Today Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law anti-immigrant state legislation that will inevitably lead to racial profiling by local police officers and will cost the state millions to defend lawsuits by those who file suit claiming police forces are not following the new law and from those who will claim to have been wrongfully detained. You can rest assured that legal organizations have already begun drafting complaints in anticipation of the inevitable plaintiffs that will come forward in the coming weeks. This law, especially the portion requiring officers to inquire about immigration status when they have “reasonable suspicion” that someone may be in the country illegally. It further states, almost as a side note, that an officer may not “solely”use race in making such an inquiry – realistically implying that it will certainly be a factor among others. It will be far too easy for an officer to invent additional reasons besides race when justifying such an inquiry.
All the buzz about this terrible law has brought much-needed attention back to the immigration debate on a federal level. If the Obama administration and Congress work together and act fast to pass federal comprehensive immigration reform, it would be in the best interest of the country. The approach must combine increased enforcement with a path for legalization for undocumented aliens who currently reside in the US. Senators Schumer and Graham have proposed a bi-partisan bill that is a good start on the journey to revamp this nation’s outdated and ineffective immigration laws.