Over the past decade illegal immigration has wavered in and out of the national spotlight as politicians continue questioning the economic implications of hosting a growing population of undocumented American immigrants. Arizona legislators led the fight with one of the most controversial laws passed in recent years, the Arizona SB 1070, commonly known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.
On April 23, 2010 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill requiring law enforcement officials to enforce existing federal immigration laws throughout Arizona by confirming the immigration status of any person for which they found a “reasonable suspicion” of illegally being in the country, establishing one of the strictest and broadest pieces of legislation targeting illegal immigration. The potential impact of the law on state immigration policy, state’s rights, civil rights, constitutional law, and amnesty enticed a political uproar, within which, many of the legislation’s finer details have become lost.
List of Pros to the Arizona Immigration Law
1. Community Progress
By making their unauthorized stay in Arizona more risky, this legislation decreases the number of illegal immigrants from settling in Arizona and allows more tax-paying citizens to find work.
For immigrants willing to undergo the process of legal registration, they are now given thirty days to complete their paperwork without stress, pressure, or worry.
Illegal immigrants face immediate transfer to Customs or Border Protection if found without proper documentation and remain subject to a misdemeanor charge, further motivating immigrants to register legally or leave the state.
List of Cons to the Arizona Immigration Law
1. No Formal Protocol
The bill provides no formal steps for law enforcement officials to follow in determining the status of an individual. The carefully trained and protocol-conditioned officers face the responsibility of executing the legislation without guidelines, leading to unprofessional and inconsistent arrests of illegal immigrants.
2. Public Safety Questions
With their residency status now up for examination, unauthorized immigrants are less likely to report illegal activity and criminal offenses they may witness in the community. Their fear of prosecution may put public safety at risk.
3. Increased Illegal Job Access
Arizona attracts illegal immigrants because of the jobs available throughout the state. The SB 1070 bill gives illegal aliens even more opportunity to work in positions intended for legal citizens.
4. Lowered Economic Rate
Illegal immigrants are not required to pay taxes. While taking the job opportunities from legal Arizona residents, they are also failing to financially contribute back into the state economy.
A law designed to simply enforce federal regulations and keep neighborhoods and communities safe from illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and human trafficking, the Arizona immigration law has undeniably succeeded in one regard, striking up conversation across the nation. Ultimately, reform advocates hope the controversial reception, implementation, and discussion of the law will convince federal legislators that a comprehensive national reform program is finally necessary in regulating American Immigration.