Photo: Mark Henle/ The Arizona Republic
These people have agreed to have their photographs taken, some are illegal immigrants, and some are not. As the Arizona Law SB 1070 is set to take effect on July 29th, many fear the enforcement of the law will lead to racial profiling. It is true that the majority of illegal immigrants in Arizona are Hispanic: it is also true that most Hispanics in Arizona are NOT illegal immigrants, many with generations of citizenship with them.
Carissa Hessick, a criminal law professor at Arizona State University believes Arizona’s law will lead to racial profiling. Hessick was one of four professors who co-authored a report on the new law. The report concludes that the law “authorizes racial profiling.” There is a contradiction in what the law says when it says to the law-enforcement officers that they “may not consider race, color or national origin”, but then notes the exception to the extent those factors are permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution. Federal and Arizona courts have ruled that ethnicity, when considered as one of many factors, can be used to enforce immigration laws, the report says.
“Unfortunately, the constitutional standard we have is not a very high threshold for police to have,” Hessick said. “And you are going to have an awful lot of false positives.”
As a result, Hessick predicts, police will “sweep up an awful lot of people here who are legal residents, who are American citizens, and that is going to be a burden that is going to be disproportionately felt by a particular group here in Phoenix, and that is unfair.”