The passage of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 in April 2010 made national headlines. The law continues to produce controversy nationwide; copycat bills have now been introduced by legislators in multiple states, and the momentum toward these kinds of laws across the country shows no sign of slowing.
S.B. 1070 has been denounced by immigrants and immigrant rights advocacy groups, and engendered calls for boycotts and other actions. But the bill has other opponents too: many law enforcement officials in Arizona and elsewhere (with the notable exception of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County) have strongly opposed the law because of the way it will undermine efforts at public safety. Constitutional and immigration scholars have also found the approach the bill takes deeply flawed. Nevertheless, the rhetoric around the bill continues to include misstatements as well as what appear to be blatant untruths and purposeful overstatements, perhaps in a cynical effort to inflame the public and obtain political advantage for proponents.
This panel will examine four of the most important aspects of the issue with four speakers who have studied the implications of S.B. 1070. Implications for police policy and public safety, as well of the damage done to police efforts by racial profiling that will inevitably result from S.B. 1070, will be discussed. The panel will also consider constitutional issues raised by the statute and the litigation that these issues will engender. Speakers will address some of the issues of immigration law that are raised directly by these new state criminal enforcement efforts, including the idea of “self deportation through attrition,” and will examine the linkage between immigration and criminality, one of the themes that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and others have used to explain their support for the bill, and that has been used as justification for similar incendiary policies in the past.