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Arizona Governor Signs onto a Shameful Law

By James S. Irani

Congratulations Governor Brewer, your signature on SB 1070, an anti-immigrant bill which effectively makes all Latinos and foreigners the target of arrest or interrogation, has now enshrined your legacy with the likes of Governor Evan Mechem, who will be forever remembered for his cancellation of the state's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, attributing high divorce rates to working women, and disparaging references to African American children. And just like Mecham's bad acts, your endorsement of Arizona's hate legislation will lead to a mass boycott of your state. Many Arizona residents, I am certain some Iranians, will soon move out leaving historians to write on who Governor Brewer was just as they have done on yet another puzzling public figure therein.

Photo; May 1, 2009 march in Minneapolis in support of immigrant rights
source: Indy Media

Your signature on this dreadful bill, which President Obama has described as "misguided", does nothing to create a functional immigration system, secure the border, nor rid the state of dangerous criminals. Nor does it protect the wages and working conditions of US workers. Instead, it targets day laborers and ordinary citizens whose appearance might raise "reasonable suspicion" of unlawful immigration status in the mind of a police officer. Now that you have signed the bill people in Arizona with foreign sounding accents or who don't "look American" had better not run into the wrong cop (or even the right cop) because the law mandates they prove they are here legally.

Further, the new law will take money out of the pockets of Arizona taxpayers. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has reported that "if significant numbers of immigrants and Latinos are actually persuaded to leave the state because of this new law, they will take their tax dollars, businesses, and purchasing power with them. The University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy estimates that the total economic output attributable to Arizona's immigrant workers was $44 billion in 2004, which sustained roughly 400,000 full-time jobs. Furthermore, over 35,000 businesses in Arizona are Latino-owned and had sales and receipts of $4.3 billion and employed 39,363 people in 2002, the last year for which data is available. The Perryman Group estimates that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time. Putting economic contributions of this magnitude at risk during a time of recession would not serve Arizona well." And this loss of revenue to the hard working taxpayers of Arizona does not take into account the cost of defending the inevitable lawsuits that will be brought against the state for civil rights and other violations.  It is easy to predict that Arizona will probably face a costly slew of lawsuits on behalf of legal immigrants and native-born Latinos who feel they have been unjustly targeted leading to millions of dollars in expenditures. It is encouraging that other states have not supported the action taken by Arizona. Instead of working collectively to resolve the problems facing the more than ten undocumented people in the United States, It is disturbing to hear some of our politicians choose to look the other way. We, Iranians, should be alert to the events occurring in our communities. This could happen to our community if we choose to remain indifferent and let the bullet hit somebody else.

About the author: James S. Irani, is an immigration attorney and activist in Iranian community, practices law at 347 Fifth Avenue, Suite 908, New York, NY 10016  Tel: (212) 683-7700

... Payvand News - 04/30/10 ... --

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