June 24, 2010
ATLANTA—Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which attempts to use criminal sanctions to reduce illegal immigration, sadly reprises a familiar two-step ranchera dance in terms of America's poor treatment of Mexicans, recent Georgia State University College of Law graduate Luis A. Velez writes in an opinion piece published June 17 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Due to the need for cheap labor, Mexicans were brought here to perform menial jobs that whites preferred not to perform, such as farm work, Velez writes. However, during periods of economic stress, immigrants in the United States have been subjected to crackdowns on illegal immigration and repatriation.
"With unemployment hovering near 10 percent, Mexicans are seen as competing with whites for scarce jobs. This has led to calls for the expulsion of undocumented workers and the tightening of the border. In addition to economics, in a post-9/11 world, the justifications offered for SB 1070 include traditional state police power interests: to protect the safety, health and welfare of Arizonans by cutting the flow of illegal immigrants into Arizona and reducing the number of illegal Mexicans in the state so they cannot commit crimes against Arizonans.
"These are compelling interests, but since they are federal, not state, matters, I believe they render SB 1070 unconstitutional."