On Friday afternoon, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the controversial SB 1070 into law. It is currently the harshest anti-immigration law in the country. The law makes it a crime to be in the country illegally, and gives police the power to question people about their immigration status.
Though Brewer does her damnedest to deny it, the bill opens the door wide open for the racial profiling of Latin@s, who comprise 30% of the state’s population. Tellingly, the LA Times notes:
[A] recent poll showed that 70% of state voters supported the measure — even though 53% said it could lead to civil rights violations. [emphasis added]
Brewer included this little gem in her explanation for signing the bill:
There is no higher priority than protecting the citizens of Arizona. We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life.
How lovely to see the undocumented immigrant population conflated with drug cartels and violence. Where have I heard that before?
In a country where “illegal” is a noun that’s synonymous with “Mexican” (Mexican drug cartels, Mexican border violence, border wall along Mexico, brown people swimming across the river from Mexico, etc.), I find it hard to believe that racial profiling rates against Latin@s aren’t going to rise. I seriously doubt police are going to start asking white people for their papers at even a fraction of the rate they question brown people.