Immigration in the Hot Seat: Debate over Arizona’s Senatorial Bill 1070

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As campaigns progress and elections occupy the minds of politicians and citizens alike, immigration issues have once again come to the forefront of political discussion. In the hot seat this time is Arizona’s controversial legislation Senate Bill 1070. The law, which was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in 2010, has been under attack since it was first passed. While the supporters of the law maintain that its purpose is to aid the federal government in the task of enforcing federal immigration laws, the reality of the bill is not so noble. As stated in the bill itself, the goal of the statute is to “make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in the state of Arizona,” or in simpler terms, it seeks to deter undocumented immigrants from entering and living in Arizona by continuously exerting a sustained attack on undocumented immigrants and their families.

Designated local law enforcement officers are now able to enforce federal immigration laws through what can only be described as unfair and unprecedented racial profiling. SB 1070 requires officials to check the citizenship status of anybody they stop during their work who they believe is either in the country illegally, or has committed a deportable offense. This is a piece of legislation that speaks for the level of racism the American public and politicians harbor toward those of Hispanic origin. Allowing law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they “suspect” to be an undocumented immigrant is an obvious violation not only of the Constitution, but of basic human rights as well. Even more appalling is the fact that the officers assigned to this job are not required to have knowledge of federal immigration law, nor have they received training to prepare them for such a task. They are essentially asked to employ their own basic stereotypes in the name of the law to protect us from a threat that can’t be proven to actually exist.

It is perhaps useful to identify some of the main proponents of the anti-immigration movement. Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen, gives several reasons outlining his belief that undocumented immigrants will harm the American economy and way of life. He brings forth several issues such as crime rate, the stress they put on our educational systems, and his general belief that American taxpayers do not feel as if they should have to pay for people that aren’t contributing to their community—in other words, people who aren’t paying taxes. However, undocumented immigrants do pay taxes on things like social security, and receive none of the benefits in return. These assumptions about the contributions of undocumented immigrants are an example of the nativism that is rampant in our country. Nativism can be simply defined as the act of favoring native inhabitants over other members of the community. Despite this, proponents such as Gilchrist believe these contributions do not justify the presence of the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. This Bill is merely further proof of nativism. While both citizens and immigrants contribute equally to our economy, preference for care is given to citizens.

Although the state bill was signed in Arizona, it is currently awaiting judicial review. The Supreme Court will decide whether or not the bill is in violation of the Constitution and/or federal laws sometime over the summer.

However, even as the fate of the bill is decided, the topic has become popular in the wake of presidential elections as a bargaining chip to gain voters. Former Republican Senator, Russell Pearce, is the main advocator of this bill. His argument is that undocumented immigrants are a danger, citing the case of a rancher that was shot by a man that may have been Hispanic, and even dragging 9/11 into the debate as an example of the problems of illegal immigration to show that every immigrant is a danger. This past week, he was grilled on Capitol Hill by several Democratic senators regarding not the Constitutionality of the Bill, but rather the implications of racial profiling.

As these politicians squabble for more votes, the real heart of the matter is being placed on the back burners. Arizona’s SB 1070 is simply a symptom of a much larger problem that has plagued immigration law since its foundations. The reality is that this law is reflective of flaws present throughout the entire immigration system employed by the United States; utilizing an enforcement-based strategy for an issue that simply cannot and should not be solved by force is counter-intuitive.  Furthermore, the existence of the state’s bill is only made possibly by Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a much more far-reaching piece of federal legislation. The language used in SB 1070 is further proof of the problems of foundational law and nativism in the United States. Throughout the bill, undocumented immigrants are referred to as “Aliens.” This dehumanizing language only serves to encourage this sort of nativism and “us versus them” mentality. When such an important piece of legislature deigns to use this sort of language, it sends a message to the public and those enforcing the law that undocumented immigrants are not to be treated as equals, or even as humans. Thankfully, bills like SB 1070 have helped highlight the critical errors within our immigration system, and to some extent they have alerted the public of their existence. What we need now is for people more actively prevent the passage of these policies in order to help stop similar bills from popping up in the future, ensuring equal treatment not only U.S. citizens, but for all people who call our country home.


  1. It seems that the open border groups are always orchestrating ways to subdue the always impending danger of overpopulation growth and illegal immigration. Even if large numbers of migrants are leaving the United States, however it doesn’t excuse the illegal aliens stealing jobs from different working occupations in this nation. Thousands, who manage to sneak over here in agricultural and farming employment, soon learn that there are other jobs in construction, services, landscaping, factories and the entertainment industry. Then these people disappear into cities and all regions of the U.S. replacing citizens and residents as cut price labor for unconcerned business owners. We don’t need any new immigration laws; we just require the government, businesses to comply with the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act?

    The federal government and other organization, including Pew Hispanic Center keep spitting these population numbers on the illegal immigration occupation. But if avid reader do their own research, this is just numbers conjured up to pacify the American people. From what I have surmised the figures of illegal people here is well into 20 million plus. Any survey can be engineered to make it less than they are? Probably they are not counting the hundreds of thousands of ‘foothold’ babies, unborn or who gain immediate citizenship when they are conceived. The illegal Mother can immediately claim, all the same welfare services for the child/ children as any U.S. born citizen or naturalized citizen immigrant. Once situated the whole family moves into the Section 8 housing. Each state wherever the family settles is forced by unfunded mandates, for infant delivery, food stamps, entitlements and subsidized housing. All paid for by the already overtaxed population. Don’t matter if it’s Alabama or any of the other 49 states as they are all distressed from the inability or for some unknown reason to create this mess along most of the undefended border, or entrants coming into America to stay, via the airlines.

    What is significant that if Arizona gains a positive decision from the high court of the land, there will certainly be hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens sweeping throughout the country, seeking desperately for a new place to live? Interesting enough these persons will head for states with no policing enforcement as California, Nevada, Utah, Washington State and locations that have ignored the pleading of taxpayers about the burden of tax costs. These states already suffering from massive deficits will soon be overwhelmed by more illegal’s, than they had already. California being the paradise, with no enforcement against sanctuary city ordinances. This is the epitome of ‘Poetic Justice’ as California, run by Liberal state legislators have deceived their own legal residents, to subsidize the illegal immigrant invasion. Voters must demand from GOP House speaker John Boehner and his elite class stop blocking the bipartisan E-Verify “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” from being initiated in Congress by Texas Sen. Lamar Smith. Taxpayers are continuously afflicted at the hands of dishonest politicians who have sold us into financial bondage by allowing illegal immigration to persist almost unimpeded in coming here. Less than 28 bipartisan co-sponsors are needed to head this to the House chamber.

    We must secure our borders, not just from the influx of illegal migrants, but the imminent peril of our national security.

    As the Congress continues to bicker over mandatory E-Verify, the Obama Administration has issued a statement that it is getting ready to introduce a big expansion of the electronic application. A second law to support The Legal Workforce Act H.R. 2885 is to amend the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R.140); the country cannot maintain in subsidizing billions of dollars being extracted from the 50 states? Bad politicians should be thrown out of office, not excluding state Governors, Mayors, Judges and all elected officials, and replace them with Fresh Tea Party leaders who will insure everybody gets their fair share of the American Dream and enforce all laws attributed to the Constitution and the Rule of Law. NumbersUSA is maintaining a data base of all related information and you should investigate their website for the latest news.

    This is not just about Mexicans, but Asians, Europeans and others who have strained our compassionate welfare programs, that every state has had to cut back public assistance on US citizens and permanent residents, with green card holders. It’s about anybody who violates a sovereign countries law? Both political parties are to blame for this conflict, as Democrats are out to lure more votes, legal or otherwise? The republicans are for larger profits of cheap labor from the business community, which has lowered wages for the average American worker. Neither party can be trusted to perform correctly, that is why the Constitutional Tea Party is swelling daily with new members in thousands of chapters as people are despondent with the direction of this country. This nation is near bankruptcy and with a 16 Trillion dollar deficit owed to foreign investors; the interest is more than the GDP.

    GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and every politician, along with all elected officials and manager, who better begin listening to the people; not the special interests and radicals, which they will be voted out in coming elections.

    The Tea Party will enforce our immigration laws, that will represent the people, will introduce a well regulated farm bill so Guest Workers can arrive here and then mandatory depart after their contract expires, with no amnesty. That the farming and agricultural industry will pay the benefits for their labor and not the state’s taxpayers. There will no importation of migrant poverty anymore, cutting off access to welfare programs. Don’t need or should we accept any new low skilled workers, instead we need to supply our own citizens with more occupational programs. Another set of regulations to amend, would be a careful examination of the current visa system allowing around a million legal immigrants annually into the U.S. No further violation can be tolerated from businesses and we should only permit the highest brains in engineering, science, mathematicians and technology professionals to immigrate here

    • Mr. Francis,

      Your comments are very well presented and fit quite well into the vision our Founding Fathers intended for U.S, immigration policy, which was originally created by the first U.S. Congress in 1790.

      Unfortunately for persons with your point of view, your rational, sensible and reasonable “views” are very much considered “hate speech” by charlatans of higher education like Columbia and Harvard universities. After speaking at each of those universities from 2006 – 2009, all future appearances were revoked at the demand of a handful of student scoundrels posing as enlightened students of higher education.

      Good luck in your endeavors to bring relevance to an invasion dilemma that is more threatening to our nation’s domestic tranquility than foreign terrorist cells, in my opinion.

      Jim Gilchrist

  2. Dear Readers,

    There are about seven billion people in the world, half of them impoverished who would love to migrate to the United States and thrive off of a bottomless cornucopia of welfare benefit programs originally earmarked for U.S. citizens and taxpayers.

    It appears that the author of the instant article here, Gabrial Stein, sees no rational reason to deny the migration of three and one-half billion impoverished persons into the United States.

    It also appears that any rational debate on the issue of the rampant illegal alien invasion into our nation would be impossible to conduct with Mr. Stein. Fanatical and irrational extremists have no tolerance for a rational and reasonable debate which they would certainly lose.

    Sincerely Yours, Reporting today from Charlotte, N.C., next week from Rhode Island,

    Jim Gilchrist, Founder and President, The Minuteman Project
    -a multiethnic immigration law enforcement advocacy group-

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