Broken Promises

Topics: Joe Arpaio, Arizona, Maricopa County, Arizona Pages: 10 (1760 words) Published: April 29, 2013
"Give me your tired, your poor,
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

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