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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hypocrisy of SB 1070 matches that of breaking the law

    The saying goes, with every finger you point at another, there are always three pointing back at you. This hypocrisy seems to be especially relevant in today’s society, from the moment Gov. Jan Brewer pointed her bony finger at President Obama, the recent executive order made by our president and now the Supreme Court’s decision on Senate Bill 1070.

    Arizona’s controversial immigration bill was enacted in April 2010, and as of Monday, the Supreme Court justices ruled with a 5-3 vote that all but one provision of the bill was unconstitutional. Section 2b, known as the “papers please” section, which allows officers the right to verify a person’s immigration status during a reasonable stop or arrest by law enforcement, was the only upheld provision.

    The Supreme Court recognizes the challenges that our state faces with illegal immigration. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that immigration policies are tricky to create due to their high impact on trade, investments, tourism and diplomatic relations. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics cites that more than 100,000 illegal immigrants were deported from Arizona in 2010. The majority opinion also states that in Phoenix, the state’s most populous city, 8.9 percent of the population are illegal immigrants, responsible for 21.8 percent of the felonies in Maricopa County, according to a study conducted by the Center for Immigration.

    The law also states that “unlawful entry and unlawful reentry into the country are federal offenses. Once here, aliens are required to register with the Federal Government and to carry proof of status on their person. Failure to do so is a federal misdemeanor.”

    Here is where I come to a fork in the road with my stance on illegal immigration.

    I look at the color of my skin and my Arizona driver’s license. I look around at this beautiful state and realize that none of this was my choice. It was happenstance and out of my control. Like many in America, I’m a natural-born citizen, and not by choice.

    Yes, we were born in a privileged country and those that immigrate illegally are just trying to make a better life. I understand that. But illegal acts are wrong and there is a way to legally enter our country to make a better life. That way may need to be made easier, but regardless, it’s a federally mandated process.

    A wise person once used the analogy that if a bank was robbed and you’re seen running through the exit of the bank, officials are going to assume that you were the robber. It would be ignorant to assume otherwise.

    The conundrum is that the “papers please” provision does test the human ability to judge a subjective trait entirely based on skin color and appearance. Whether that assumption of illegal status is accurate or inaccurate holds no water against the fact that we have millions of immigrants coming across our borders illegally and the federal government is doing nothing about it. Instead, they are pardoning the original act and granting those who broke the rules incentives to stay in our country.

    How else do we decide who is here legally and illegally without asking for required and valid paperwork? Arizona law enforcement officials should ask everyone regardless if they look like a “bank robber” for proof of residency. Will that not be fair to everyone and reduce the chance of racial profiling?

    I would be happy to have my stop delayed to show them my paperwork, run it through E-verify and let them confidently know I’m a citizen. I don’t understand why every legal immigrant wouldn’t also be delighted and proud that they came here legally and show the officer their papers.

    Right now, in the eyes of Mexico and nations around the world, we are a country that is unprotected, easily entered and offers the same rights to the rule-breakers as the rule-followers.

    President Obama wants to leave them be and grant them rights. Gov. Brewer wants them to get the hell out. Congress is divided and the Supreme Court ruling stands. The problem has still not been solved.

    Criticizing the government is easy, but the problem lies in appeasing those that value the law as well and the human desire to make a better life. I don’t have the answers to Arizona’s dilemma, but the ones proposed aren’t answers at all. If everyone just followed the rules, this situation wouldn’t exist. But according to Obama, the rules are meant to be broken and thus the cycle of our government’s hypocrisy continues.

    —Courtney L’Ecuyer is the perspectives editor. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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