Attorney general of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli.
Beyond Borders, United States

Arizona Immigration Law Begins Ripple Effect

August 5, 2010 By Alison Bowen
Attorney general of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli.

Attorney general of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli.

As the court case rumbles on against Arizona’s recent immigration law, the results of the proposed legislation are reverberating around the country.

In Virginia, legislators are considering a similar bill, spurred partly by an undocumented immigrant who was driving drunk and killed a nun in a car crash.

Earlier this week, the state’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, authorized police officers to ask people for their immigration status during police stops.

“This is good policy,” Republican Robert Marshall told Fox News. “It’s both constitutional and prudent.”

On the federal level, the U.S. Justice Department threatened to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fervent supporter of the state law who routinely rounds up undocumented immigrants in sweeps.

According to the Justice Department, Arpaio isn’t cooperating with a civil rights investigation to decipher whether his office displayed discriminatory practices and whether searches were unconstitutional.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is reviewing the law she signed to see if any changes would make it more palatable to the federal government.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic reports that undocumented immigrants trying to return to Mexico are being stopped at the border for their information to be collected.

Immigration officials say the entries into a database are intended to snare criminals and smugglers, not immigrants returning home.

Despite the law’s temporary court blockage, many cities are reporting changes.

In Scottsdale, business owner say they see fewer customers, and immigrants are exiting apartments, leaving vacancies for landlords to fill.

Neighboring states are beginning to receive immigrants fleeing Arizona but hoping to stay in the United States. In Colorado, the American Friends Service Committee told NPR that more than a dozen families arrived in recent weeks.

Image: @ 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.