Outrage has spread throughout progressives in the United States after both houses of the legislature of the State of Arizona passed a highly repressive immigration bill. The bill grants police the ability to demand papers confirming a person’s immigration status on the basis of “reasonable suspicion”, opening up the possibility of further ethnic profiling and the arbitrary detention of those not carrying their state papers.
The Governor, Republican Jan Brewer, has not yet signed the bill but is expected to do so. The American Civil-Liberties Union are planning to sue, and the federal Supreme Court has recently shot down a similar Act in New Hampshire ruling that immigration is a reserved power of the Federal Government and so out of the jurisdiction of the State legislature.
The Arizona Police Chief’s Association has condemned the bill, claiming it will drive immigrant communities underground and win their sympathies over to criminal elements. Similar discrimination towards ethic Italian immigrant communities won over a large section of the Italian-American population to the Mafia who took a hard line against anti-Italian discrimination. The same risk exists with the Mexican crime cartels. Police unions, on the other hand, are backing the bill – in what is probably the first case of union demands being trumpeted by the Republican administration in Arizona…
All of this foreshadows a future Britain if a Tory Government is able to follow through on their pledge to reintroduce the Sus Law. Granting the police unaccountable powers to stop on suspicion alone is, as history empirically demonstrates, an open invitation of racial profiling and police harassment.