Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer had just signed a controversial immigration bill, calling for the arrest of those who cannot document their legal status in the United States. This is in advance to the escalating immigration reform issue which is presently contested if it has to be addressed as a priority in Congress.
The law which will take effect after 90 days will make it a state crime for a person who to be in the country illegally. This authorizes the police to require a person to produce alien registration documents upon suspicion that he or she is an illegal immigrant. This can be a green card. The law also makes it illegal to transport illegal immigrants as well as hiring them. It also allows lawsuits pressed against government agencies that hamper the implementation of immigration laws.
It has been recalled that President Obama singled this out as “misguided”, and instead called for a national immigration reform.
Thousands of protesters rallied in front of the State Capitol calling that the law could be exploited for human rights abuses and is also a form of racial discrimination. In her response however, Governor Brewer called the critics “overreacting”. She reiterated that she will not tolerate racial profiling. The Governor further said that “this is in response to an emergency which the government has refused to act upon”.
It is estimated that 460,000 illegal immigrants live in Arizona, which also is the main point of entry for illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.
The law has spurred various reactions for the public. “This law … affects the relationship between Arizona and Mexico and obligates the Mexican government to reevaluate the viability and usefulness of our cooperation,” Foreign Minister Espinosa in Mexico for instance was quoted while Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican who supported the measure, told Reuters that “It is a great day or the people of Arizona who will be safer once implemented.”