With the signature of Gov. Jan Brewer, Arizona legalized three things: distrust amongst local police and the state’s 790,000 foreign-born residents, racial profiling and an ineffective policy.
Arizona Senate Bill 1070 mandates that legal immigrants always be in possession of their alien registration documents. Police officers now have the power to question whether a person is a legal immigrant at any time.
Under the new law, an illegal immigrant would simply be out of their mind to report a murder, a rape or another crime that urgently requires the attention of authorities. They would be insane to interact with the police at all.
The Pew Hispanic Research Center estimates that about 500,000 illegal immigrants currently reside in Arizona. Clearly, the presence of illegal foreigners in the state is a problem, particularly because of the financial burden they place on municipalities.
However, ostracizing them as civil participants and good samaritans isn’t the way to solve this problem. Instead, the state should concentrate more on securing the border, deporting those illegal immigrants that are convicted of crimes and other sensible options.
Illegal immigrants that abide peacefully by federal and state laws should be afforded the right to amnesty, a path to citizenship and the duty to pay taxes. Seeking the deportation of 500,000 people isn’t a feasible option, particularly when Arizona is hurting financially and the nation is barely recovering from a crippling economic recession.
In 2007, Arizona led all states in the size of their massive budget deficit. It now has a deficit of about $2.6 billion for FY2011. The state collects income taxes. Hell, we know every state in the union could certainly use more tax revenue these days, does it really matter who this revenue comes from?
What’s worse is that the governor issued an executive order to increase funding for programs to teach police officers how to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants without racially profiling. That’s simply naïve.
Ramon Galiana is a junior majoring in print journalism, political science and international studies. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.