Arizona law is not best approach

From the Longmont Ledger:

Immigration status is one of a number of topics about which people have strong opinions, but not always strong knowledge.

Not everyone with concerns about immigration is biased, but groups identified as hate groups consistently have the same views on immigration. Many seem unaware that 30 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States are not from Hispanic nations.

Latinos and other people of color have been ill treated by many sectors of society for many years. Some decades ago in Longmont, Latinos were told that they could not live west of Main Street. Latinos are not always treated with respect and they are virtually unrepresented in elected and appointed positions in Boulder County and elsewhere.

Having experienced racial profiling most of their lives, Latinos should worry about the impacts of the recently passed Arizona law that requires police to ask for identification of those they even suspect of being illegal immigrants — even if Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer naively thinks the law will not increase profiling.

One only has to look at who wrote the law. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law was written by a lawyer at the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an anti-immigrant hate group since 2007. FAIR has an extensive track record of racism and bigotry.”

It is easy to understand why people in Arizona have concerns about activity around the border. Drug smugglers responding to the huge demand for illegal narcotics in the United States have created a hugely profitable business, which they are willing to defend with violence. Much of the violence on both sides of the border is supported by firearms smuggled from this side of the border. No one wants these violent drug smugglers, as we do not want the illegal drug trade to flourish anywhere. Nor does anyone want individuals who traffic in human beings.

But the new Arizona law is more likely to affect documented immigrants and U.S. citizens than it will drug smugglers. It is imperative that dialogue around immigration not confuse working families with drug smugglers or terrorists. Doing so denigrates hard working families and detracts from the important work of fighting terrorism and drug smuggling.

Read the rest at the Longmont Ledger

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