What Does Arizona Really Change?

So there's no questioning that the new immigration law in Arizona has enormous racial overtones and a clear bias--most Caucasians aren't going to "look" potentially illegal to cops, above all...but here's the thing: I'm not sure that this is going to change how the law in Arizona deals with illegals and all sorts of immigrants, for that matter.

Let's be clear: Arizona officially taking this stance with such publicity and strong messaging is not okay.


Police officers do have certain rights to detain people for being disorderly, etc. and it's not unimaginable that a particularly racist or anti-immigrant officer would find some other excuse to detain anyone on suspicion of being an illegal. Of course, the time in prison is not the same at all, but the beginning through end result--a police officer harassing someone who looks illegal and then having them deported--seem very similar.

And, as with many laws, this one puts most of the burden onto law enforcement. So a person who thinks this law is unfair simply has to not find any illegal-looking types. I can only hope that Arizona hasn't degenerated so far that they'll impose a quota: now that sounds beyond unconstitutional.

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