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Argument: Arizona immigration law invites abusive racial profiling

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Eugene Robinson. "Arizona's new immigration law is an act of vengeance." April 27, 2010: "How are police supposed to decide whom they 'reasonably suspect' of being in the country illegally?. Since the great majority of undocumented immigrants in Arizona are from Mexico, aggressive enforcement of the law would seem to require demanding identification from anybody who looks kind of Mexican. Or maybe just hassling those who look kind of Mexican and also kind of poor. Or maybe anyone who dares to visit the Mexican consulate."


"Stopping Arizona." New York Times Editorial. April 29th, 2010: "DEFEND CIVIL RIGHTS The Justice Department needs to challenge this law forcefully in court. The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law but says she doesn’t know what an illegal immigrant looks like, leaving that to others who think they do.

The Justice Department knows what kinds of abuse that invites. It is already investigating the sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, who raids Hispanic neighborhoods in and around Phoenix. His deputies demand people’s papers based on the shirts and boots they wear.

Federal law requires noncitizens to carry documents but does not empower police officers to stop anyone they choose and demand to see papers. Arizona’s attempt to get around that by defining the act of standing on its soil without papers as a criminal act is repellent."


Eugene Robinson. "Arizona's new immigration law is an act of vengeance." April 27, 2010: "How are police supposed to decide whom they 'reasonably suspect' of being in the country illegally?. Since the great majority of undocumented immigrants in Arizona are from Mexico, aggressive enforcement of the law would seem to require demanding identification from anybody who looks kind of Mexican. Or maybe just hassling those who look kind of Mexican and also kind of poor. Or maybe anyone who dares to visit the Mexican consulate."


Michael Gerson. "A test of Arizona's political character." Washington Post. April 28, 2010: "Those whose citizenship can't be verified can be arrested. But how is such reasonable suspicion aroused? The law forbids the use of race or ethnicity as the 'sole' basis for questioning. So what are the other telltale indicators?"


Froma Harrop. "Arizona May Prod Feds to Finally Act wonders." Creators.com. April 26th, 2010: "How could there not be? What would make an Arizona law enforcer suspect that someone is here illegally other than that person's ethnic appearance? 'Stopping brown people in the street is not the way to address the problem.'"


"Arizona's unhelpful new immigration law invites racial profiling." Seattle Times Editorial. April 26th, 2010: "the state's leaders must accept responsibility for a law that could invite racial profiling and harassment. [...] Concerns that overburdened law enforcement may be tempted to rely on skin color to determine whether to ask for a green card, driver's license or other proof of citizenship are not misplaced. Fears are not eased by Gov. Jan Brewer's executive order directing law-enforcement agencies to develop ways to enforce the law without racial profiling.

Brunt force of the law will come down on Mexicans with the distinction between those here legally or illegally coming too late."


"Editorial: Arizona immigration law a throwback to a sadder era." Sacramento Bee. April 28th, 2010: "SB 1070 does require police to have 'reasonable suspicion' that a person is illegal. But what, really, is a 'reasonable suspicion for police who stop people who look illegal? Comedian Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' joked about targeting gardeners or those 'burping white people's babies.' But this is no laughing matter."

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