Originally written on April 25, 2010

On Friday, April 24, Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a new immigration bill requiring local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants. What the actual reason is that police would suspect someone of being an illegal immigrant is not stated in the law, but is left to the discretion of the officers. The reality is every single resident of Arizona of Latino descent–about 30% of the state’s population–is a potential target for police interrogation.

This bill is the culmination of a decade’s long attempt at fear-mongering that spreads false information about the actual costs–fiscal and social–of illegal immigration, all in an effort to use the already racist inclinations of a white population duped into the belief that “American” culture, language and identity is threatened by illegal immigrants. Of course, the illegal immigrants they speak of only pertain to Latin America–Mexico at the forefront–and do not mention immigrants from any other part of the world that come to this country every year, just like Latinos, but whose skin is not dark and whose native language is not Spanish. Fear-mongers like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck, among many others, manipulate their audience into a belief system that re-enforces racist stereotypes, perpetuates lies about the actual costs of illegal immigration and presents hypothetical scenarios about the downfall of white American culture at the hands of these immigrants. continue reading…