Arizona was the only territory west of Texas to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy during the Civil War. A century later, it fought recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. This week, an anti-immigrant bill was signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Arizona Senate Bill 1070 empowers state and local law enforcement to stop, question and arrest whoever they suspect may not be in the state legally. The law is an open invitation to sweeping racial profiling and arbitrary detention.
The law ostensibly offers “cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona.” It provides that a “law enforcement officer, without a warrant, may 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 United States.”
Thus, if a police officer suspects a Latino person of being an undocumented immigrant, he or she can lock that person up. Day laborers are targeted. It is illegal to accept (or make) a job offer in some roadside settings, and even makes “communication by a gesture or a nod” in accepting a work offer an arrestable offense. S.B. 1070 goes further, facilitating anonymous reporting of businesses that anyone suspects has undocumented employees.