Yesterday, Arizona’s controversial immigration legislature was signed into law. This piece of legislation makes illegal immigration not longer a federal crime but a state crime. It requires police as opposed to federal agents to make arrests and check the immigration status of individuals that look suspicious to them. The law requires immigrants to carry alien registration documents on them at all times. Citizens who think their cops are not vilgent enough are encouraged to sue their cities and or counties, and no city or county may remain a sanctuary where the law is not enforced. It essentially turns Arizona into a police state. It is clear that the issue on hand is no longer one of just driving but a broken immigration system. The passing of this legislature is making national headlines and has civil rights groups in an outcry declaring it racial profiling. Arizona argues that illegal is not race but a crime.
Lawmakers in Washington and California are backed into a corner with this volatile issue. Democrats and Republicans alike are doing a delicate dance to not anger their electoral or individual base. Yesterday, “7 members of the LA City Council signed a proposal for a boycott, calling for the city to ‘refrain conducting business or participating in conventions in Arizona.” ( LA Times) Proponents of the legislation argue that the state was forced into action by Washington’s failure to secure the US borders and solve the nation’s thorny illegal immigration problem.
This is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever passed. It has the potential of setting a precedent nationally on illegal immigration, as well as spurring an uprising and bloodshed. Again, what is the solution? Paul Rodriguez suggests the implementation of a program similar to that of the WWII Bracero program. The Bracero program simply provided diplomatic notes to contract workers from Mexico to do manual and agricultural labor. Rodriguez contends that we do not need to give citizenship but simply a work permit of sorts; it is the only way to prevent bloodshed in the future. This is an extremely volatile situation coming to a head now.
In regards to my initial concern, driving, with better enforcement of vehicle codes and stricter regulations we can keep our roadways safe. I encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to pass legislation which keeps past offenders of the roadways. The greater problem of our broken immigration problem is one that I do not know the right solution for. I agree with Rodriguez that if we do not find a solution soon this situation is doomed for an explosion.