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Why do some people consider the immigration laws of Arizona and Alabama to be racist?

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hancock1967 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:32 PM via web

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Why do some people consider the immigration laws of Arizona and Alabama to be racist?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM (Answer #1)

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In recent years, both Arizona and Alabama have passed rather stringent laws that are meant to prevent illegal immigrants from settling in their states.  These laws are considered to be racist by many people (though many others support them and argue that they are aimed at people who commit certain acts, not people of a certain race).

First, the laws are seen as racist because of how strict they are.  One or both of them make it illegal to do such things as to transport an illegal immigrant in a car, to rent property to them, or to hire them.  The Alabama law also makes it illegal for an illegal immigrant to attend a public college or university and requires K-12 schools to determine the immigration status of their students.  The strictness of the laws make some feel they are racist.

More importantly, many feel these laws are racist because of their vagueness about who they apply to.  Both laws allow police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who they “reasonably suspect” is an illegal immigrant.  These people could be held until they provide proof of their legal status.  The trouble with this (in some people’s eyes) is that it is very difficult to form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant without engaging in racial profiling.  Many suspect that only people with brown skins and Spanish accents will be asked to prove their legal status.

For these reasons, there are many who feel these laws are racist.

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