Fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in Necos, Arizona.
Beyond Borders, Dispatches, United States

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Signs Strict Immigration Law

April 24, 2010 By Alison Bowen
Fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in Necos, Arizona.

Fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in Necos, Arizona.

NEW YORK — Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed what’s been called the nation’s toughest immigration bill on Friday afternoon, making it a crime to not carry proper documentation.

The bill gives police officers more latitude to stop people on the suspicion that they are undocumented immigrants, which critics said could lead to racial profiling.

In a statement on her Web site, Brewer said the bill is a state tool during a “crisis we did not create,” which she said was “caused by illegal immigration and Arizona’s porous border.”

She added that she had “listened patiently to both sides” and concluded that the state needed to be protected from Mexico’s drug war violence, which is dribbling over the border.

“We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our international border creeps its way north,” she said.

The bill, called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, also makes it illegal to hire or transport day laborers, and it allows for lawsuits against government agencies not enforcing immigration laws.

In recent months, the bill became a nationwide controversy, stirring dispute between supporters of tough immigration legislation and immigrant advocates who said the law unjustly targeted immigrants and legal residents, such as family members who might be driving around an undocumented relative.

Earlier on Friday, President Barack Obama criticized the bill, The New York Times reported, saying it could “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

In March, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano criticized the legislation, invoking her previous vetoes as governor of the state on similar legislation.

“I thought I was right when I vetoed it the first time, I thought I was right the second time, I thought I was right the third time,” Janet Napolitano told Arizona State University students, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

On Thursday, the National Immigration Law Center’s general counsel Linton Joaquin urged the governor toward a veto.

“Were this new bill to be enacted, Arizonans of all backgrounds would suffer a major blow to their civil rights,” Joaquin said in a press release. “This means that a mother taking her children to school, members of a family walking to church, or a man making a quick trip to the convenience store could be arrested for not carrying their birth certificates.”

In her statement, Brewer said she would not tolerate racial profiling or discrimination in the state and inserted language prohibiting officers from “solely considering race, color, or national origins.”

Image: jonathan mcintosh @ Flickr.

About Alison Bowen

Alison is a Missouri native and New York City freelance writer who has wanted to cover Latin America since studying Spanish in Central America. After moving to Brooklyn, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Daily News, the Manhattan Times and Women’s eNews. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University. Her thesis focused on immigration policies after September 11, including counterterrorism measures, and their effects on the daily lives of immigrants in New York City.


Terry says:

Finally, someone tries to bring some common sense into the illegal immigration problem.
Thank you, Jan Brewer for standing up for the American citizen and against those who think everyone in the world has a “right” to what the American system has created, whether they are criminals or not!

Samone says:

You can be arrested for not carrying your papers?! This is complete nonsense and the notion that increased racial profiling will not be a factor is naive!

David P. Kuech says:

Thank you Gov. Brewer for signing legislation into law to protect our American freedom and safety. Americans are the rightful citizens of this country, not illegals. And our President is wrong to speak poorly of what you have done. No surprise really. HE’S WRONG ON EVERY ISSUE HE BRINGS TO THE TABLE FOR CONSIDERATION. THANKS AGAIN GOVERNOR! GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!-David P. Kuech

Beth Rutherford says:

Way to go, Governor Brewer! Those who criticize you aren’t dealing on a daily basis with the crimes, drug trafficking, shootings & trashing of people’s property that you do, as well as thousands of illegals crossing our borders to disappear into our system, having multiple social security numbers, free housing, food & medical care that many LEGAL citizens don’t have. Don’t give up the good fight! If I lived in your state, I’d be out there shouting at the top of my lungs that you’ve done the right thing & are a hero!!! Hate law & state??? I think not. You & many of us are just sick & tired of our country being taken over & no one doing anything to stop it. Someone needs to stand up for our legal citizens & stop this madness & thank God you’ve taken that step for us!! I’d vote for you in a heartbeat!! As far as having to carry papers? You’re danged right!!! If they want to be here to work as an UN-American, then they can have it with them at all times, especially if they truly are here to work. If they want a better life, then they can step up to the plate & go through the citizenship process exactly as people did years ago.

So bring it on, baby! Let’s just see how our country can’t run without them!!

Jan Brewer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Janice Kay “Jan” Brewer (born September 26, 1944 as Janice Drinkwein) is the 22nd and current Governor of the U.S. state of Arizona and is a Neo-Conservative Republican in the tradition of Leo Strauss, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Irving Kristol. Janice Drinkwein Brewer automatically became governor of Arizona as part of the line of succession as determined by the Arizona constitution, thus not being elected by the people of Arizona, replacing duly elected former governor Janet Napolitano. Jan Brewer became governor at a time of extreme economic upheaval for the state, and issues such as a dwindling tax base, record foreclosures, public education funding, immigration reform and healthcare have all been key issues during her time in office.

She is also noted for her feud against actor/singer Ricky Dôminguez regarding illegal immigration laws.

Brewer was born in Hollywood, California to Perry and Edna Drinkwine, and raised in a conservative Jewish Ashkenazi home (surname originally Dernkwein). Her father died of lung disease when she was eleven years old. She married John Brewer and worked in Glendale, California before moving to his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona in 1970. They later moved to Glendale, Arizona where he became a successful chiropractor and found success in real estate as well. She gave birth to three sons, one of whom died from cancer in 2007.[2]

Brewer attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona.[3]

Montana says:

Arizona can pass race base laws, pass Birthers laws and the state can continue to boycott Martin Luther King Day, well the rest of the Country can boycott the state of Arizona and spank them where it hurts them the most their pocket book. Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat War profiteering contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

rita ros-planas says:

Arizona has enacted a law that would make Hitler proud! What’s next? Hispanics forced to wear an emblem on their outer garments? Anyone who fails to understand or rationalizes how wrong and unjust this law is is just a pure bigot.

Joe says:

Great job Jan, Hopefully other states will follow suit !! Its simple, if poeple belong in this country legally they have no reason to be alarmed regardless of ethnic backround. If they dont belong here they should apply for legal status not demand amnesty!!!! If this is unacceptable just go back to your native country .The mindset that this country somehow owes these people something is insane! The large part of the blame can be cast upon the current and past administration for not enforcing border control. Jan took the much needed 1st. step.

[…] In a blog piece, Republican Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan spoke out against the controversial new immigration law in Arizona. […]

[…] the Arizona law stirs up discussion, Democrats in Washington are feeling pressure rise to work on an immigration […]

wicho Morino says:

Before i begin i say this “freedom of speech”. i think she is being a total worthless piece of trash. how dare she try to enforce immigration laws so strict and cruel, have you forgotten America is the land of immigrants and chances. “Americans” are all immigrants so i say this if you pass this law I say you go back England.

wicho Morino says:

long ago, in the times of the plague. people where dieing and they saw no reason for these, no cause of death so what did they do. they blamed the jaws and killed them off. how is this any preferment. the economy is sown because of your stupidity, so you do the only thing you can you blame Hispanics

Mellisa P says:

The law is completely anticonstitutional, I see AZ becoming a little Russia or Cuba. I am really impressed of the comments i have read posted by those who call themselves good American citizens, the perfect word to describe you all is racist. I am white and ashamed of livin in AZ. If tis law passes I will move out to a different state

[…] Top Story — President Barack Obama promised to address immigration reform this year during a Cinco de Mayo celebrations at the White House’s Rose Garden. Obama’s pledge comes just a week after Mexican President Felipe Calderón said he would push for immigration reform in the U.S. during his upcoming visit and on the heels of the controversial new immigration law in Arizona. […]

[…] arrests took place after about 100 people protested by 26 Federal Plaza, criticizing the Arizona law and deportations under President Barack Obama’s […]

[…] a press conference in the Rose Garden, both Obama and Calderón criticized the new Arizona law that gives police officers more latitude to stop people on the suspicion that they are undocumented […]

[…] Arizona recently passed a strict law requiring people to carry paperwork proving their immigration status. Officials there said they were forced to tackle immigration themselves after federal inaction. […]

[…] two shootings come during a tense period in U.S.-Mexican relations, due in large part to Arizona’s immigration law introduced in April and President Barack Obama’s recent pledge to send 1,200 National Guard […]

[…] Arizona law, called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, if there is reason […]

[…] Arizona law, called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, if there is reason […]

[…] Governor Jan Brewer is reviewing the law she signed to see if any changes would make it more palatable to the federal […]

[…] murder galvanized an Arizona law that required police to check immigration status during criminal stops. Two days after his murder, […]

Ren says:

Thats bull crap talkin, why the hell would she want to post a law like that? It’s unnecessary and stupid. If I was driving to a friends house or somethin, I wouldn’t want to be stop by the police just because I didn’t have my birth certificate, or because I looked foreign. If you ask me, its very unconstitutional. I mean, I understand about the Mexico problem and all but, theres somethin called drivers license ID, where police officers could look through your records and know that you are an American citizen. No need to go that far.

Lisa says:

I believe the real promblem here is that our goverment isnt thinking about our country before others. Instead of wasting millions on trying to help other countries we should build ours stronger. The goverment needs to realize that we have economic problems because they are not trying hard enough to fix them. Use the money we have to help employ people and fix our society, then when we actually become economically strong they can help other countries.

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