In Arizona, looking like a fob could get you deported

For a country whose history began with immigrants, I’ve always found it wildly ironic how hostile the US can be towards non-citizens.  The latest example of this is Arizona’s new law on immigration, which gives local police the right to check documentation “when practicable” of anyone who they think might be an undocumented immigrant.  Read between the lines and that means that if you’re not white or if English isn’t your first language, you’d better think twice about leaving your house.  Failure to carry immigration documents would be considered a crime.

I still vividly remember how unnerving my first customs experience in the US was.  I had stopped in Houston for what was supposed to be a standard layover from Singapore.  But, for some reason, US Customs rounded up everyone on my flight who was traveling on a student visa and had us wait while they manually phoned each school to verify our visas.  I waited for five hours in the room, along with about 20 very confused international students.  No bathroom, no water, no food.  And most of all, no questions.  I remember one frustrated Indian student got up and asked a customs official what was going on.   “Shut up,” the customs official replied, yelling. “You are in my country.  You do what I say.”

I understand that immigration policy is controversial – but all people, regardless of citizenship status, should be treated with dignity and respect.  As the NY Times writes, “Opponents have called [Arizona’s new immigration law] an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.”  For that reason alone – regardless of where one stands on the immigration issue – this law is unacceptable.

arizona immigration law

Read more about our thoughts on visas and immigration here.

Update: Take a stand against legalized racial profiling.  Join the “1 MILLION Strong AGAINST the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070” Facebook group!

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  • Lingyai

    Good blog.
    I must say though, while I have some problems with the law, some of the groups against it quite simply do not want borders.
    Does our country have a right to regulate who comes in the country or not?
    Why should people from Mexico (and central America) get to come accross and not wait or hve background checks while people from Africa, Asia, Europe, etc have to pay lots of $ and wait.
    The reality is most illegal immigrants are from Mexico. Arizona is said to have near half a million illegal immigrants. No wonder they are tired of the federal gov’t doing nothing.
    Most of the people are hard working no doubt, but so would people from the Sudan or Cambodia be.

    If you are not in far of deporting anyone, you are basically saying don’t have any immigration limits whatsoever.

    Most new people and bloggers are not competing with illegal immigrants for low skill job so its very easy for them to be so out spoken but what if your job, construction, maid service, etc was paying less because of increased supply?

    I do agree border agents can be (insert bad word of choice) I know this from first hand experience.

  • Lingyai

    (oops sorry for them typos, that is supposed to be “If you are not in favor of deporting” and “Most news people”

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