Top UN official criticises 'racist' Arizona immigration law

5th October 2010, Comments 2 comments

Arizona's new law on illegal immigration is "racist" as it leads to racial profiling based on skin colour and violates the US constitution, a top UN official said Tuesday in Spain.

The law passed in April has provisions that include requiring police to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the United States illegally.

It also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. A federal judge temporarily blocked some of its provisions just before the law was due to take effect at the end of July.

The UN special rapporteur on migrant rights, Mexico's Jorge Bustamante, said the law was "racist" because it gave police the right to detain people "based on their appearance and skin colour is a main part of one's appearance."

The law also violates the US constitution's provision that only the national government can make laws to regulate immigration, he told AFP.

Even though a federal judge blocked the more hotly contested aspects of the law, Bustamante said the legislation has still had "social consequences".

"Situations have occurred that derive from this atmosphere of xenophobia, this anti-immigrant sentiment that predominates in the state of Arizona and in other parts of the United States and which leaves immigrants vulnerable and leads to abuses," he said.

Supporters of the law deny it leads to racial profiling and argue it will pressure illegal immigrants to leave the country of their own will.

The Arizona law has drawn protests from Mexican President Felipe Calderon that resonate throughout Latin America, source of the vast majority of the estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

© 2010 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Active All U.S Militia's To Stop U.S Governments Abuse To Legal Citizens posted:

    on 7th October 2010, 20:35:18 - Reply

    U.S Citizen Organize All State Militia's To Save Our Country From The Abuse Our Government Is Doing To Us...
  • F The U.N Let The Secure U.S Borders posted:

    on 5th October 2010, 21:49:50 - Reply

    "Estimated Price Tag To Remove All Illegals Immigrants From The U.S Completely Is Less Than The Failed Stimulus Bill"
    August, 2010

    Mr. X

    Dear Mr. X
    Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

    Our nation faces a host of problems as a result of years of inattention to our immigration policies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that about 11 million people in the United States lack legal status, including those who enter the country illegally and those who overstay temporary visas.

    Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed. I have worked to reform our immigration system comprehensively. A number of Senators, including myself, recently released a blueprint outlining the basic principles a comprehensive reform measure should include.

    The blueprint would improve border security by increasing manpower and deploying new technology. Many people have asked for reforms that would secure our borders before putting the immigrants who are already here on a path to legal status. In response to that concern, a "trigger" was included in the 2007 immigration bill and is preserved in the 2010 blueprint. The plan would require that certain border security and enforcement benchmarks be met before any program is started that would address the status of illegal immigrants already here.

    Congress has taken many steps in recent years to step up security at our borders. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $100 million for inspection systems to be deployed at border ports of entry, $100 million for border security technology on the Southwest border, and $420 million for modernization and construction of facilities used to control and process border crossings. The Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided $8.1 billion for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. This amount includes $19 million to hire an additional 100 Border Patrol agents. The bill also provided $800 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was allocated $5.3 billion to support investigation activities and detention and removal operations. The bill funds 33,400 detention beds and requires that at least $2.5 billion be used in the detention and removal of unauthorized persons. The bill provides $1.5 billion to identify and remove those with criminal records illegally residing in the United States.

    The new immigration blueprint also calls for strengthened enforcement against employers who hire illegal immigrants, an essential element of comprehensive reform. The federal government must crack down on employers who ignore our nation's laws and hire illegal immigrants. The reform proposal calls for a biometric employment verification system and increased penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.

    If we are serious about reform, we also must adopt a realistic approach to the millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in our country. Mass deportation of illegal immigrants is impractical and too expensive. Experts estimate that deporting all of the undocumented immigrants would cost more than $280 billion, seven times DHS's budget last year. Instead, we need to offer immigrants who work hard and demonstrate a long-term commitment to be law-abiding, contributing members of our country a chance to pay fines and earn their way to permanent legal status over the course of many years. Some have falsely called this amnesty. I oppose amnesty because it is not right to reward those who have broken the law with automatic citizenship. This proposal will not give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    The blueprint calls for a two-phase system of legalization. The first phase would require all undocumented individuals to register with the government, pass criminal background checks, and pay fees in order to be granted lawful prospective immigrant status. The second phase would occur eight years later, after the current visa backlog has been processed. At that stage, undocumented aliens would be able to earn their way to permanent legal status only if they pass updated criminal background checks; possess basic citizenship skills; demonstrate basic English language skills; pay all federal taxes, fees, and penalties; and register for the Selective Service.

    If we do not give people who are already a part of our communities the chance to earn legal status, we will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. Those living here illegally will stay in the shadows instead of coming forward to register. This hurts our national security and hurts American workers, who are being undercut by cheap illegal labor.

    I am deeply concerned about the impact of potential temporary guest worker programs. In contrast to those immigrants who are already here and actively engaged in our workforce, guest worker programs would bring in a large future flow of workers with no long-term commitment to our country. I voted to eliminate the guest worker program in the previous Senate immigration bill. When that effort was unsuccessful, I offered a Hire Americans First amendment to require employers to seek American workers for their open positions before they try to bring in guest workers. I have also introduced legislation designed to protect American workers by addressing major abuses in the H-1B visa program.

    There is no perfect solution to the problems we face as a result of our broken immigration system. Today, our borders are not secure, our workplace enforcement laws need reform, and our immigration policy fosters a shadow economy for millions of immigrants who simply want to demonstrate that they can be hardworking contributors to the greatness of our country. I will continue to work for a package of reforms that will protect American workers and that will be tough, enforceable, economically sensible, and morally defensible. I will keep your views in mind as the debate continues.

    Richard J. Durbin
    United States Senator

    Pass It On!!!