When we hear the word “illegal” in the news, which has been the constant case recently, we automatically associate the term with a negative connotation. “In the U.S. media, unauthorized immigrants are often interchangeably referred to as ‘illegal aliens,” “illegal immigrants,” and undocumented immigrants” (Ommundsen 461). The term undocumented immigrants seems to be the one less associated with a negative connotation. Immigration has been an issue that has been around for a long time and it is becoming more so of an issue now because of the massive amounts of unaccompanied minors (undocumented immigrants) that are crossing the Mexico/U.S. Border. Gloria Anzaldua calls it the silent invasion to the promised land now, the traffic is now from south to north and today thousands of Mexicans are crossing the border legally and illegally (32-33). This is creating massive coverage in the media which its depictions are not always to the best of the benefit of the undocumented immigrants on the contrary the depictions are stirring all sorts of controversy in all people.
What does SB1070 consist of?Anti-immigration legislation has existed before the impact of the Arizona Senate Bill 1070; many other anti-immigration bills have been passed before Arizona. But of course Arizona has been by far the most extreme one that we have heard about nationally and it has open pathways for many other states to proposed anti-immigration bills. Months prior to the signing of SB 1070 more than two thirds of U.S states considered 1,180 immigration bills. Between the years 2004 and June of 2005 Arizona legislature sponsored 20 anti-immigration bills. “Prior to 2010, Arizona had passed laws enforcing racial profiling, criminalization of false identification, workplace raids, English only education, and restricted employment opportunities and access to public social services, In April of 2010, Arizona passed Senate bill 1070 (SB 1070), mandating law enforcement to determine the legal status of individuals when stopped or arrested based on suspicion of unauthorized status, to penalize immigrants for not carrying harbor, or assist unauthorized immigrants, also commonly termed as “paper please”(Valdez 279). Because of the up rise of SB1070 other states which are labeled as copycats have been inspired to create anti-immigration bills. “Nearly 21 states have signaled desire to follow Arizona’s pathway” (Far 907). States such as Alabama, Utah, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana have passed similar policies as Arizona’s SB 1070. Alabama has even gone a little further to ask for proof of documents when registering for school. Other states proposed similar bills but were not passed such as Texas.
How it began
Arizona had primarily been considered one of the s poorest states in the country. “Prior to 2010, Arizona had passed laws enforcing racial profiling, criminalization of false identification, workplace raids, English-only education, and restricted employment opportunities and access to public social services” (Valdez, Valentine, and Padilla 279). They had already started passing anti-immigration bills before forming this major, nation shocking anti-immigration bill. When the former Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano left to the Department of Homeland Security it gave way for Republic secretary of State Jan Brewer to go into office without election. According to Jeff Biggers after the murder of borderland rancher Robert Krentz by a suppose “illegal alien” which was never proven, there was a stir up in the media by Tea Party leader Russell Pearce, who his son a law enforcement officer was killed by an illegal alien, and Brewer’s rhetoric, which had suddenly let loose the hounds of anti-immigration fervor with the signing of SB1070 in April 2010 within a month of the ranchers death (50-52).
SB 1070 consisted of making it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required proper documentation. It required for law enforcement to gather prove of legal status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest", or during a "lawful contact" not specific to any activity when there was suspicion that the person could be considered an illegal immigrant. It incorporated that a “peace officer may lawfully stop any person who is operating a motor vehicle if the officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe the person is in violation of any civil traffic law” this had to deal with the smuggling of illegal aliens. Also an unauthorized alien “means that an alien who does not have the legal right or authorization under federal law to work in the United States” and it was a crime to hire illegal aliens. In other words “the stated purpose of the Arizona bill is to attain “attrition enforcement”—that is, to grind down the population of unlawful aliens and their economic activity (Fan 940). This law was enacted according to Pearce because “how long will it be before we will just like Mexico? We have already lost our language; everything must be printed in Spanish. We have already lost our history since it is no longer taught in our schools. And we have lost our borders” (Biggers 71). There had been an increase of violence in Arizona according to the advocates of this SB1070 that something needed to be done. They were tired of all the crimes, drug smugglers, human smugglers, generic criminals and the sheer volume of people pouring over our unsecured border (Biggers 52). Nothing was ever proven when it came to all these crimes that were mentioned by the advocates of this law, on the flip side crime rates had not increased according to the national crime rate, crime rates had remain flat. Correa-Cabrera and Rojas-Arenaza explain that there are “key facts and statistics released by anti-immigrant groups [that] are often inaccurate, or simply false. Even so, dubious immigration data and the mass media are often used to manipulate public opinion and push an anti-immigration agenda” (299).
Why they choose to stay
Regardless of the SB1070 “undocumented immigrants” choose to stay in the state risking every day that they might be stopped and be deported causing them to be separated from their families. Many have chosen to stay according to Valdez, Lewis and Padilla because they consider Arizona their home. They have lived there for many years and they don’t want to go back to their country because of all drug violence that is occurring right now in Mexico. One undocumented immigrant that was interviewed even said that he was deported because he was in the US illegally but then came back by crossing the border again illegally. Other undocumented immigrants don’t move to other states because they assume that it is the same everywhere according to friends and relatives who live in other states. They also have the notion that this law had created the effects that have been felt across the nation and will eventually get to all states so why bother to move now if it will be the same eventually in other states according to them. They did mentioned that they feel they had become alienated from society many of the undocumented immigrants that were interviewed said because they were scared that someone would tell on them and the police would come for them. Some would be involved in their son/daughter schools but due to this law now they didn’t feel as secure to walk or drive the streets of Arizona. They would prefer to stay home and wait for their children who are US born to get an education (282-285).
“Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the law that took center stage in the case, led to copycat laws in other states and ignited a firestorm of denigration across the country” (1575). The states that were able to pass similar laws as SB1070 were Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah and Indiana. Their anti-immigration policies consist of the same as Arizona’s from asking for papers if they notice someone suspicious to giving the law enforcement the right to ask for documentation in traffic stops, which created a whole issue in regards to judging someone’s image to determine if they “look” as someone who would not have documentation. Alabama even took it a step further than Arizona to requiring schools to check legal status before registering a student into school. “In the last few years, attempts to reform the dysfunctional US immigration system have failed and, what is more, new controversial legislation that criminalizes undocumented immigrants has recently passed in several states, beginning in Arizona describes the current situation of US immigration system” (Correa-Cabrera &Rojas-Arenaza 306).Senate Bill 1070 http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf
Sec. 4. E. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW. A PEACE OFFICER MAY LAWFULLY STOP ANY PERSON WHO IS OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IF THE OFFICER HAS A REASONABLE SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THE PERSON IS IN VIOLATION OF ANY CIVIL TRAFFIC LAW AND THIS SECTION.
Sec. 5. 2. “UNAUTHORIZED ALIEN” MEANS AN ALIEN WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT IR AUTHORIZATION UNDER FEDERAL LAW TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES AS DESCRIBED IN 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION1324A (h) (3).
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Ante lute books, 1987. Print.
Biggers, Jeff. State out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown over the American Dream. New York: Nation Books, 2012. Print.
Cisneros, Josue David. “Looking “Illegal”: Affect, Rhetoric, and Performativity in Arizona’s Senate Bill 1071.” Border Rhetorics. Ed. D. Robert DeChaine. Alabama: U of Alabama P, 2012. 133-150. Print.
Correa-Cabrera, Guadalupe & Miriam Rojas-Arenaza. “The Mathematics of Mexico-US Migration and US Immigration Policy.” Policy Studies 33.4 (2012): 297-312. Business Source Complete. Web. 26 June 2014.
Fan, Mary D. "Post-Racial Proxies: Resurgent State and Local Anti-"Alien" Laws and Unity- Rebuilding Frames for Antidiscrimination Values." Cardozo Law Review 32.3 (2011): 905-945. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 July 2014.
Ommundsen, Reidar, et al. “Framing Unauthorized Immigrants: The effects of Labels on Evaluations. “Psychological Reports 114.2 (2014): 461-478. Business Source Complete. Web. 25 June 2014.
Valdez, Carmen R., Jessa Lewis Valentine, and Brian Padilla. "“Why We Stay”: Immigrants’ Motivations For Remaining In Communities Impacted By Anti-Immigration Policy." Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology 19.3 (2013): 279-287. PsycARTICLES. Web. July 16 2014.
Wilson, Tamar Diana. "Research Note: Issues of Production Vs. Reproduction/Maintenance Revisited: Towards an Understanding of Arizona's Immigration Policies." Anthropological Quarterly 81.3 (2008): 713-718. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 July 2014.