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Anti-immigrant fervor could be more costly than Arizona lawmakers expected. Thanks to SB 1070, a new law that requires immigrants to carry papers at all times to prove their legal status, the state has become the focal point of the national immigration debate. The bill and the buzz surrounding it illustrates a desperate need for a federal fix to the broken immigration system.
President Barack Obama publicly condemned the measure shortly before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill on April 23, while human rights groups and immigration reform supporters are threatening national boycotts and lawsuits.
SB 1070 makes it possible for local police to racially profile Latinos by allowing them to check a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be undocumented. It elicits memories of South Africa under apartheid, when blacks were forced to carry passbooks or otherwise risk incarceration. For a good historical perspective of immigration in Arizona, check out Jessica Pieklo’s blog for Care2.
Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, joins many bloggers and immigrant rights supporters in calling for a boycott. “Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva is urging a boycott of his own state. San Francisco has already announced its intentions to boycott Arizona,” Rothschild writes. “The response from the Latino community has been instant and outraged. And the upcoming May Day rallies are sure to be huge.”