When I first heard of Arizona’s new immigration law, I was terrified. My head started flashing images of my friends and family being stopped on the street for no good reason. I said to my husband, “we’re never visiting Arizona.”
I was born in Brazil and immigrated to the United States 15 years ago when my father was hired to work for the Inter-American Development Bank. We were here under a G-4 visa, which we renewed every few years.
I worked hard to stay in this country legally. The process was time-consuming and expensive. I’m now a couple of months away from becoming a citizen.
Why exactly did I have such an extreme reaction to this law? The United States has every right to make sure I’m not sucking up taxpayers’ resources while breaking the law. Asking people to carry ID is not racist.
Police recommend everyone carry ID, even while jogging, in case something happens to you. And immigration policies in Brazil and some other countries I’ve lived in are actually stricter than here.
Also, with the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police firmly opposing the law for fiscal and safety reasons, I believe officers will be trained well enough to avoid stopping a person just because they look Hispanic.
After all, three out of every 10 Arizonans are Hispanic and the obscene costs associated with lawsuits stemming from challenges to the law should scare the department into applying the law correctly.
Opponents argue the law will take cops away from community policing. The Arizona law specifies that an immigration check can only be performed where someone is already involved in a “lawful stop, detention or arrest.”
I’ve also heard that the cost to arrest, detain and deport will drain the state’s coffers. Well, how about the cost of supporting the current 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona? What about the cost of immigration-related crime that has made Phoenix second only to Mexico City as the kidnapping capital of the world?
Arizona’s law is not the solution. But when opposition lawmakers on Capitol Hill blame the federal government’s inaction for this law, they seem to forget that they are the federal government.
Opponents and proponents of the law should be pushing for a bipartisan solution in Congress that will begin to put this country on the right path.
Joana Suleiman is on staff at The Washington Examiner.