Now that Arizona has enacted the most xenophobic anti-immigration law in this country, get ready for the big Hispanic exodus.
But it won’t be an exodus back to Mexico or to Central America. It will be a stampede toward Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities with huge Hispanic populations, where Latinos will be able to live without fear of being stopped by police because of the color of their skin or for speaking Spanish.
According to a bill passed by the Arizona legislature and signed into law Friday, police officers would have to arrest anyone when they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person does not have valid immigration papers. And it would allow anyone to sue local or state officials who they believe aren’t carrying out the law.
Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, says that ICE could substantially improve its performance by appointing an ombudsman "to serve as an internal conscience, taking in reports on individual cases, making sure that policy is followed and serving as an internal watchdog."
According to a DC-based think-tank, when Arizona’s new immigration law goes into effect in three months, residents of a state still struggling with a three-billion dollar deficit will discover that SB1070 comes with an unexpected consequence: a price tag that could run into the tens of billions.
Red State Blues
“At a purely administrative level, Gov. Brewer should take into consideration the potential costs of implementation and defending the state against lawsuits,” concludes the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).
On March 21, we joined a busload of Central New Yorkers on a trip to Washington, D.C., where tens of thousands of people rallied for comprehensive immigration reform. We returned home ready to face the usual barrage of falsehoods that poison our national discourse on immigration — myths meant to demonize immigrants and prevent reform.
Ours is a nation of immigrants. That’s what we’re told from our earliest years in grade school. The vast majority of Americans are descended from those who came (voluntarily or not) from other continents.
But the topic remains controversial. And immigration both legal and not is changing the American landscape. Demographers tell us that by 2050, the proportion of Hispanics in the U.S. will more than double to 29 percent, making them the largest segment after whites at 47 percent.
President Obama urged Congress today to pass “comprehensive immigration reform,” warning that a lack of federal action would encourage “misguided efforts” such as those in Arizona.
But Mary Giovagnoli of the Immigration Policy Center says there’s a lot the administration could do if it wanted to create a stronger immigration policy. And she said the work would start with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a controversial bill Friday that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to be in the state. The new law will require local police to seek proof of immigration status if there is reason to suspect individuals are illegal immigrants.
Earlier Friday, President Obama had criticized the bill as "misguided." He said that the federal government's failure to overhaul immigration law had been an invitation for other jurisdictions to act "irresponsibly." Now that Brewer has signed the bill into law, however, the question is whether it can survive inevitable legal challenges.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer just signed into law the controversial immigration bill that has drawn national scrutiny and triggered furious protests. "I firmly believe it represents what's best for Arizona," she said. The bill "strengthens the laws of our state. It protects all of us." And, she added, "it does so while ensuring the constitutional rights of all in Arizona remain solid, stable, and steadfast."