Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into law Senate Bill SB1070, which enables law enforcement officers to bypass the protections of the 4th amendment and empowers them to detain and question anyone “suspected” of being an illegal immigrant. [AP]
For those with insomnia, I present to thee the actual contents of aforementioned bill. [AZ SB 1070]
Southwestern states of US have particular been coping with rising number of illegal immigrants. Immigration is an emotional issue and, this so-called solution appears to be an emotional one also. Again putting it in the simplest of terms, the solution appears to be “papers please, brown person”, which could easily include legal immigrants from countries like India, who are often mistaken for Mexicans largely because of skin color. The bill in it’s current format appears to be contradictory to the 4th Amendment, which limits search and seizure by law enforcement officials without a valid warrant. Not only does the bill give sweeping powers to law enforcement officials but also encourages ethnic profiling of anyone who “looks like an immigrant”.
When we tweeted about this, we got responses like the one below:
@uberdesi how is that a police state? anywhere you travel in Europe you need to show ID or passport. #immigration #p2 #tcot
Probably gleaned from some talking head on TV or talk radio, such arguments, to state a cliche, compare apples to papayas. When you bypass constitutional rights to give extra-judicial power to law enforcement, it is called a police state, like it or not. Besides, Europe has countries that are much smaller than some of the states in the United States and no one (at least on here) is arguing against showing the appropriate documents when entering a country. However, this bill encourages demanding “papers” for people who are already here, including legal immigrants, permanent residents and naturalized citizens, because some law official suspected them of being an illegal, all this without a warrant, and that is what makes it unfair and discriminatory.
We are certainly not condoning illegal immigration. But haphazard approaches like Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which dilute liberties and encourage profiling on skin color, are certainly not the solution. So if you happen to be brown skinned, give touristy spots like Grand Canyon, a skip or if so inclined, at least “carry your papers on your person” when you visit the police state of Arizona.