Arizona Still Not Satisfied with Immigration Law
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Last year, Arizona passed a law, SB 1070, that clinched its reputation as the toughest state in the union on illegal immigrants. The law unleashed a firestorm of controversy across the nation, inspiring a dozen copycat bills in various states, not to mention the scores of critics who came out of the woodwork to cry racism. SB 1070 makes it against state law to be an illegal alien in Arizona, requiring state law enforcement to inquire about a suspect's residency status and leading to, as its critics have said, racial profiling. Now, the sponsor of the controversial law, State Senator Russell Pearce, is taking on the 14th amendment. Pearce is beginning a campaign against current birthright citizenship laws, or "anchor babies." Since 1868, the 14th amendment has allowed for children born on U.S. soil to become U.S. citizens, based solely on that fact. As of late, this has produced such interesting phenomena as "birth tourism," in which women come to the U.S. on tourist visas and give birth to U.S. citizens, and "anchor babies." These children are born to illegal immigrants and can, later in life, sponsor their parents and other family members to come live in the U.S. legally. Understandably, such a concept would outrage those who find immigration to be offensive. Pearce says in an interview on CNN that, "I know right and wrong," and "you can't continue to induce people to break our laws by rewarding them with unconstitutional applications of our constitution." Clearly, Pearce isn't much for eloquence and has his own opinions about what is unconstitutional, different even from those of the Supreme Court.
Pearce's Relentless Anti-Immigration Campaigns
As a result of Pearce's relentless anti-immigration campaigns, two Latino organizations have clamored for his immediate recall. Essentially, they are trying to remove Pearce from office. One of the groups, Arizonans for Better Government has said the Pearce has an "overt disdain for the United States Constitution." The proposed "anchor baby" bill will most likely make it through the Arizona Senate, however, as Pearce wields a great amount of influence as President of the Senate. He even exercises quite a bit of control over Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, because the Arizona Senate is a very united conservative group of politicians who can come together rather easily to overturn any possible vetoes made by Brewer. Pearce's stance on immigration even splits with those of his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, who's officials in Utah have come together with Utah lawmakers and businesses to create the Utah Compact, a document that calls for the humane treatment of immigrants and insists that state resources and law enforcement should focus on local crime and leave immigration up to the federal government.
Recalling Pearce may be the only way to stop this bill from being passed in the Arizona Senate but if it makes it through into Arizona law, there will no doubt be many reviews of it, possibly even up to the Supreme Court, who will likely shut it down. More to the point, Pearce is hurting Arizona with his antics, both financially and in terms of the state's reputation. Arizona is beginning to look like the most racist and unsympathetic state in the country. And at a time when Arizona is $2 billion under budget, convention cancellations and other tourism-related industries have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.