Monday, May 3, 2010

Poll: Is the new Arizona immigration law fair?

Is the new Arizona immigration law unconstitutional? Or racist?

In light of Friday's discussion of the new Arizona Immigration Law, I would like to give everyone an opportunity to provide their insight, since discussion was cut short by time constraints. The discussion became quite lively and it is my view that the issue is too important not to allow another outlet for people to express their views. I encourage everyone to participate, even if you are from one of my other courses or are a casual reader of this blog.

For those of you who were not present in my World Civ. II course when the law was raised, the class discussed whether the new statute was constitutional and whether or not it would lead to racial profiling. Here is a snippet from the Constitutional Prof Law Blog that will sum up the most controversial part of the law:

The new Arizona law allows state officials to inquire into the immigration status of any person based upon "reasonable suspicion":

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.

I made it quite clear that I believe that the law will be proven unconstitutional and that it will lead to racial profiling. I concede that my opinion was in the minority in the discussion and that there is another side to the issue. For those who are reading this who are not members of my World Civ. course, the issue was raised within the context of a discussion of Nazism. In 1935, the Nuremburg Laws were passed, limiting the rights of German Jews significantly. I am therefore sensitive to any law that singles out one group of people and denies them legal rights. I am not saying that the U.S. is in danger of becoming a Fascist state; however, it is my view that laws like this present us with a slippery slope--today, one group, tomorrow, another. I believe as a nation we can come up with more sensible immigration policy that protects the rights of all.

For a critique of the Arizona law, read Mike Saporito's blog, "What is Arizona Thinking?".

Feel free to take the poll above.