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.