Until this disgraceful law is ruled unconstitutional, our kids are going to need to carry around their passports in Arizona to prove--when they meet a police officer who is "reasonably suspicious" that they are illegal immigrants--that they are, in fact, legal Hispanic immigrants and naturalized citizens of the United States of America. If they don't have their "papers" with them, they will be technically guilty of a crime.
The legislation has widespread support among Arizonans, according to one recent poll, but Latino leaders compared the bill to apartheid in South Africa and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. A handful of teenage girls, among the hundreds of high-school students attending a Statehouse rally, openly wept after it was announced that Brewer signed the bill.
"This is the most reprehensible thing since the Japanese internment," said Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state senator and community leader. "This is the saddest day for me. It's shameful."
Arizona's immigration law, now considered the toughest in the nation, makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local police to enforce federal immigration laws.
It will require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a green card or other proof of citizenship, such as a passport or Arizona driver's license.
It also makes it illegal to impede the flow of traffic by picking up day laborers for work. A day laborer who gets picked up for work, and traffic is impeded in the process, would also be committing a criminal act.
Phoenix's mayor is rightly embarrassed.