Arizona's immigration law draws strong reactions

April 24, 2010 12:11:39 AM PDT
Arizona's harsh new immigration law is being watched very closely in California and in Washington D.C.

Arizona is the nation's busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico. In the absence of federal enforcement, Arizona has taken matters into its own hands, and it's managed to get Washington's attention the process.

Both sides agree the immigration system is broken, but Arizona's solution is not the fix everyone will agree on.

"Every immigrant has made America more American," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Pelosi was in San Francisco Friday for the 50th anniversary of the Mission Neighborhood Centers, but everyone wanted to know what she thought of Arizona's new immigration law.

"The law that was signed today in Arizona today really does violence to basic American principles, but also points clearly to the need for us to have comprehensive immigration reform," she said.

In Arizona it is now a crime to be in the country illegally and local police are required to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are undocumented. Critics say that is racial profiling.

"The law says a policeman should come to somebody and ask him about his legal status, well what does that mean? It means he's brown," immigration attorney Mark Silverman said.

"If you're Latino in Arizona, you're going to have a target on your back," Supervisor David Campos said.

President Barack Obama has asked the Justice Department to study if the bill is legal.

"The recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans," he said.

Arizona has more illegal border crossings than any other state. Three weeks ago a rancher was shot and killed on his property, authorities believe illegals were involved.

"We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels," Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., said. She promises she will not tolerate racial profiling or discrimination.

Richard Oltman is with Californians for Population Stabilization. He believes other states will have to follow Arizona's example because there is no incentive for reform at the federal level.

"There is no opinion at the federal level to enforce the laws because business has access to cheap labor and they want the new customers they become with the first paycheck," Oltman said.

The Arizona law also makes it illegal to hire undocumented workers for day labor or knowingly transport them. It goes into effect in 90 days.


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