New Arizona law allowing police to question citizenship is wrong

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 18, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/new-arizona-law-allowing-police-to-question-citizenship-is-wrong-1.2765415#.UGpm_k3A-Gk

After two years of battling the provision in Arizona court, police can now say to civilians, “show me your papers.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton passed the controversial immigration law, and five states — Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina — have since instated a law based on the same grounds.

The law allows police to question the immigration status of suspects who they believe to be in the country illegally.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in 2010 in Arizona, a state known as the busiest illegal entry point in the country.

Great timing, everybody.

Elections are coming up, and this is the perfect way for a state to essentially pick who it wants to vote for.

This law will single out Latinos and breed distrust between police officers and their communities, which they have promised to serve and protect. This sense of distrust will only expand when police officers begin to ask registered citizens for their papers just because they look like they could be an illegal immigrant.

This will brood both fear and loathing of police in Arizona citizens, who are worried they could be suspected of beingillegal immigrants.

There is also the notion of having to always carry around your papers.

Neither I nor many other Americans carry around any form of “papers” all the time, proving that we’re citizens.

If someone is questioned and they don’t have their appropriate paperwork, they can be detained and taken into custody on the basis of suspicion alone. Being a law that is derived from suspicion, it can be seen as an infringement on civil rights.

If determined illegal, federal immigration officers can be contacted by Arizona police to have unauthorized residents deported.

Both supporters of Brewer and the provision questioned if federal immigration officers would comply, to which the officers responded that they would help based on level of threat and priority.

From the small buffer created by the federal immigration officers, some illegal immigrants may be exonerated, but nonetheless they will still be targeted by state officers.

President Barack Obama’s administration motioned to repeal the law on the grounds that federal immigration lawtrumps state law, but that was denied.

The officers are being trained to distinguish the features of an illegal immigrant.

Couldn’t that be just about anyone?

Hopefully Arizona citizens will band together to fight this new law.

Arizona citizens should refuse to be profiled on a daily basis by how legitimately “American” they appear.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

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