AS/COA Online | Arizona Law Stirs Immigration Debate

Arizona’s tough new immigration legislation has put federal immigration reform back into the spotlight, even as the Southwestern state’s decision attracts condemnation and debate. SB1070, signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23 and scheduled to take effect over the summer, allows local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws and arrest undocumented immigrants. It also paves the way for police officers to request identification in cases where they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person may be in the country illegaly, sparking criticism that the legislation would lead to racial profiling. Individuals caught transporting undocumented immigrants will also face charges. The law could face an uphill battle, given that some lawyers deem it unconstitutional and the U.S. Attorney General’s office is weighing the possibility of a federal lawsuit. With cries to boycott the state in response to the bill, Arizona could endure economic repercussions and has already drawn harsh words from Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, who branded the law as “unacceptable racial discrimination.”

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