Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona's New Immigration Law

Arizona has recently put into a law that its police are required to question the immigration status of anyone thought to be illegal - a drastic measure in a state not only bordering Mexico, but with one of the largest Mexican immigrant populations in the United States. Under the law, illegal day workers are subject to arrest and police departments failing to enforce this may be sued.

Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, however, is not pleased with the new law and warns that he and the Mexican state will do everything in their power to protect their nationals. He defends Mexican immigrants in the US by saying, "Criminalising immigration, which is a social and economic phenomena, this way opens the door to intolerance, hate, and discrimination". Additionally, he plans to address the issue with President Obama next month.

On a personal note, I feel that the law is rather severe, however, President Calderón's argument is invalid in the sense that the Arizona law is not discriminating against immigrants, who are welcome to reside and work in the state granted that they are there legally. The law is a punishment, however harsh, for those that choose not to follow the rules.

In response to his concern for "intolerance, hate, and discrimination" I think that in the United States, there tends to exist a negative opinion when it comes to Latin American immigrants in the US and a lot of people incorrectly assume that they are all illegal and that they are all Mexican (though to be fair, the vast majority are). A law that cracks down on illegals immigrants, taking advantage of the country's benefits without paying taxes, etc. may, in fact, work to reduce discrimination. By being sure that the Latino - or any - immigrants in the US are here legally and therefore have every right to be in the country, there is not reason to look down on them. It is the fact that some people are not playing by the rules that causes resentment and discrimination against immigrant communities.

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