Monday, June 14, 2010

SB 1070 is chasing law-abiding citizens out of the state

"The immigration law creates a difficult situation for both legal and illegal residents," said Jay Butler, director of realty studies at Arizona State University. "Some illegal residents may have planned on leaving the Valley anyway because they can't find jobs. But I have talked to young Hispanics who are residents and so are their parents and grandparents. And those Hispanics plan on moving to other states because they don't want to be perceived as second-class citizens."

I'm going to keep appealing to the documentary 9500 Liberty until somebody watches it and tells me what is wrong with it. In that documentary, it was indicated that Prince William County suffered a lot of collateral damage, especially where the foreclosure rate was concerned, which increased at a rate far in excess of the other counties in Virginia. Foreclosures were already a problem in Arizona, and I am convinced it will get worse thanks to the new law.


Anonymous said...

im sorry but no one said Hispanic Americans are second class citizens. i don't understand the problem here? You come here illegally then you committed a crime and are supposed to be taken away. Why would legal Hispanics feel like second class citizens.

Victor Reppert said...

How would the enforcement of 1070 treat Hispanics like second-class citizens. Well, the worst scenarios were eliminated through a subsequent piece of legislation that required that the police stop be for some crime other than the violation of immigration law. Otherwise, someone could be taking their kids out for ice cream, and then be stopped by police simply because they look Hispanic and the police think that that gives them reasonable suspicion that they are here illegally. A legal Hispanic who has forgotten his ID would then be locked up until he could prove his legal status.

The revision in the law said that the police could make the immigration check only if they were contacting the person for some other offense.

However, police do use discretion about who they stop. Not everyone who goes over the speed limit is stopped, not everyone who has a cracked windshield is stopped, etc. Police could "fish" for illegal immigrants by giving non-Hispanics a cushion over the speed limit, and pulling over Hispanics, especially lower-class Hispanics, who go so much as one mile over the limit. Police could ask for immigration documents whenever they go to a home playing Spanish-language music too loud, but not when they go to a home playing the Stones too loud. If police officers are told that they will get brownie points for every illegal they get deported, or if they just have a bias against Hispanics, then I am afraid that they law might give them cover to treat one group of citizens differently from another on the basis of 1070. What I am afraid of is a global enforcement pattern which is different for non-Hispanics than it is for Hispanics, in order for police to get their quota of illegal immigrants.

I don't want police using the fact that most illegals in Arizona are Hispanic as a pretext for a differential pattern of enforcement for Hispanics and for non-Hispanics. That differential pattern would give Hispanics a reason to believe that they were being treated as second-class citizens even though they were legal residents of Arizona.

To some extent, of course, any crackdown on illegal immigration will disproportionately affect Hispanics. But 1070 opens the door for police to treat Hispanics differently from non-Hispanics with respect to the enforcement of such things as speed law and laws prohibiting loud music at night. I think this sacrifices the equal treatment of all citizens under the law as a price for better enforcement of the immigration laws. You may think it's a good trade, I don't.