Arizona - "Show Me Your Papers"
America has long been known as the “land of opportunity.” Whether it was the Irish immigrants in the late 1800s, or currently, immigrants from Mexico; immigrants have always been an important part of America. This “land of opportunity” has always had questions about how to deal with immigration. One of the biggest questions is: Who should have control over the immigration policies: the federal government or each individual state government?
In order to answer this question and others, the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution. The constitution gives the federal government the power to make the decisions on immigration policy. Currently, however, the state of Arizona is involved in a battle for control if its own immigration policies.
In 2010, Arizona wrote an anti-immigration bill which dealt with the issues of illegal aliens in the state. The federal government challenged the bill as unconstitutional and eventually it landed in the Supreme Court. The bill had four major provisions, all of which were extremely controversial. One provision would make it a crime for illegal immigrants to work or seek work in Arizona. The second provision of the bill would give police officers the power to arrest people without a warrant if they had a cause to think they were illegal immigrants. The third provision would make it a state requirement for immigrants to register with the government. These three components were all ruled as in violation of the Federal government’s power to deal with immigration. However, the most controversial part of the bill was upheld.
“Show Me Your Papers”
The final component of the Arizona bill stated that if a police officer pulled someone over for any reason and they had reason to believe they were an illegal alien, the officer could ask for their immigration documents. This part of the bill was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court. Even though this bill is now a law, there was enough uncertainty surrounding it that it is likely to stay in the courts longer.
There are two sides to every story and this law is no different. Some Americans believe that the passage of this law is racial profiling. Racial profiling is singling a group of people out based on their race as opposed to their actions. Those who disagree with the law argue that it is unconstitutional and that the Federal government should continue to have the power to make immigration policies. Other Americans believe that if the Federal government isn’t going to do something about the immigration issues facing our country, then the states should have the power to be able to do something. They think this law will help to solve the pressing issue of illegal immigration.
With so many differing opinions and the likelihood that the law will see further action in court, the future of the Arizona law and immigrants’ entry into the “land of opportunity” remains uncertain.