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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Illegal Law Promotes Racism in AZ.

Members from the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities protest the recent law in Arizona. (Photo Credit /

What makes an individual look American?

Such an inquiry should not be given weight when it comes to the formation or application of the law. Yet Arizona’s new immigration bill introduced by Arizona state senator Russell Pearce definitely takes this issue of race into account, albeit in a covert manner.

Passed on April 13 by Arizona’s Republican-dominated legislature, the new immigration bill is an infringement of one’s rights by condoning racial profiling. Not to mention it was penned by proven racists.

These are harsh accusations to make but I have sufficient backing for them. The law mandates that an attempt must be made to determine an individual’s immigration status if the officer feels “reasonable suspicion” that the person may be an illegal immigrant. Is any criteria given for what counts as being reasonably suspicious?

Not at all, that is left to the figures of authority to decide, and the primary way of rooting out those who may be worthy of suspicion goes no deeper than the color of one’s skin.

Of course a police officer will suspect a hispanic man before he will even consider a caucasian man of being an illegal immigrant. All human beings are irrational and prone to bias, that is why laws exist, to promote fairness. However, this won’t really work if the laws themselves are flawed and poorly worded.

Statistically speaking, countries like Mexico and El Salvador are indeed the primary sources for America’s illegal immigrant supply, however in no way does this make racial profiling acceptable. More often than not, targeting people based on their race will only lead to the detainment of innocents. The recent raid on an Arizona town has proven that this law is flawed. The town was supposedly harboring companies that smuggle immigrants across the border. 800 officers were utilized for the raid, 47 people were arrested.

However, only 17 of those people were actually present in the country illegally. This means that 30 of those arrested were completely innocent, yet had to endure the humiliation of arrest, and the inconveniences of police detainment. This was but the first implementation of the new law, further usage of it will mean the arrests of more innocents

Being accosted for documentation of legal residency, and then being arrested when such papers are not conveniently on your person is dehumanizing when it is clear that the targets are primarily chosen because they are not white. And those who advocate the law, saying that it is of no effort to whip out your driver’s license should pull their heads out of the sand

Illegal immigrants can go to any of the states that do not require a Social Security number to procure a driver’s license, so this is not sufficient form of ID. Full documentation would be required, but most of us do not tend to carry that around with us.

As if that was not enough to frustrate any rational human being the law also “allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.”

So, if I understand this correctly, an officer is allowed to arrest somebody if they have a “probable cause to believe” that they are criminals? The word “believe,” just like the word “suspicion,” leaves these provisions very flimsy and flexible by being so non-specific, making this yet another excuse to make arrests based on the officer’s prejudices.

Though the law is not blatantly racist those who are behind its formation certainly are. Russell Pearce, once sent his supporters an e-mail advocating a white separatist group called the National Alliance that said the media wrongly “forces” the public to believe in “a world in which every voice proclaims the equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish ‘Holocaust’ tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of non-White aliens pouring across our borders … .”

If that is not enough proof  he has also been caught on tape hugging a legitimate Neo-Nazi, swastikas and all.

Then there is the man who wrote the law, Kris Kobach. He is an attorney for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of an immigration group called FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

FAIR happens to receive more than a million dollars of funding from a group called the Pioneer Fund, which finances research aiming to prove the superiority of white people. I’m sure Hitler would be beaming with pride.

If anybody else feels a little bit nauseated by this, then I urge you to further research this subject and whatever developments may follow. This may lead to more gastrointestinal discomfort but as citizens of this country we should be fully aware of its political happenings, since a lack of public awareness is part of what allows indiscretions like this to occur.

It is vital that we as Stony Brook students also participate in this debate and show that we will not stand for such intolerance in country that we all love.

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