Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
This is an excerpt from the sonnet by Emma Lazarus, New Colossus, which is located
on the pedestal where the Statue of Liberty now stands. It is an invitation for all immigrants to
come through the “Golden Door” and receive America’s promise of freedom and liberty from
oppression of their native countries. However, now immigrants are faced with laws restricting
what they may do or even prohibiting them from establishing a “new life” in the United States.
For example, the newly established law in Arizona, Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe
Neighborhoods Act, or most famously known as Senate Bill 1070 has raised much controversy.
Senate Bill 1070 was signed on April 2010 by Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer. The bill
made it a crime to be an “alien” in the state without proper identification. It also enforces strict
penalties for those who shelter, hire, or transport illegal immigrants (”American”). However,
after going to the Supreme Court, one of its most controversial clauses survived the ruling. This
clause or provision allows law enforcement officers to stop and ask for identification if they
have a “reasonable suspicion”. Many believe "reasonable suspicion" may lead to officers racial
profiling. Because of this, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act must be
In its entirety, the proposal had four clauses which made it a crime for immigrants to:
apply for a job or have a job, fail to register with the federal government, not have registration
documents in their possessions at all times, and if a law enforcement officer has reasonable
suspicion, they want to stop someone— they can (“Small Victories”).
In court, all those clauses were all removed, except the clause that allows police officers to
stop a person if they have reasonable suspicion to believe the person is in the country illegally. In
order for the detainee not to be arrested, he or she must prove to the officer they are in the country
legally by showing their documentation at the moment of the stop.
Controversy against the law has sprouted. “SB1070 reveals a growing animus towards
immigrants, more specifically towards those with ties to Latin America who do not possess
official authorization to work or reside in the United States” (O’Leary). It is also believed that
reasonable suspicion is enough freedom for law enforcement officers to begin racial profiling.
Cases of police officers stopping people because of their physical appearance when they were
not breaking any sort of law have been reported. The detainee that was accused of being in the
state illegally turned out to be either an American Citizen, a United States Resident, or in some
cases, a Native American. Suspicion that those people were stopped because their physical
appearance has close similarities to those of a possible Hispanic undocumented immigrant has
risen. Officials such as Maricopa County’s Sheriff, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a major supporter of the
law has denied any accusations of the law leading to racial profiling.
The highly populated capital of Arizona, Phoenix, is known to be the home of many
undocumented immigrants. Phoenix lies on Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jurisdiction.
He claims to be “America’s toughest Sheriff” and he is well known for living up to his self
proclaimed title (Bogado). He has made his inmates stay at “Tent City”, an outside jail made of
tents directly exposed to the blistering Arizona desert weather. He is also known for making his
inmates wear the original black and white striped jail uniform with pink undergarments.
Sheriff Arpaio is especially known for being extremely strict when it comes to