A New York Times /CBS News poll shows that about 60% of the country supports SB1070, Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law, despite it’s harsh provisions that inevitably lead to racial profiling and transform Arizona into something of a police state where everyone has to carry their papers around with them at all times to prove their status. But the same poll also revealed a large majority of people in favor of a comprehensive overhaul of immigration. The fact is SB1070 that puts the federal issue of immigration enforcement into the hands of local law enforcement is not the solution to the country’s broken immigration system, and a whole range of leaders, lawmakers, activists, law enforcement officers and Members of Congress are speaking out loudly against it.
This starts with a number of Republican voices uncomfortable with the law. Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr wrote a strong piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in which he opposed SB1070 for exercising state police control over an exclusively federal function – protecting our borders and enforcing immigration law. In addition to calling the law troubling because of the “vagueness and breadth” of its provisions, Mr. Barr criticizes it for being “in conflict with traditional notions that the police are not permitted to stop and detain individuals based on mere suspicion.”
Another Republican voice against the Arizona law was that of Florida’s Rep. Connie Mack who thinks that the bill has echoes of Nazi Germany’s Gestapo. He disregarded what is often stated by proponents of the law as an excuse – the Center’s inaction on immigration reform, and said-
This law of “frontier justice”…is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause. It shouldn’t be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you…This is not the America I grew up in and believe in, and it’s not the America I want my children to grow up in…Instead of enacting laws that trample on our freedoms, we should be seeking more ways to create opportunities for immigrants to come to our nation legally and be productive citizens.
And last week, on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger spoke out against SB1070. Calling the Congress and White House’s inaction on tackling the issue of immigration “irresponsible,” he called Arizona’s anti-immigrant law “a mess” and said that it was something he “would never do.”
In addition to lawmakers, some of the loudest objections to the law have come from police officers around the country who feel that in addition to inevitably leading to racial profiling, SB1070 takes away the trust that the community has in local law enforcement and divert resources away from focusing on serious crime, making their jobs of enforcing the law much harder.
Opposition also comes from the baseball community which has been buzzing about Arizona. At a game in Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks faced a lot of opposition from the crowd for the immigration law, with fans yelling “Boycott Arizona!” A day later, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Association issued a statement condemning the law, and Rep. Jose Serrano of New York wrote a letter to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig urging him to change the location for the 2011 All-Star game, currently scheduled to be held in Phoenix, as a way of sending a strong message to Arizona lawmakers that the baseball community is against the law.
30% of baseball players are Latino, and with 140 young Latino baseball players scheduled to arrive in Arizona for the Arizona Rookie League in June, MLB officials are concerned. Apparently Arizona is not new to being boycotted by sports teams. In 1993, when Arizona refused to honor the Federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the NFL pulled the Super Bowl. Twice burned, maybe the lawmakers need to learn that diverse as this nation’s sports teams are, they won’t tolerate laws that disrespect the diversity and freedom that is integral to this country.
Two-time All Star Adrian Gonzalez, one of the biggest names in baseball, has said that he will not play in 2011′s All Star game as long as SB1070 is in effect. Since then more and more MLB players have come out against SB1070, calling it “racist stuff,” “immoral” and a violation of human rights. Actions include signing a petition to the MLB Commissions Selig asking him to boycott Arizona!
This length and breadth of voices against SB1070 is testament to the long list of reasons that the law should not be implemented.
Photo courtesy of nytimes.com