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47 Responses

  1. nezua
    nezua April 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm |

    Thanks. Great post Cara.

  2. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe April 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

    YOu know, an almost identical law was passed in PRince William County, VA a few years ago. It was an utter failure. All it took was one traffic stop and there was a lawsuit. Furthermore, latinos and hispanics left in droves – not because they were illegal, but because they didn’t want the harassment.

    We’ll see how far AZ’s law gets….

  3. Jill
    Jill April 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm | *

    Ugh, this law is so depressing. My only hope is that as American voting demographics change, conservatives and racists will have shot themselves in the electoral foot with laws like this, and will increasingly lose their positions of power. Angry white men are not a lasting voting base — although they are certainly trying to do as much damage as possible while they still can.

  4. Ama
    Ama April 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm |

    The next thing you know, they’re going to require that legal immigrants wear puce triangles on their sleeves so the police know who not to talk to.

    Maybe I watch too much science-fiction to not see the Big Brother implications of a law like this.

  5. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm |

    Angry white men are not a lasting voting base — although they are certainly trying to do as much damage as possible while they still can.

    Is it just “angry white men” that are the problem? I’d argue that racism crosses political perspectives rather well. Limousine liberals and middle class “progressives” often harp on the dislike of illegal immigrants; yet, how many of them do everything in their power to move to mostly white neighborhoods and keep their children out of public schools with large minority populations?

    It’s interesting to note that whites of all political stripes are leaving states with large immigrant populations (California, notably at the top) and that majority white states are scheduled to get even whiter in the future. Get ready for the new white flight.

    1. Jill
      Jill April 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm | *

      Is it just “angry white men” that are the problem? I’d argue that racism crosses political perspectives rather well. Limousine liberals and middle class “progressives” often harp on the dislike of illegal immigrants; yet, how many of them do everything in their power to move to mostly white neighborhoods and keep their children out of public schools with large minority populations?

      Of course it’s not just angry white men who are the problem. But that’s the base being catered to, here.

  6. Juniper Elliot
    Juniper Elliot April 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm |

    I have failed to make a working link: http://reason.org/files/a87d1550853898a9b306ef458f116079.pdf

  7. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |

    Jill,

    Angry white men–often blue collar and working class– the base in places like Arizona because, unlike middle class whites, they can’t move away as readily. Hence, the upper classes get to feel smug about “racist white hicks” while they retreat to mostly white areas, where they can congratulate themselves on how progressive they are.

    1. Jill
      Jill April 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm | *

      Holy, that’s part of it, but I really don’t think that’s the whole story. I mean, I agree with you about some of the smugness and the ability to be anti-racist when you don’t actually have to interact with people of different races. But the idea that blue-collar and working-class white people live in diverse places and that’s why they’re openly racist whereas wealthier white people retreat to their gated communities is a little reductive. A lot of those angry white men in Arizona aren’t blue-collar or working-class, first of all, and a whole lot of them live in their own gated communities away from anyone who doesn’t look like them. They’re nonetheless taken in by talk about Authentic Americans and Real America and blah blah blah.

      I’m not saying that Democratic-voting white people aren’t racist. But you know, wherever they’re living — and I don’t buy the idea that Democrat vs. Republican falls squarely along class lines, not by any stretch — they aren’t the ones who are regularly promoting and passing these laws. Again, not saying that liberal racism doesn’t matter, but when there is a concentrated, concerted effort to pander to racist voters, and when the image of The Real American is an angry white dude, yeah, I’m going to call it like I see it. And “liberals are racists too!” is kind of a dodge.

  8. Juniper Elliot
    Juniper Elliot April 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm |

    White flight seems pretty understandable when you consider that not just the attitudes of people, but the laws themselves state that “no, it is not ok to be Mexican, they are not like us and we should not like them or their company”. Although detestable, it is reasonable to expect racism when it is passed down as the law of the land.

  9. jen
    jen April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm |

    it’s despicable.

  10. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm |

    Start moving majority latino populations into the suburbs and into white schools and see how their tune changes.

    As far as your point about gated community conservatives, you’re correct. They often hold similar views as the working class but they don’t have to become the face of anti-immigration; they can hide behind the tea party folks and minute men who make up the public face of the movement.

    A similar thing happened during desegregation in the 60s and the busing campaigns of the 70s. Working class whites fought against the integration of schools and neighborhoods on the ground, while conservative, and yes, liberal whites, voted with their fleet and fled many metro areas.

  11. Henry
    Henry April 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm |

    Doesn’t this get struck down on 4th amendment grounds once the first citizen wrongly targeted refuses to produce documents? I can’t imagine the obligation to show id extends to proof of citizenship.

    I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just settle for mandating an immigration status check for someone arrested for something else. Not so many obvious search and seizure issues there.

  12. Shakatany
    Shakatany April 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm |

    The irony about Arizona was that we got it from the Mexicans who were there before there was a United States not to mention there’s a sizable number of Native American reservations in Arizona who definitely preceded both the Spanish and the Americans.

  13. Cherie
    Cherie April 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

    I live in Arizona and will surely not get stopped for anything since I am blonde and blue eyed. I want to leave but have few skills that can gain me much, I am unemployed for a reason. Anyways back to the subject at hand. Back in the day Arizona could only get the Super Bowl here if they would officially acknowledge and adopt Martin Luther King Jr day. I (and others) see something like an exodus occurring in 2011, of the MBL franchises that come here for spring training. Same could be said about companies either leaving or not coming to lay roots to employ the many unemployed in Arizona. Yes, there is violence and drug cartels worming their way up here, but I see that more a mark of our failed “war on drugs” and insatiable hunger for illegal drugs like meth. I like many would hope that people in Arizona will vote out the people that would drain the monies on useless and ineffective laws, but many who would vote are felons for having little more that an once of pot or other non-violent crimes. This is what really happens here in effort to curb illegal immigration, http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2009-05-28/news/two-statutory-rape-allegations-tell-us-everything-we-need-to-know-about-the-mcso-s-priorities/

  14. Amarantha
    Amarantha April 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm |

    I’m curious about how long you think ti will take for this law to be legally challenged? It seems kind of … illegal, or unconstitutional, or something.

    Then again, the Roberts court seems happy to make completely crazy decisions.

    Can’t the fed. administration just challenge the law on various grounds?

  15. Kai
    Kai April 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm |

    From what I heard on a conference call yesterday about SB 1070, hosted by RI4A, with local, state, and national organizers and advocates, right now organizers in Arizona are making “3 asks” of people outside their state: (1) hold solidarity vigils and actions in your own community, and send pictures or video to rlopez@communitychange.org; (2) escalate May Day demonstrations into a vocal protest against SB 1070; and (3) put pressure on President Obama and your Congressional representatives to seek a federal injunction against the implemenation of SB 1070 because local and state police are not authorized to enforce federal law, and to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

    There will surely be more targeted actions and campaigns, seeking to apply economic and political pressure on key points, as peeps get some more time for research and strategic deliberation.

  16. PG
    PG April 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm |

    “It’s interesting to note that whites of all political stripes are leaving states with large immigrant populations (California, notably at the top) and that majority white states are scheduled to get even whiter in the future. Get ready for the new white flight.”

    What’s the empirical basis for this assertion? A significant percentage of people leaving California are moving to Texas, which has a huge immigrant population and has been “majority-minority” for at least 5 years. (Texas and California are both 36% Hispanic.) I don’t think people leave California because it has a lot of immigrants; they leave California because the taxes are high, regulatory burdens are heavy and jobs are scarce. They’ll move to a state that has the same proportion of immigrants and an even larger border with Mexico if that state seems like a better place to live based on economic factors. More people moved to Texas than to any other state during 2008-09. Does that really look like white flight?

    Also, note that even the super-conservative politicians in Texas are wary of stoking anti-immigrant/anti-Latino sentiment. For example, Gov. Rick Perry (perhaps best known to the rest of the country for declaring secession an option) signed into law a measure that allows undocumented college students to qualify for in-state tuition.

  17. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm |

    “I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just settle for mandating an immigration status check for someone arrested for something else.”

    A) I think they probably already do that in a lot of places.
    B) The point of this is (probably) not even mostly to catch and deport people who are here illegally. The point is to give the police the power to harass anybody who fits their idea of “does not belong” and be really, catastrophically loud and aggressive about how that’s now enshrined in law. Presumably they felt this was classier than building a “Brown people get out” sign that could be seen from space.

    “I live in Arizona and will surely not get stopped for anything since I am blonde and blue eyed.”

    There’s already at least one city that’s promising to have officers check papers on everyone they stop “to avoid lawsuit potential.” It seems pretty clearly intended to do double duty as a form of protest against the law’s passage.

  18. PG
    PG April 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm |

    One last thing about Texas: it got $1.5 billion of the $15.9 billion in federal earmarks in the 2010 budget. The state has almost exactly 8% of the U.S. population, but got 9.5% of earmarked money. Not bad for a state whose politicians constantly talk about how oppressive the federal government is.

  19. PG
    PG April 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm |

    I talked to a conservative friend who supports this law, and he said it is totally going to allow for racial profiling. The only reason conservative politicians pretend it doesn’t is that racial profiling is Constitutionally suspect and has a bad reputation among the general voting population. But conservative commentators have consistently defended profiling as a “sensible” way to use limited enforcement resources, whether it’s profiling at the airport for who gets the full-body frisk, or profiling on the streets of Phoenix for who gets asked for proof of residency status.

    So I wouldn’t even bother arguing about whether the law allows for/encourages racial profiling. The law’s supporters know that it does and they don’t consider that a bad thing.

  20. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm |

    To be somewhat fair to Texas, they have second largest state economy in the country, and the 15th biggest in the world based on GDP. There’s a reason they get earmarks. However, they need to be more honest about their conflicts of interest vis-a-vie the federal government.

  21. Athenia
    Athenia April 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm |

    Uhh, but what if you are a U.S. citizen and don’t carry “papers” on you??

    This reminds me of my alien card when I lived in Japan. Luckily I was never stopped by the police (probably because I’m a girl), but my male white/colored friends were routinely stopped.

  22. Niki
    Niki April 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm |

    @ PG: You’re completely right. I’ve debated the “merits” (ha) of racial profiling before with people who aren’t hard-line conservatives. People who, up here in my “liberal” Canada, support it. The general argument is that, sure, it’s technically discrimination, but security comes at a cost and we have imperfect law enforcement and relying on techniques like racial profiling cuts down on crime and blah blah blah.

    Sometimes progressive groups forget that racial profiling isn’t a tactic that is defended only by hard right-wingers; it’s a technique that has support in moderate and centrist communities as well (and there are even some liberals who consider both the pros and the cons of the issue). Those who support this new law might be avoiding the language of “racial profiling” in the media, but they’re fully aware that’s what it is and they’re completely fine with that.

  23. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm |

    “Uhh, but what if you are a U.S. citizen and don’t carry “papers” on you??”

    They deport you to Mexico for kicks.

    (Not entirely kidding about that.)

  24. Haley K
    Haley K April 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm |

    This law is disgusting. I somehow got the recessive green eyed blonde genes in my family, but my mom and sister regularly are mistreated and profiled for having the nerve to have darker skin and curly dark hair.

    My mom said furiously that she should just carry her birth certificate around at all times for when the police ask for her papers, and perhaps she should get an armband so that people can distinguish her from the “aliens”.

    We live in southern California, where racism against Latin@s and people who vaguely look like people think Latin@s look is rampant.

    And we aren’t even Latina! We’re generally considered white! The shit my family deals with being not perfectly pasty white clearly pales (sorry) in comparison to those who are actually Latin@ or who have the nerve to speak Spanish in public.

  25. PG
    PG April 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm |

    Athenia,

    Here’s the relevant text of the law (sorry about all-caps): FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES,
    A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

    8 U.S.C. 1373(c): “Obligation to respond to inquiries
    The Immigration and Naturalization Service shall respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information.”

    So it doesn’t help even if you do carry your citizenship papers (either U.S. birth certificate or certificate of naturalization) with you. The law says status is to be verified by checking with INS, which no doubt has dozens of excess employees with plenty of time to spare answering phone calls from Arizona about this or that dark-skinned person. It’s not like the INS employees have any other responsibilities, such as actually processing people’s paperwork in a timely manner so that they don’t fall out of residency status in the first place.

    Also, I was born in the U.S. and thus never immigrated nor naturalized, so I don’t know if the INS even *has* records on me. And I think this might be the first instance of a state putting an “unfunded mandate” on the federal government, as the AZ law doesn’t provide for giving the INS money to hire extra employees to do these checks.

  26. underbelly
    underbelly April 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm |

    Thank you for the update, Cara. I just signed my (real) name at Change.org. It may only be symbolic, but at least it’s something.

  27. Holy!
    Holy! April 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm |

    “This reminds me of my alien card when I lived in Japan. Luckily I was never stopped by the police (probably because I’m a girl), but my male white/colored friends were routinely stopped.”

    I’m very familiar with that. Ironically enough, the current Arizona law is pushing us closer to Mexico’s immigration policy, the toughest on the continent. Illegal immigration is a felony in Mexico. Yet, the Mexican government protests American immigration policy.

  28. karak
    karak April 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm |

    If someone asked me for proof of citizenship randomly as I was going about my day, I’d be so pissed that I might burst a blood vessel.

  29. Jay
    Jay April 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm |

    I’ve seen other people posting on this topic on a couple of forum sites I use; and I’m shocked speechless that there are so many people out there who really don’t think this is authoritarian, police state-style racism.

    I’ve actually come across people who go so far as claiming that undocumented people have no rights at all. Usually, these are the same people who cheer Arpaio and use the word ‘illegal’ as a noun. At that point, you just have to stop engaging with the person, as they’re beyond help.

  30. Dyssonance
    Dyssonance April 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm |

    Please forgive the linking, but as a resident and Native of Arizona, I have been somewhat vocal about it, and recently posted this to my own blog and Bilerico.com

    http://www.dyssonance.com/?p=1631

    I’m getting to the point where I repeat myself when I talk about this stuff, as it affects me personally in multiple ways.

    It’s just bad. There is nothing positive about this. And its one of those times where I can only cry, and not laugh.

  31. Grundoon
    Grundoon April 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm |

    Begging your indulgence, this MIA UK video was tweeted by musician @kayhanley at the same time the tweets of outrage about this law were coming in. They video and this issue are dancing around each other in my head right now (along with Iraq & Afghanistan, etc.).
    I’m pretty liberal with my use of the word fascism, but I think what we’re seeing could be considered fascist by the strictest of definitions. Peace.
    http://www.miauk.com/

  32. Shiyiya
    Shiyiya April 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm |

    NB: Janet Napolitano is not just the Secretary of Homeland Security, she was also Arizona’s governor before being appointed to that post. (She was a LOVELY governor. I want her back, please.)

    I’m blindingly white, and I’m not going to be leaving the house without ID. This shit is terrifying and I hope SCOTUS strikes it down.

    Amarantha: I beg your pardon, but I’m quite crazy, and mental illness has nothing to do with bigoted court decisions. We don’t need the further stigma, thanks.

  33. jennygadget
    jennygadget April 27, 2010 at 1:57 am |

    “If someone asked me for proof of citizenship randomly as I was going about my day, I’d be so pissed that I might burst a blood vessel.”

    This is pretty much off topic but…my parents house is right by my old high school. Which is huge. And weirdly laid out. To the point that a major street divides the campus. The easiest way to walk downtown from my parents house (a grand total of about 10 blocks) is right down that street. I don’t always think about what time it is when I walk downtown. One day, when I did so during passing period (or maybe lunch?) I got stopped by the rent-a-cops. Who told me to get back on campus (or some such).

    As they were merely rent-a-cops, I just scoffed and said “SO not a student” and kept walking. But, yeah, I think I’d have flipped if they had been more forceful or asked for ID.

    Back on topic – the law is such an insult to justice and liberty and equal rights that I don’t even know where to begin.

  34. Sarah
    Sarah April 27, 2010 at 8:04 am |

    This law is only set up to harass Latin@s. What’s going to happen when they pull over a car full of US citizens who appear Latin@? The police are going to ask for their documentation.

    But what documentation proves US citizenship? Only a passport, or an original certified birth certificate.

    How many conservatives carry those types of papers on them? Because I know I don’t.

    So the car full of people will have to sit by the side of the road while somebody calls ICE, and the ICE agents will come and take the folks in to detention (possibly separating any children from their parents), and the folks will be questioned, possibly intimidated, and have to sit in detention until (when they’re eventually permitted to use the phone) they call somebody to come bring their birth certificate or passport to the detention center. Then, hopefully, the ICE officer won’t simply look at it and say, “I think this is a fraudulent document, I’m going to file a Notice to Appear against you and put you immigration court proceedings” (yes, this happens). HOPEFULLY the officer acknowledges it’s a legit document and that the person is a citizen, and they get released then, only having spent six or seven hours in detention, missing work, with their children under the care of god-knows-who.

    This law permits this to occur every time somebody is pulled over for a (real or imagined) traffic violation; every time somebody calls the police to report a crime; every time somebody is questioned as a witness….

  35. Persia
    Persia April 27, 2010 at 10:07 am |

    Andrew Sullivan’s blog today had this photo, which I think I’m in love with.

    I’m horrified at the chilling effect this will have on law enforcement. By the sounds of it, a lot of Arizona cops are too.

  36. PG
    PG April 27, 2010 at 11:27 am |

    Persia,

    Love the pic. I’m road-tripping through Arizona in a couple months, and will have to soap something similar — “I’m Brown, Pull Me Over” — on the back of the minivan.

  37. Henry
    Henry April 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

    “But what documentation proves US citizenship? Only a passport, or an original certified birth certificate.”

    Apparently under the wording of the law if the individual produces a driver’s license or any state-issued ID they’re assumed to be here legally.

  38. Cherie
    Cherie April 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm |

    AZ is known as a ID theft capital too, and we are not just talking “illegals”, we are talking about tweakers’ who raid mailboxes for cash and credit to feed their addiction. In December 2006 my purse was stolen, I had just gotten a job so my SS card was in it, the guy who took it was very bald and very white. The second time was someone in maintenance took at my old apartment complex just after a fire due to their negligence, but they liked blaming tenants. I didn’t have the fire, but the 4 apartments next to mine were damaged and they used my place as a access point for other stuff and did some repairs. BTW my card was under my keyboard. The attitude of management was that it was my fault and I shouldn’t be blaming her staff. A lot of places won’t hire you without a credit check. Right to Work state my ass, more like a right to NOT work state. All they do here is waste money on laws against illegal immigration but never to create jobs and protect Arizona workers.

  39. Holy!
    Holy! April 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm |

    “Apparently under the wording of the law if the individual produces a driver’s license or any state-issued ID they’re assumed to be here legally.”

    That’s correct. The officer will take your driver’s license or state ID and run it. Phony or fraudulent numbers won’t check out, leaving that person liable to arrest.

  40. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe April 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm |

    To me, one of the few amusing aspects of this whole wretched, misbegotten exercise in tyranny is watching McCain’s two-step. Doesn’t this guy believe in anything anymore? Maverick my ass.

    Hispanics seem to be taking their place alongside blacks in the Republican playbook: Say the right things about them, include a few tokens among your appointments, but basically ignore them and concede their votes to the other side. Except that, thanks to their numbers, Hispanics are going to be a lot harder to ignore.

  41. Dyssonance
    Dyssonance April 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm |

    @Henry & @Holy

    That only applies for Arizona ID’s. And those ID’s have to match presentation as well.

    Furthermore, that’s assumption based on the wording in the Bill, which does not actually specify what documents are acceptable.

    Lastly, if ya’ll haven’t seen Rachel Maddow lately, you should:

  42. Nomen Nescio
    Nomen Nescio April 28, 2010 at 10:12 am |

    If someone asked me for proof of citizenship randomly as I was going about my day, I’d be so pissed that I might burst a blood vessel.

    if somebody stopped me on the street and asked for proof of citizenship, i’d be unable to provide any. i got my driver’s license before i even had my green card, i don’t carry my passport or certificate of naturalization around town, and my birth certificate’s from another flippin’ country, not that i ever carry it either. had to give up the green card when i naturalized, too — almost a shame, it was a really neat-looking piece of plastic, a decent conversation starter actually.

    granted i’m too milky-white to be stopped, but if i were, my obvious accent is obvious. i couldn’t answer any questions without putting my citizenship in doubt, and be unable to prove it.

  43. Jill
    Jill April 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | *

    This reminds me of my alien card when I lived in Japan. Luckily I was never stopped by the police (probably because I’m a girl), but my male white/colored friends were routinely stopped.

    What in the holy hell? “Colored” friends?

    (Maybe I’m being US-centric here — are you from somewhere else where the word “colored” doesn’t mean what it means here?)

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