I remember when SB 1070 first came up as a law. A lot of people, some of them quite xenophobic, were very much in favor of the law because they saw it as a way to catch the illegal immigrants* they believed were streaming across the border and the source of crimes. There were a couple of Republican politicians in Arizona helping to encourage that idea. Governor Jan Brewer, Senator John Kyl and Senator john McCain specifically were involved in spreading myths and misinformation about this issue. Governor Brewer claimed that there were beheaded bodies found in the Arizona desert and suggested that illegal immigrants were responsible. Senator John Kyl claimed that Phoenix was the kidnapping capital of the U.S. Senator McCain suggested that wildfires burning in Arizona were started by illegal immigrants. (Jon Stewart and the Daily Show brilliantly skewered Senator McCain for his untruthful suggestion).
Many of those supporting the legislation were completely unaware of quite a few issues with the origins of the bill and those who would benefit from it being passed. Many of them were completely unaware of its connection to a neo-nazi group who stated that their intention was to craft legislation that would preserve the White majority. They were unaware of the fact that governor Brewer’s office had connections to a donor who owned privatized prisons and who would benefit financially from the overflow of people (who would have normally been turned over to federal authorities for deportation) now having to spend time in Arizona’s prison system because it made being in the country illegally a state law in addition to a federal law. They also seemed to be unaware that it did not make it where police could detain prisoners they couldn’t detain already, it just meant that the state of Arizona had to pay to house and prosecute these people, at extra cost to Arizona taxpayers, before sending them to be deported by federal authorities.
Even before you get to the issues of racial profiling and it violating Equal Protection, there are so issues of it financially benefitting the Governor’s cronies, how unnecessarily costly it is and how it does not serve to increase border security.The claims of increased crime due to illegal immigration are decried by the fact that Arizona had LOWER crime rates, not greater. Sheriff Dupnik, of Pima County Arizona, explained it best on Rachel Maddow last night.
It is amazingly good news that our Supreme Court struck down a majority of the law yesterday. It was a mind-blowingly horrible piece of legislation.
* It is important to note that many people conflate “Latino/a” with “illegal immigrant” and seem not to comprehend that a majority of the Latinos/as that live here are either legal immigrants or citizens.