Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Law Ignites Firestorm of Controversy

Arizona passed a law addressing immigration concerns which has touched off a firestorm of controversy. The most controversial provision of the law provides that where any lawful contact is made by a law enforcement official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision, and a reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the united states, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.

Opponents argue that it will be difficult for government officials to define when a reasonable suspicion exists that a person is an unlawful alien. Critics fear that police and other officials will rely on racial profiling to identify potentially undocumented aliens, thereby bringing a large number of lawful residents and U.S. citizens of Latino descent into suspicion.

Critics further note that the law will discourage many Latinos from seeking the vital services they may need from the government, for fear of being placed in immigration proceedings.

Despite pleas from immigrant rights groups across the country, and criticism from President Obama, the Governor of Arizona signed the bill into law on August 23, 2010. In response, the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association moved its fall conference from Arizona in protest.

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