America, as we know it today, is a melting pot of many nationalities, cultures, races, ethnic backgrounds, and religious pursuits. This is the result of the early massive immigration to American shores from countries across the globe seeking a new life inside the borders of the United States. This dream has not waned despite the march of time, with individuals coming from all walks of life, striving to fulfill their dreams of starting a new life for themselves and their families in the United States, or to send them financial support to alleviate the living conditions of their loved ones abroad.
But recent times and events have turned the once open gates for these immigrants to closing windows of opportunity as the United States enforces some of the harshest laws primed to keep illegal immigrants from ever setting foot on American soil. The latest battleground for the enforcement of laws regarding the entry and stay of illegal immigrants in the United States is in the state of Arizona. Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the new debatable statute that empowers the police in the state to demand for the papers of any individual that they believe to have illegally entered the United States.
Some of the law’s main advocates include the chief of the Maricopa police department, Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce, the chief sponsor of the bill in the state Senate. Pearce has a personal angle to work for the strict enactment of the bill-Pearce’s son was shot to death by an illegal immigrant (Nathan Thornburgh). As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer affixed his signature to the controversial bill, enacting the same into law within the borders of the state, critics and opponents of the measure guaranteed that the measure’s passage into law will be met with stiff opposition.
Many of the opponents of the bill promised stiff legal sanctions and economic boycotts poised to train their guns at Arizona, an event that the state can ill afford as the state is still in the morass of the housing sector collapse that has buffeted the economy of the United States. In the moments before the bill was signed, protesters and police clashed in a rally that has led to minor clashes with authorities, with more than 1,500 people chanting, praying, criticizing or praising Brewer as he began to enact the law.
Four of the protesters were taken into custody, after engaging police in a bottle throwing battle, with authorities clad in riot gear (Craig Harris, Alia Beard Rau and Glen Creno). The Republican governor is faced with a vigorous challenge in the primaries and will need the support of the Conservative bloc to hold on to her office, averred that the new statute is one of the new instruments that the state will use in addressing the crisis that they were not responsible in creating, and stated that the Federal government has refused to address this issue at their level.
The new legislation has put Arizona squarely in the national spotlight, with no less than United States President weighing in on the matter and CNN broadcasting the signing of the law by Brewer live (Harris, Rau and Creno). In the opinion of Dr. George Weissinger, Ph. D. , the problem with the illegal immigrants coming through the widely porous border regions of the United States with its southern neighbor is a dilemma that is not confined to the problem with U. S.
-Mexico immigration problems, and opines that the enforcement of the present set of immigration laws by the United States government only contributes to the ever-increasing illegal immigrant population of the United States. Weissinger (2003) argues that much of the societal perceptions of the illegal alien in the United States vary from the sympathetic to the bigoted. With this type of confusion on the response of the society to the true plight of the illegal immigrants entering the United States, the responses as mentioned above are to be expected (Weissinger).
What is considered to be a prime catalyst in the formation of the opinions of the society against or for the illegal immigrants is the media; the media usually characterizes the illegal alien as one who crosses over the border of his own country to the next, with nothing more spurring him/her on than the possibility of being able to find a means of employment that will allow them to fend for their families back in their own native lands.
But with the events that occurred that tragic day on the 11th of September, 2001, the image of the illegal alien has radically been transformed. The media is a powerful conveyor of the way that the illegal immigrant is portrayed in American or any other society. When the news broadcast images of immigrant day laborers, this image will serve as the standard by which society deems what it defines to be the image of the illegal aliens in the society (Weissinger).
Many of these characterizations are more inclined on the aesthetics rather than the economic, health or issues that deal with conflicts with the law. Many residents in the area that illegal immigrant congregate usually fear a decrease in their property values, or even some have the notion that the illegal immigrants might become a hindrance to their business activities. These illegal immigrants flock to many locations in the United States where they hope that potential employers will hire them for the day, thus allowing them to send some financial aid to their families back home.
But even without the Arizona and California laws, there is ample laws provided to the Federal government to deal with the problem of illegal immigrants (Weissinger). The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), under Title 8 USC Section 1357, has appointed officers and other personnel to implement the law on illegal immigrants, allowing them the mandate to question suspected illegal immigrants with regards to their continued stay in the United States, even without the benefit and requirement of a warrant.
But unfortunately, the agency has been remiss in this duty to address this problem even before the enactment of the controversial Arizona statute. In the operating policy of the INS, now officially known as the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), the target of the body is not the illegal immigrants themselves, but the employers who hire these illegal immigrants, removing the demand, and not the supply, in an effort to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to the United States to find employment.
These operating policies developed as a result of the implementation of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (Weissinger). But Arizona is not alone among the states of the Union trying to address their problems with regards to the burgeoning number of illegal aliens in their states. The Washington Times, known as a conservative publication, has recently reported that the illegal immigrant statute in California is akin to the one being enacted and implemented in Arizona.
The Post reports that in the Penal Code of California, section 834b, states that California law enforcement units should fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) with regards to any individual that is taken into custody if the person is allegedly in the United States under the premise on infringing existing United States immigration laws. Advocates of the Arizona law aver that the basis of the law in the state simply follows the gist of existing Federal statutes regarding illegal immigrants.
Laws that have been implemented by the Federal government for the past seven decades. The text of the California section reads as follows: With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws.
The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status (Dennis Romero). George Orwell, author of such works as “Animal Farm” and “1984”, states that one of the great tragedies in crafting such important legislation, is that thousands of dollars in taxpayer’s money are wasted in crafting these laws.
Many eagerly anticipate for the passage of the law, then downgrade the importance of actually enforcing the law itself. In the time that the debate on the need of the law in the first place, the very thing that the law was crafted for in the first place remains and grows, becoming part and parcel of the life of the society.
Until such time that the issue has become too damaging to the society, it is only in that time that the law will be once again resurrected to address the problem, which could have been addressed if the law was enforced earlier (Arizona Immigration Laws). The law that empowered the INS/BICE to enforce the laws on immigration was originally crafted by the United States Congress, with both houses giving unanimous support to the immigration bills, as the laws were enacted in the early years of the 20th century.
The laws against illegal immigration were rendered to the hands of the President of the United States, with the belief that the Executive branch will be able to faithfully execute the tenets of the law. The enforcement of the laws went smoothly until the 1960’s, when the implementation of the civil rights laws in the United States and the rigorous enforcement of the laws regulating Hispanic immigration into America found themselves at loggerheads in the political circle.
Unfortunately, the law against the entry of illegal immigrants coming from the southern American neighbors, particularly Hispanic immigrants, was overthrown to accommodate the caprices of United States Democrat senators, caring more for the support of the affluent farmers in their constituencies than assuring that the laws against the entry of illegal immigrants into the United States was conscientiously enforced (Arizona).
But are immigrants actually those that are in violation of United States immigration laws? According to Dr. Weissinger (2003), those that violate immigration laws are not considered as immigrants. In his opinion, there is a wide degree of differentiation against those that willingly infringe on the laws of the United States, and those immigrants that apply for residency in the United States, faithfully complying with the many requirements needed to gain legal citizenship in the United States.
The confusion between the two contributes to the illogical responses and connotations attached to the illegal issue and picturing these two as equal issues is the result of dubious logic (Weissinger). The emphasis of the current administration on the strict, unyielding enforcement of the immigration laws has given way to a increased number of deportations by the BICE.
In the statement of ICE assistant secretary John Morton, ICE is expected to acquire the needed resources and logistics that will allow the agency to deport more than 400,000 illegal immigrants in 2010. This figure, according to Morton, is an increase of 10 percent over the figures posted the previous year. In addition, increasing numbers of raids on companies and businesses that are allegedly contracting the services of illegal immigrants have registered an increase of nearly four times than the entire administration of former President George W.
Bush. In the statement of the ICE, the priority of the agency is the location, arrest and eventual deportation of convicted criminals and other lawless elements in the United States illegally (Jurist Legal News and Research Services, Inc. ). The Department of Homeland Security is also fine tuning its resources intended to enforce Federal immigration laws, revising its 287g program, that gave a mandate to local police authorities to implement immigration statutes, which is considered one of the more disputable aspects of American border policy.
But critics of the program aver that the program, originally intended to determine the identity of criminals in the United States in violation of immigration laws, has led to racial profiling by the police authorities in the areas where immigrants abound. They aver that the law gave the power to law enforcement authorities to arrest illegal immigrants even om such minor citations as a broken tail light. But many of the supporters aver the efficaciousness of the program, saying the program has become an effective tool in addressing the problem of illegal immigration (Miriam Jordan).
In the new policy to be released by the DHS, the powers of the police to interrogate and arrest illegal immigrants, with the intent of preventing sheriff and police personnel to accost suspected illegal immigrants on the premise that they have violated some fictitious infarction as a means of initiating deportation proceedings against the individual. In the last two years, according to the data released by the Homeland Security Department, approximately 120,000 alleged illegal immigrants were identified with the use of the program, with the majority of the cases ending in deportation of the suspected illegal immigrant.
Arpaio, one of the staunchest supporters of the Arizona illegal immigrants law, is also considered one of the most active enforcers of the program on the local level. But the Maricopa sheriff is under investigation by no less than the United States Department of Justice, investigating claims that Maricopa sheriff deputies have utilized skin color as a front to detain Hispanics that they believe are illegal immigrants (Jordan). With approximately 10. 8 million illegal immigrants in the United States, the issue of immigration is considered to be one of the most heavily debated issues in the United States.
The Arizona statute, regarded as the harshest measure enacted by a state in recent history against the problem of illegal immigrants, requires that local police establish the fact that a person is an illegal immigrant, that they have logical basis to do so, and to place under police custody those individuals who fail to prove or to present documents that they are in the United States legally. Under the law, the acts of transporting an illegal immigrant and to hire day laborers are also penalized.
In the opinion of Senator Pearce, he believes that handcuffs, used on the ‘right’ individuals, can be considered as an effective crime fighting tool (Tim Gaynor, David Schwartz). At present, there is a large number of undocumented illegal immigrants in the United States. Spread across such states as California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, the number of illegal immigrants, those that are here to find work and also those who are in America for more nefarious ends, continues to expand due to the reluctance of the Federal government to adequately and faithfully enforce United States laws on illegal immigration.
As such, they are becoming burdensome on the systems of the United States; health care, welfare, education, employment and other programs of the Federal government, resources that should have been used for those that are in the United States legally and for its citizens (Arizona). Works Cited Arizona Immigration Law. “The Dilemma of Illegal Immigrtion: Enforcment of Current Federal/ State Laws versus Reform. ” <http://azimmigrationlaw. org/articles/the-dilemma-of-illegal-immigration- enforcement-of-current-federalstate-laws-versus-reform/>
Gaynor, Tim, Schwartz, David. “Arizona passes tough illegal immigration law”. <http://www. reuters. com/article/idUSTRE63I6TU20100419> Harris, Craig, Rau, Alia Beard, Creno, Glen, “Arizona govenor signs immigration law; foes promise fight”. Arizona Republic. 24 April 2010. Jordan, Miriam. “New Curbs Set on Arrests of Illegal Immigrants”. Wall Street Journal 11 July 2009. Jurist Legal News and Research Services, Inc. “US government increasing enforcement of immigration laws: report”. <http://jurist.
org/paperchase/2010/07/us-government-increasing-enforcement-of- immigration-laws-report. php> Romero, Dennis. “California’s Illegal-Immigration Enforcement Law is Tougher than Arizona’s”. <http://blogs. laweekly. com/informer/city-news/california-mirror-arizona/> Thornburgh, Nathan. “Arizona Police Split on Immigration Crackdown”. Time Magazine 30 April 2010. Weissinger, George, Ph. D. “The Illegal Alien Problem: Enforcing the Immigration Laws”. <http://www. immigration-usa. com/george_weissinger. html>