Dear Arizona, What happened to you?

Photo Credit: Talk Radio News Service

In the past few years, the Arizona government has instituted a variety of policy changes surrounding immigration, many of which led to heated debates by national media figures, political activists, and others. The creation and implementation of SB-1070 (The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act) garnered national and international attention as it left many Arizonans distraught with the acts of prejudice coming from their state legislature. SB-1070 allows police to check the residency status of anyone they suspect to be an undocumented immigrant. This policy opens the door to racial profiling, discrimination, and a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

I was born and spent the vast majority of my childhood in Phoenix. Arizona is, and will always be, my home. I am disgraced and ashamed of the acts of Arizona’s state legislature. Being from Arizona used to be something I valued and was proud to share, but due to recent policy changes, that feeling has drastically changed. Growing up in Phoenix used to be a source of pride for me because I was fortunate enough to grow up in an incredibly diverse place. The fact that Spanish was spoken ubiquitously throughout the city was a wonderful advantage to someone, like myself, who only spoke one language and had taken Spanish classes in school all my life. The ability to venture into my own community to practice and improve my Spanish language skills was a wonderful asset to my education. Living in a semi-bilingual city was something I valued greatly as an Arizonan because the diversity of Phoenix made it an intriguing and exciting place to live. SB-1070 and the other racially based policies recently instituted in Arizona represent an attempt to strip away the diversity and culture of the state. As an Arizonan, I am ashamed to admit that I am from a state that so blatantly profiles the people who live there based on the color of their skin.

5 responses to “Dear Arizona, What happened to you?

  1. I completely agree. The new policies are a clear demonstration of racial profiling. In my policy paper, I actually mentioned an issue that directly relates to this problem. In California, law enforcement has pulled people over, asking for legal documentation and those without papers have had their cars and property taken from them, leaving them literally stranded. These are the kinds of issues we need to directly address not just in California, but other states like Arizona as well. There is no doubt that this can happen in Arizona if you’re able to check the residency status of anybody walking down the street.

  2. I agree with hanersk. I remember first hearing about these policies in New York, and the anger was palpable. Arizona needs to understand that in discriminating so blatantly against people of Mexican (or just presumed Mexican) descent can only end badly for them. I know many people who were considering going to college in Arizona or attending enrichment programs based in Arizona who refused to upon hearing about these policies. Arizona’s leaders need to see that it is not only limiting itself by being completely racist and wrong, it’s giving itself a bad name in the eyes of many other states.

  3. I like that this policy has affected so many people. People like you should be the ones to stand up and say that this racial profiling is absolutely unjust. Police officers should have the right to check potential illegal immigrants– there are no boundaries for this policy. What makes someone look like an undocumented immigrant? Arizona should re-evaluate this law and see that they have made a mistake.

  4. I can understand your frustration with Arizona’s new law. It is hard to believe that this is not the first or only law of its kind, because other states are adopting similiar provisions, such as Alabama. Arizona’s economy depends on immigrants, yet it seems they are trying to increase deportations.

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