Discriminatory bill bad scar for Arizona, U.S.



Column by Cassidy Herrington

The Arizona immigration bill resembles a tanning-bed induced sunburn. The intentions were bad, and the results certainly don’t look attractive.

Arizona (senators), what the hell were you thinking?

For those of you nodding your head, you know what I’m talking about. For the others who may have missed the headlines, let me bring you up to speed.

Last week, Arizona passed a bill permitting police officers to stop citizens to check immigration documents.

The argument in favor of the bill is that it will deter violence. However, an article by the New York Times this week cites studies showing illegal immigrants “do not commit crimes in a greater proportion than their share of the population.” In fact, crime rates in Arizona have fallen.

The fact remains; this immigration bill encourages and legalizes racial profiling. Under the bill, police will question anyone they suspect has illegal status.

Now, “driving while brown” will have legislative backing.

American-born citizens and immigrants to Arizona will be stopped without probable cause. Latinos without identification on hand will be sent directly to jail.

I’m not grouping police officers under a negative light, but even the most well intended officers could not carry out this bill without racial profiling. How can they?

Honestly, a white Arizonian is not going to get stopped by the police on her way to the hair salon.

In response to the bill, protesters and activists demand boycotts against Arizona tourism. I am calling for more than boycotts, I am calling for an attitude adjustment.

Immigrants and refugees are not blemishes or pests to be rid of. Immigrants are assets; they bring vibrance, culture, talent and ideas —think: Albert Einstein, Freddy Adu and Shakira.

Without immigrants, the U.S. would not have its fortunate placement in the global network. The immigrants who come to this country are hard-working entrepreneurs, and this is not a stereotype.

To leave your home requires an energetic and determined character.

To punish our country’s greatest asset is an embarrassment. It is racism in a decade marked by “hope” and “change.”

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this prejudice before.

In 1983, Arizona voted against the bill that made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday. The state did not recognize the holiday until 1992, after much protesting and a national boycott.

Now, 49 states glare angrily at Arizona. Tourism boycotts are in place, organizations are changing their venues for conventions and protests flank the cactus-dotted topography.

Kentucky, I beg you, please make us proud. Avoid what you know is detrimental. Put yourself in a good light, not the kind that induces cancer.