The Arizona SB 1070 is labeled as the “Support Our Law Enforcement and
Safe Neighborhoods Act.” The act is a controversial legislative act
that was passed by Arizona that represents the broadest and harshest
stance on immigration measures in the United States.
States Federal law requires that illegal immigrants register with the
United States Government and to possess formal documentation in their
possession at all times. The Arizona SB 1070 places a misdemeanor
charge on those immigrants who fail to carry the required documents,
and further bars state or local officials from restricting enforcement
of federal immigration laws.
The Arizona SB 1070 drew national
publicity and criticism because to initiate the presence of
documentation a law enforcement officer can in essence, racially
profile those that appear to be illegal immigrants. As a result of this
stipulation, the Arizona SB 1070 is often chastised for its aggressive
and discriminatory practices.
The latest immigration news has often revolved around
upcoming political office elections. A politician’s stance on immigration
reform is an important part of his or her campaign. Arizona Senator John
McCain, who ran for president in 2008, had hoped for a complete overhaul of
immigration. In fact, before he even ran for president, he joined Senator Edward
“Ted” Kennedy in pushing
a bill called the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act in 2005.
The Secure America and Orderly
Immigration Act set out to form a worker visa program that would allow American employers
temporarily to hire immigrants for jobs that could not be filled by United
States workers. Undocumented workers would have been able to sign up for the
temporary worker program by paying a fine of $1500. The American employers
would have had to prove that the positions were unable to be filled by American
laborers. The illegal immigrants who would have been granted temporary worker
status would have been able to apply for citizenship.
The bill proposed that illegal immigrants already living in the United States
would have the chance to legalize their status without facing deportation. Although many
considered this a form of amnesty, McCain argued that the legalized status
would not come easily for the illegal immigrants. In addition to paying a high
fine, they would have to compete for the legal immigration slots with other
foreigners. The fine would come from payment of back taxes following a period
Both Senators McCain and Kennedy had a high hopes for the bill, which, like
others in the past also called for increased border security. This was to be accomplished by an increase
in funding for the personnel and technology of the United States Border
Control. McCain proposed that by allowing an easier path to citizenship while
increasing security would drastically cut down the number of illegal immigrants
entering the United States every year. New documentation would have been
provided for the immigrants, cutting down on the number of fake Social Security
numbers, identification cards, and driver’s licenses.
Immigration problems within the United States immigration
system have remained the same for several years. Congress has been unable to
come up with a plan that satisfies the majority, whether headed by Democrats or
Republicans. Immigration problems are an issue that every political candidate
is forced to address. In 1978, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater defied a plan
that would be similar to one that Congress rejected backed by former President George Bush and fellow
Arizona Senator John McCain.
The plan in question was a reform of
the United States immigration policy that would rely on amnesty, or
forgiveness, by granting undocumented illegal immigrants in America a quick path to citizenship. It also imposed stricter sanctions on
employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants, punishing them with fines and
possible jail time. The hope would be that such actions would cause the number
of jobs open to illegal immigrants to dry up and would slow the number of
illegal immigrants who came to the United States each year.
Goldwater had two major criticisms of the plan. His first criticism was that by
granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States would
effectively be rewarding someone for illegal behavior. Goldwater also feared
that the amnesty policy would actually increase immigration problems by causing
tension amongst those immigrants who had undertaken the difficult process of
became a naturalized United States citizen. His second criticism of the plan
focused on the employer sanctions. He claimed that sanctions could raise civil
rights violation issues.
Goldwater proposed an alternate solution. He believed that an expansion of the
temporary worker program would allow Mexican immigrants to enter the United
States on a temporary legal basis and address America’s need for seasonal
workers. The extensions would be good for a time period of roughly six months,
although not necessarily consecutive. Goldwater also believed that the United
States immigration system should have worked on its immigration problems of
monitoring the border by updating the technology and inspection process.