America has been a state of migrants from the beginning of its formation. Currently, when people try to solve a problem of illegal migration in the United States, many questions arise. On the one hand, migrants formed this country; thus, if not allow them to migrate into the state, it will contradict one of the most important principles of the organization of life in the United State. Despite this fact, illegal migrants have violated the law that causes resentment among citizens. The problem has become more complicated due to the fact that a number of migrants in the country has increased considerably. Therefore, it is crucial to implement certain measures to control the flow of migrants in the United States. Various American states have different situations with migrants. Arizona appears to be the most popular place for illegal immigrants to enter the United States (Johnson & Trujillo, 2011). As one of the measures, the Governor of Arizona signed a law to combat illegal immigration. The main provision of the law includes mandatory checking by the police of people suspected of illegal immigration. However, this provision definitely leads to racial discrimination and, thus, contradicts the US Constitution.
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As noted above, Arizona occupies the first place among other American states by the number of illegal immigrants. According to the estimates, more than 450 thousand people arrived in the country illegally (Lev, 2017). Moreover, many experts believe that such a large number of migrants in the state provokes problems including the crime growth. According to the state authorities, such a flow of illegal migration has resulted in the sharp increase in crime including kidnapping and drug smuggling (Hing, Chacon & Johnson, 2017). Today, the city of Phoenix appears to be an informal capital of the United States of human trafficking and theft (Hing, Chacon & Johnson, 2017). Illegal immigration can lead to devastating consequences and apart from crime it can threat national security. There were cases when robbers from other countries were arrested in the United States, and most of them came to the country illegally. For example, in 2010, ten Russian robbers were arrested (Kahn, 2011). Another example was in Florida, when the police found six illegal immigrants from Pakistan providing financial support to Taliban (Chesney, 2011). They could threaten national security. In addition, there are numerous cases of trade between the USA and other countries conducted by illegal migrants (Chesney, 2008). Therefore, authorities of Arizona tried to solve this problem by adopting a law on combating illegal migration. The Arizona State Legislature controlled by the Republicans passed the law with the purpose to restrain thousands of illegal immigrants arriving from various countries and especially Mexico every month (Ana & Bustamante, 2012). The law requires the Arizona police to verify the immigration status of every person when there are proper reasons to suspect that he/she is in the country illegally (Ana & Bustamante, 2012). Arizona also became the first state that declared illegal immigration a crime (Ana & Bustamante, 2012). In such a way, local lawmakers added the staff law on punishment and law enforcement to the set of relevant federal laws.
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This law has divided the United States into two camps. There are those who completely support the adoption of the law. Supporters of the Arizona law declared that the federal government did not take any sufficient measures to solve the problem of illegal immigration crossing the southern border of the United States. Many Americans supported the Arizona law. According to one of the surveys, in which 1018 people participated, 55 % of respondents expressed support to the law while 40 % were against it (Grigorenko, 2012). About 34 % of white respondents and 71 % of the Latin Americans were against the immigration law (Grigorenko, 2012). Moreover, a number of states followed the example of Arizona. Authorities have introduced the law in five states, namely Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Utah, and South Carolina (Grigorenko, 2012). In the past, Arizona already served as an example in the legislation on illegal immigration. For instance, in 2007 Arizona passed a law prohibiting the hiring of illegal migrants (Grigorenko, 2012). South Carolina and Mississippi immediately adopted similar laws. In general, supporters of the law note its effectiveness (Grigorenko, 2012). They claim that the state was forced to adopt this law because the federal government was unable to provide relevant legislation at the national level.
Despite this fact, the law caused discontent across the country because it allows using racial profiling. Citizens believe that this law contradicts their values about equality and justice. In such a way, the Government of Arizona gave the police the right to racial profiling (Baglay & Nakache, 2012). However, it contravenes the Constitution of the United States. Moreover, opponents of the law have concerns that the Arizona authorities do not solve the problem with illegal migration, but shift it to neighboring states (Baglay & Nakache, 2012). Although some states adopted the similar law, a number of the US cities boycotted Arizona’s decision. Several thousand people held a protest in Phoenix expressing their dissatisfaction with the law (Baglay & Nakache, 2012). Some organizations and music groups announced the cancellation of the events in the state (Baglay & Nakache, 2012). The majority of the police officers were also against a new law because checking of documents of potential illegal migrants would increase their load and prevent them from fulfilling responsibilities that are more important (Baglay & Nakache, 2012). In addition, this law would deprive the police of the trust of the population. Thus, public opinion regarding the law was ambiguous.
Immediately after the adoption of the law, the United States Department of Justice expressed its dissatisfaction and concerns about the law. According to it, with the adoption of the law, the Arizona authorities have interfered in the immigration policy of the United States, although the federal government have administered it (Pinder, 2012). The Arizona law means that every person who is in the country illegally commits a crime. However, there is no such provision in the federal law and the illegal status of an immigrant has never been categorized as a crime (Pinder, 2012). In turn, this law can cause misunderstanding in federal and local migration policy. Moreover, the new migration law deprives the resources of agencies connected with migration policy thus preventing them from doing their work that can threaten security of the country (Magana & Lee, 2013). The Then-President Barack Obama also expressed concern about the practical consequences of the law, as people should become an object of suspicion only based on the appearance (Magana & Lee, 2013). The United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on the immigration law of Arizona with the requirements to reject the law that worsens the situation of migrants in the state.
Nonetheless, the state of Arizona filed a counterclaim against the government of the country accusing the federal authorities of poor protection of state borders. The suit has mentioned that Washington did not compensate the state more than $750 million for keeping people broken in detention centers (Judith, Replogle & Daniel, 2012). The state has claimed that border protection is the competence of the federal authorities. Nevertheless, migrants coming through the border and committing crimes in the state automatically become a concern of local authorities (Judith, Replogle & Daniel, 2012). In the Arizona lawsuit, there is also a demand to pay damages connected with the fact that local authorities constantly participate in the protection of the state borders.
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Subsequently, the dispute reached the Supreme Court. The latter recognized several key provisions of the rigid law as unconstitutional. Judges deflected three provisions of the law (Magana & Lee, 2013). The first one announced it a crime to search for a job without necessary permit for immigrants. The other provision bounded immigrants to have registration documents with them. The third provision allowed the police officers to arrest any immigrant who might be subject to deportation. Five out of nine members of the Supreme Court recognized these three provisions unconstitutional (Magana & Lee, 2013). Other judges spoke in defense of the whole law or its major provisions. The court refused to repeal the most controversial point of the law, which allows the state police to check the immigration status of people (Magana & Lee, 2013). Although the Supreme Court canceled three major provisions of the law by its decision, it noted that the decision to retain police officers from the right to demand showing the documents would lead to new legal disputes (Magana & Lee, 2013). The US Supreme Court expressed understanding of Arizona’s concern regarding immigration. At the same time, it claimed that the state exceeded its authority when accepting the most important points of the law. In spite of the fact that it is possible to understand the state’s dissatisfaction with immigration problems, Arizona cannot lead the policy, which goes against federal legislation.
Laws similar to the one in Arizona operate in five other American states, and all of them waited for the decision of the Supreme Court to work out their solutions to the immigration problem. At the same time, opponents of the law believe that because of the still valid point on the checking of documents, many people including citizens of the United States will be victims of anti-immigration operations in Arizona (Magana & Lee, 2013). Therefore, the US Supreme Court has agreed with the racial profiling that will result in the persecution of American citizens, the only cause for which will be their skin color or race. Nonetheless, from the point of view of the then-sheriff Joe Arpaio who was an active supporter of the law security officials underwent serious training in identifying methods (Magana & Lee, 2013). According to him, verification of the documents is possible with the purpose to define whether a person is illegally in the United States and only when there is suspicion to this verification.
The Then-President Obama was satisfied with the decision of the Supreme Court, which implies that Congress should be engaged in the immigration reform (Schwab, 2013). However, Barack Obama expressed his concern about the provision for verification of documents. He emphasized that the correction of laws of the state is unable to solve a problem of a bad immigration system of the United States (Schwab, 2013). Therefore, the United States needs a good immigration policy that will satisfy all American states.
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In Arizona, illegal immigration has already become a threat to public security. It entails the fact that this phenomenon is closely connected with other aspects of illegal activities such as drug trafficking and violence. Therefore, Arizona local authorities adopted the law that would control the flow of illegal migrants in the state. The law extends the powers of the police officers allowing them to check documents of potential illegal migrants based on the suspicions. The absence of documents of the suspect serves as a legal cause for the arrest. There are both supporters and opponents of this law. Opponents believe that the right of the police to check the immigration status of any person leads to racial discrimination, as the police officers will make decisions grounded on the appearance of the person. In turn, the government of the United Stated criticized the law, as it has contradicted the federal law. However, supporters believe that it is the only possible way to combat illegal migration.