area of state Arizona law has enjoyed, or been burdened with, newly
intense scrutiny and comment since the legislation commonly referred to
as SB (State Bill) 1070 was first proposed as an overhaul for the
state’s immigration laws. The new Arizona law, formally referred to as
the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, was
generally seen, both by opponents and proponents, as one of the
“toughest” laws to be passed against illegal immigration to the U.S. for
a long time. Most worrying to critics of the new Arizona law is the
place it reserves for ethnicity and race in empowering police officers
to act against people they suspect of being in the state illegally.
While supporters of the Arizona law point to this allegation as a
mischaracterization, citing the law’s requirement that this not be the
only criteria for enforcement, Arizona law opponents believe it will
lead to an increased degree of discrimination against the state’s Latino
residents, both legally resident and otherwise.
of the specter of potential human rights abuses, the Arizona law has
also received criticism, and in some cases legal challenges and
opposition, due to the claim that it has usurped the rightful place of
the federal government in enforcing illegal immigration laws. As such,
Arizona law opponents have argued that the federal government has
largely shirked its responsibilities for this matter, and that the
state’s intervention has been made available by the epidemic of violence
on the other side of the border.