Arizona’s New Immigration Law – The Facts and How You Can Help

“Every Generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds… to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation” – Ellison S. Onizuka, American Astronaut.

The law has been amended to require that an individual can only be subjected to an immigration inquiry when the questioning officer is engaged in a lawful interaction with that individual. As Shikha Dalmia argues, this is less of a restriction than a sugar coating over the previous law. While eye-contact is no longer sufficient cause for an officer to demand proof of citizenship, Jay walking, littering, loitering, or failing to signal for a full 500 feet before making a right turn would be more than enough. Given Arizona Sheriffs’ fondness for race based round-ups, this amendment does little to sooth concerns about fairness and equal protection before the law.
First there are some general impacts related to Arizona’s law which will occur regardless of your opinions on the matter.

Tourism- Is a vital component of Arizona’s economy. Spending directly related to tourism amounted to $18.5b in 2008. This generated approximately $2.6b in tax revenue. An estimated 1.4b of which goes to state and local government.

Labor market- Illegal migrants are a necessary component of the existing labor market. While this is far from an ideal situation, it is the current one. The Arizona day labor market depresses wages, to be sure, but it also enables a vast number of minimum wage jobs to exist due to the capital flow freed up from labor costs at the bottom. This should be reformed with temporary work visas and an increased quota for mexican migrant immigrants but in the short term this law threatens to seriously harm the industries of the state. Arizona is already struggling to stay competitive, now they will struggle harder.

National Reform- This law is justifiably a reaction to the vacuum left by Bush’s failure at immigration reform. No thinking human being could possibly lay the blame on Obama for this one. Regardless of your position on health care, you have to admit that it took every ounce of political capital he had to push it through. It would have been a ridiculous political move for him to have put immigration reform on the agenda before or during that debate as it would have guaranteed the failure of both. Remember that it was the Republican party which was so divided over immigration reform in the past at the same time when a republican president saw the wisdom of reform. Now the same republicans that stopped immigration on the federal level have rammed through an extremist version of their own bill.

The Hispanic Voting Bloc- may have just ruined republicans chances of sweeping middle range democrats out in the midterms. I’m not going to say that concerns me, but it should concern the party. Middle of the road voters want pragmatic laws that will do the country good, not political granstanding timed to boost electoral images at the expense of citizens rights.

Mexico- It’s that gigantic country just across the street, and it’s pissed. Rumbles of diverting trade from arizona would exacerbate the harms already mentioned. They seem unlikely to take the form of overt legal condemnation, but as we’ve already seen, boycotts don’t need state backing to cost a state 8 figures in a month. Keep in mind that Arizona is dependent on trade with Mexico. If that relationship were to become any more strained.

But it would be unfair to simply present the predictions I lend credence to. Here are a few of the main talking points used by the supporters of the law followed by reasons why they don’t hold up to empirical analysis.

Public resources. (i.e. Health and Education)
Law Enforcement- As of Fiscal 1999, the 24 counties along the Mexican border spent a combined $102m on services provided for and related to illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico.

These are the factual impacts of the law no matter what side of the line you stand on.

Other Sources You Should Read:

Go no further than this article right here.

How You Can Be Apart Of The Student Movement Against This Bill

1. Like this page on facebook

2. Tweet these #hashtags on twitter (#SB1070 and #LegalizeAZ )

3. Go to Dream Activist to find all the other ways you can be apart of the movement



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9 responses to “Arizona’s New Immigration Law – The Facts and How You Can Help

  1. Justin

    Re: Tourism
    So what? Let Arizonians feel the consequences of their law and reverse it. Don’t tell them how to live.

    Re: The Hispanic Voting Bloc
    See previous point.

    Re: National Reform
    Yes Bush failed. So did Clinton. So did Bush. So did Reagan. So did Carter. … … … and yes, so has Obama. Protecting the borders is constitutionally mandated, health care is not. He failed by prioritizing incorrectly on things which are outside the role of government as determined by the Constitution.

    Re: Mexico
    Not too concerned about it. Both the U.S. citizens and Mexican citizens will act in their own self-interests, and their own self-interests are best served by trading with one another.

    Re: Public resources.
    Not sure what your point is. I think the most significant affect on public resources will occur due to the outpouring of illegals from Arizona to other places where they are more welcome. Arizonians will benefit from an Arizona law. Sounds like government working to me.

  2. Good Blog. Thanks 🙂
    I received an email referring to it, could you maybe be more specific as students what can we do to speak up against this law?

  3. EDWIN

    Yea. How can we speak up???
    Maldita ley

  4. shirley

    To Justin:
    First of all I don’t believe that this person is telling Arizonians how to live. In fact, I think that people here are telling other countries about what the “ideal” way of living is.

    Second of all: If its constitutional to protect our borders, isn’t it also right to recognize the history of this country and how this is STOLEN land. Shouldn’t it be constitutional for other countries to also secure their borders and be skeptical of people of the United States entering their borders? I wonder what would happen if other countries did start denying us entry…which I believe many of them should do.

    If you are not too concerned with Mexico then you are not concerned about your food, your clothes, your well being because let me tell you something… most of the goods and commodities you have are not made here in the U.S.
    Now tell me, would you be willing to work for 2 dollars a day and make 50 shirts? These people work hard and are being exploited. Keep in mind these are people that CORPORATIONS take advantage of.

    NO! The government is not working for you. You want to know why? Immigrants have been used as a scapegoat for the problems of this country when they should actually see what their country is not doing for them. Did you know immigrants pay taxes and don’t receive any benefits? Did you know that this government is run by coorporations that have the money and don’t care about the people of this country? Why do you think its difficult to pass bills that will make big companies loose money?How many other countries have lost lives because of big coorporations?

    Its seizes to amaze me how so many people do not go back and analyze what the root of the problems are and resort to what they believe is the easiest target.

    Just by letting others know what your opinions are maybe might change someone’s perspective and help out a cause. We should just let others know the knowledge that some of us carry and spread the word. You never know whose mind you might change…

  5. john

    How about I pass the cost that I incur from illegal aliens on to you so I don’t have to pay. I have $90k in school debt, 2 kids and a mortgage. Since you sympathize with them you can foot the bill.

    • Andrew

      Nice work assuming immigrants are a net drain on the federal and state system – anything to back up your amazing shoot from the hip analysis?

    • Andrew

      By they way, what an inspiring political philosophy you have. Is there anything deeper than, “fuck you, got mine” involved?

  6. shirley

    Well if you would like, you can help my family out with paying the rent for a house of 3 rooms and 10 residents that could barely afford the rent and bills not because they are lazy or they spend the money on unnecessary costs, but because they all win less than minimum wage and work more than 10 hours a day. Plus they still cared for the elders in the family who could not work.

    Did you ever have to live like that?

  7. Blake

    Mexico has no right to complain about Arizona’s laws. They have much stricter immigration laws.

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