Arizona has been the center of the nation's scrutiny ever since Gov. Jan Brewer signed the SB 1070 Immigration Bill last month. Constant controversy surrounds the subject as many claim the bill encourages racial profiling, while others support the bill, believing it can reduce the number of immigrants entering the country illegally. The never-ending debate over whether or not the bill is targeting a certain race has suppressed a key aspect within the state of Arizona: the voices of the children.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there were an estimated 560,000 illegal immigrants residing in Arizona as of 2008. In many cases, children are involved in these situations, those who are illegal immigrants themselves as well as those who are the children of illegal immigrants. As the debate over this controversial new law continues to intensify, the question remains: what is to happen to these children?
The new SB 1070 bill allows law enforcement officials to check a person's immigration status if they are given reasonable suspicion, but it must be carried out through lawful conduct. Federal law requires all non-United States citizens to carry registration documents to prove they are in the country legally. If a person is unable to produce the proper documentation to prove their residency status, law enforcement officials are given the right to detain him or her until proof can be obtained.
According to this new law, officials are only granted permission to ask for immigration status if they have reasonable cause for suspicion. The law specifically states law officials "may not solely consider race, color or national origin." However, since an estimated 80 percent of illegal immigrants come from Latin American, public perception is that this new law will solely target those of Hispanic decent.
Whether you support the bill or not, the question over what happens to the children of these illegal immigrants is still present. As this law becomes effective and illegal immigrants are sent back to their country of origin, families are sure to be torn apart. Sadly, the innocent victims in this situation are the children. Whether they are here illegally or their parents are illegal immigrants, these children will be affected.
Some argue that the government is responsible for tearing these families apart. When this new law becomes effective, they worry, children will be left without their parents as they are sent back to their country of origin. And, they believe, the government is perpetuating racial profiling by encouraging law officials to check immigration status .
However, on the other side of the fence, opposers say the only ones to blame for tearing these families apart are the illegal immigrants. They argue that the parents placed their children in this situation by entering the country illegally in the first place-- therefore, are responsible for their own broken homes.
Regardless of all else, the issue remains: children will be affected once this law goes into effect. Too often their voices are overshadowed by the debate over the moral and racial aspects of this new law intensifies.
Where do you stand? Do you feel the government is to blame for the broken homes that are sure to follow once the law goes into effect? Or do you think the parents are to blame for illegally entering the country in the first place?