President Barack Obama, along with the Justice Department, filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for the passing of an immigration law that would allow the failure of carrying proper documentation subject to arrest. This lawsuit may be taken to court as early as today. Making this the sixth lawsuit against Arizona, many people have argued that the law allows local law enforcement to hassle citizens based on racial profiling.
Arizona has argued, and fine-tuned the law, to emphasize the fact that officers will not perform random spot checks, but will enforce the law once someone has brought attention to themselves because of another law-breaking action. This questions if “reasonable doubt” could easily be jaywalking, broken tail light, etc. Although this law has been widely contested throughout the country, according to Los Angeles Times, Arizona has already received $120,000 in private donations throughout the nation,to defend the law. In President Obama’s speech on comprehensive immigration reform, on July 1, he addressed the concern over Arizona:
“States like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands. Given the levels of frustration across the country, this is understandable. But it is also ill conceived. And it’s not just that the law Arizona passed is divisive – although it has fanned the flames of an already contentious debate. Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable. It puts pressure on already hard-strapped state and local budgets. It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes – driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement, making our streets more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult.
These laws also have the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound. And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country – a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed.”
With the passing of Arizona’s immigration law, not only the question of whether or not this creates an acceptance of racial profiling, but opens the door for many other concerns. Is the enforcement allowing the misconception that only Latinos make up the population of illegal workers? Does it deter illegal immigrants from calling in a crime in fear that they may be questioned as well? Is this law subconsciously exist in other states?