Arizona Legislates New Anti-immigration Bill

April 24, 2010

The governor of Arizona legislated the nation’s most aggressive assault on undocumented immigration. Immigrants in the state must now carry legal documents at all times or risk detainment, arrest, and deportation.

The letter of the law “requires” police officers to question those individuals suspected of being illegal immigrants. No word on how those decisions will be made transparently and without reference to physical appearance. When pressured, Governor Jan Brewer shrugged it off – “I don’t know [what an illegal immigrant looks like].” Aw shucks, governor, maybe we should make them wear a badge or something.

The governor is confident, of course, that officers will be properly trained to ascertain whether someone is an illegal immigrant without resorting to racial profiling. In the end, I’d love to know the number of white people that start carrying their passports to the grocery store.

The common sentiment is that Latino Americans are the group most at risk of racial targeting, but Asian Americans are obviously implicated in the bill as well. Though that angle has been underreported in mainstream media outlets, at least one Asian American advocacy group has condemned the bill for what it is – xenophobic, draconian, and racist. Because the answer to the question of what illegal immigrants look like? It’s us. They look like us.


Winston Chou


Winston Chou is a graduate student in sociology at UCLA. He is especially interested in issues of immigration and second-generation assimilation, but would almost always rather talk about obscure NBA players from the '90s. (Remember Chris Gatling?)



The legislation is obviously ridiculous. It is similar to laws that used to exist in South Africa. The law is xenophobic and apartheid-like; I wonder if it will hold up. Also, this law reminds me of WWII when Japanese Americans were all put into internment/concentration camps, while German Americans and Italian Americans were not targeted or suspected.

This all starts from the federal government. Until they start addressing immigration reform at the national level, we will continue seeing these types of oppression...
Multiple Congresspeople have called for a boycott of major league baseball's all-star game which will be in Phoenix this year. I recently found out that Arizona removed Martin Luther King Day as a holiday in their state in 1987.  It took the NFL boycotting its Superbowl which had originally been scheduled in Arizona, to get the backwards state to bring back Martin Luther King day.