona is attempting to grant local police arrest authority for administrative violations of federal immigration law, even though the state police do not have that authority under federal law. The measure does not require the local police to have a search warrant or even suspect that some illegal action has occurred.
The law will harm the state and local economies which in turn will transcend into other parts of the country. Arizona is not an island. The National Employment Law Project pointed out that smaller-scale anti-immigrant ordinances have cost individual localities millions of dollars. The Texas-based Perryman Group calculated that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs. The Immigration Policy Center noted that, “with Arizona facing a budget deficit of more than $3 billion,” the new law will “further imperil the state’s economic future.”
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other local leaders anticipate a drop in new business ventures in the state because of the harsh new law. Phoenix Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski observed: “We’re the laughing stock of the country because of these crazy laws.”
According to the Arizona Republic newspaper , housing experts anticipate that SB 1070 will not only drive illegal immigrants out of the state, but legal residents and potential new homebuyers with them-“departures from a state where growth is the economic foundation.” The resulting exodus will likely spur more foreclosures and create more vacant homes and apartments, which as real-estate analysts point out, will scare off potential homebuyers who fear lower home values. With a budget deficit in the billions, and an economy struggling to get back on its feet, a declining housing market is the last thing Arizonans need.
Estimates are that there are several hundred thousand undocumented aliens residing in Arizona. If the law has the intended effect and these people do leave, then both population and demand for housing will probably decline.
Likewise, many of Arizona’s documented residents are also expected to leave the state thanks to SB 1070. According to the U.S. Census, Latinos make up roughly one-third of all Arizonans (29.7%)-many of whom feel targeted by the new law. According to Jay Butler , director of realty studies at Arizona State University:
Those are the primary facts. Now let’s talk about the human aspect. A good friend’s ten-year-old niece was riding her bike on the street she spent her entire life on, living in the city her parents live, work, and pay taxes in. The same state which shares three generations of this family. A car full of young Caucasian teens whizzed by her while the occupants rolled down the window and yelled to this little sweet girl, “go back to Mexico beaner, we don’t want you here! Across town, a similar action, the car rolled down the window and yelled out similar racial expletives, this time firing a weapon hitting a young Latino with a life threatening wound. I can provide many more examples of stories such as this which are becoming a realization in the Grand Canyon State. Once State lawmakers decided this will be the way we do business, it unleashed the hounds of prejudice and evil which will seek out to destroy what human rights we have left. Unlike the Lowrider Community, our diversity between cultures and beliefs balance out with the overall love for the Lowrider lifestyle. This is one of the times, Arizona needs to look at the Lowrider Community as an example in respecting our fellow man no matter what car club plaque you own, as Americans, we need to respect human rights and the dignity for all.
My personal opinion on this is once our Leadership signed this Law, they also signed a Do Not Go to Jail Pass to the underlying prejudices some people were keeping bottled up. As human beings with frailties, vices, and imperfections which we sometimes cannot control ourselves, it takes outside influences to keep us in check and balanced. Our character is molded at home and is carved by our surroundings on what we see and hear. If you are taught hatred and prejudice, you will be a prime candidate to continue this behavior once you leave your parents. It is vital we as a society teach our children the values our forefathers spilled blood over. The American flag is red, white, and blue. If it were only white, this country would be no more. Ask the immigrants which fought in world wars for all of us. Ask the Mexican Americans which fought for this country in the civil war including along other Texans in the Alamo. It was the determination of our immigrant ancestors who paved the way for our freedom as a society.
Currently, there are organizations including other Cities and States which are actively boycotting Arizona because of this new Law. I realize in some instances, this can make sense. But if you examine the potential effects more closely, you will see that it will not only affect the state coffers, but directly affect the states Latino community as well. Throwing the dirty bath water out along with the baby will not correct this problem. In the past twenty years, Latino and Hispanic populations and more importantly, overall influence has swept the United States. The fact that our neighbors to the south once governed California, Arizona, and part of Texas, the cultural influences are embedded deep in our heritage including to some degree, our DNA. If you don’t like your front yard, you can either re-landscape, or move. Let us not forget the border moved, not us. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be an American. The greatest country in the world is naturally a destination for the many who want to make a better life for their family. But with a broken immigration system in place, people do what they need to do instinctively.
If you feel that there is nothing you can do, consider the alternative, and in that we still have a government in place which allows us a voice in the form of a vote. Register to vote. With your emerging presence being felt, you and I can make a difference.
I believe we need to approach this with more intelligence and dignity for our fellow human beings. If you need some direction, look for the handbook which has worked well for many. The cover says “HOLY BIBLE”