The Jewish press has been abuzz with attempts by faith groups of all different stripes to pressure Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer not to sign into law what the organization “Faith in Public Life” called “the most extreme anti-immigrant legislation in the country” and the New York Times described as the “nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration.”
A group of Reform Rabbis in Arizona described the bill as “inhumane and retrogressive” and criticized it for inviting “racial and ethnic profiling by broadly defining reasonable suspicion of undocumented status as grounds for apprehension by the police.” In a letter to Governor Brewer they stated:
Allowing an individual’s accent or skin color to precipitate an investigation into his/her legal status is an affront to American values of justice and our historic status as a nation of immigrants. . . . We agree wholeheartedly that our immigration system is broken and in need of significant repair. Yet this bill moves us in the wrong direction, violating the principles of justice on which our nation was founded. We should, instead, focus our energy on comprehensive reform of our immigration system.
Despite the efforts of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and members of Arizona’s rabbinical delegation, Gov. Brewer took the plunge and signed the bill into law on Friday.
Under the new law, state officials can inquire into an individual’s immigration status so long as they have a “reasonable suspicion.” Or as the Faith and Reason blog explained:
If you’re in Arizona and look even remotely like some policeman’s idea of an illegal immigrant, a law signed today says you will have to produce papers showing you’re in the USA legally whenever and where-ever an officer requests this — and so will anyone else with you.
President Obama has already decried the legislation, and instructed the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the statute’s constitutionality. the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund has stated that it will challenge the statute.
Read the full text of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law here. What do you make of it? Is it Kosher? Could it be effective? And for the Cardozo Society members out there – is it constitutional?
And because it never gets old . . . if you haven’t seen local Rabbi Morris Allen’s take on immigration reform (at the Washington, DC immigration rally on the Mall before Passover in March 2010), watch it here: