Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Arizona is Center of Heated Immigration Debate

With an estimated 500,000 out of a population of 6.5 million residents,  Arizona has long been the center of a heated immigration debate.  The state has given rise to vigilante groups such as the Minutemen and was rececntly in the spotlight again when, as reported in La Plaza, Shawna Forde was charged with murdering for leading a home invasion robbery which she and her fellow ani immigrant activists believed to be where a drug dealer was living.  It lead to the death of nine-year-old girl Brisenia Flores and her father.  The group hoped to steal money in an effort to raise funds for an anti-immigrant activities. Arizona is also home to controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has come under fire from lawmakers and activists alike.  Earlier this year, the  Department of Justice launched an investigation against him for “allegations of discriminatory practices based on a person’s national origin and unconstitutional searches and seizures.”  Among other things, the sheriff has deployed a civilian posse to “patrol” for smugglers.

Countering this trend, today,  the Arizona House rejected a bill that would have made being an illegal immigrant part of a trespassing law. The House voted 26-15 in favor of the bill and was just five votes shy of the number needed to pass it. The Senate had approved the bill 16-11.

Supporters say an expanded trespassing law would help local police catch illegal immigrants, while opponents say that it would only lead to more racial profiling for Latinos.

The immigration debate in Arizona follows President Obama’s meeting last week with members of Congress at the White House to discuss upcoming immigration reform legislation. According to a senior White House official, the president would like to pass an immigration reform measure later this year or early next year.

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who leads the work on the effort for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said, “I don’t think he could have be clearer today or more committed today that he wanted to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality.”

Obama told reporters, “It’s going to require some heavy lifting. It’s going to require a victory of practicality and common sense and good policymaking over short-term politics. That’s what I’m committed to doing as president.”

Huffington Post

Associated Press


Washington Post