With the signing of Senate Bill 1070, draconian legislation that would force police officers to arrest anyone they "suspect" is an illegal immigrant, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer turns her back on the momentum and outrage that has built around the country in opposition to the bill.
In the last few days alone, national law enforcement organizations, immigrant rights' groups, the ACLU, and even Senators Schumer and Graham--the authors of bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation--have said in no uncertain terms that the Arizona bill is bad law that should never be enacted.
So who's against it?
The People of Arizona. According to an article in Thursday's New York Times, approximately 85 percent of the calls going in to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's office are being recorded in OPPOSITION to the legislation.
Law enforcement groups. Law enforcement groups and agents in Arizona and across the country have opposed the legislation. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police this week issued a statement, noting in part, "The provisions of the bill . . . will negatively affect the ability of law enforcement agencies across the state to fulfill their many responsibilities in a timely manner. " Individual Chiefs of Police across the country, including in Colorado Springs, Raleigh, San Francisco and Sacramento, have also come out in opposition to the bill.
President Obama. At a press conference Friday, Obama slammed the bill as "misguided," stating that "the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."
People of Faith. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who heads the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese with 4.3 million members, spoke for many people of faith when he lambasted the bill on his blog, stating, "The Arizona legislature just passed the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law. The tragedy of the law is its totally false reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense."
Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis has also spoken out against the bill, writing in Huffington Post, "[E]nforcement of this law would force us to violate our Christian conscience, which we simply will not do. It makes it illegal to love your neighbor in Arizona."
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Groups--Including the ACLU, the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League. "The passage of SB 1070 is a catastrophe in the making that would institutionalize racial profiling in a misguided attempt to fix our broken immigration system," said Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Deborah Lauter of the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and protects civil rights for all, concurred. "Laws like this one and the immigration debate that surrounds them have become a flashpoint for racist and neo-Nazi extremist groups that foment bigotry and blame immigrants for all of our country's problems. Other groups in opposition include: the ACLU, the Asian American Justice Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the NAACP.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including Reps. Gutierrez and Grijalva, have asked President Obama to block the Arizona legislation if it passes. "The president of the United States should simply say, 'On the issue of immigration, the Constitution is clear, my power is clear -- I'm going to regulate immigration in the United States from a federal level,'" Gutierrez said. On a call with reporters, Grijalva added, "When you institutionalize a law like this one, you are targeting and discriminating at a wholesale level against a group of people."
Immigrants Rights' Groups. "This bill throws the door wide open to the racial profiling of Arizona's Latinos, the vast majority of whom are native-born U.S. citizens and legal residents, without doing a single thing to protect the people of Arizona," said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
This afternoon, Gov. Brewer explained her decision to sign SB 1070, saying that "decades of federal inaction and misguided policies" have created "a dangerous and unacceptable situation."
Ironic choice of words, considering one could describe this xenophobic bill--which essentially legalizes racial profiling--with the exact same turn of phrase.
Do you have thoughts about the passage of SB 1070? Send a message to Jan Brewer and we'll make sure that she receives your concerns about the bill.