New Arizona Immigration Law Could Increase Undocumented Crime


Many people on both sides of the argument have already spoken their piece about the new immigration law in Arizona – the toughest in the country – that requires law enforcement officials to question people if there is a doubt about the legality of their citizenship.

Those opposed to the law argue that it will cause racial profiling because, well, let’s just say Arizona isn’t worried about the growing immigrant population coming over illegally from Sweden.  Those in favor of the law argue that illegal immigrants are living in their state unlawfully and this law simply pushes the authorities to enforce those laws.

And really, the issue isn’t simply that people live here unlawfully.  It’s because of the increased amount of violence in cities near the Mexican border and the belief out there that illegal immigrants are the cause of this increased violence from the drug trade.

I wonder, though, that in trying to ease criminal activity and prevent violence in American cities, this law might actually increase the crime rate, specifically the number of undocumented crimes.  Let’s say you’re an illegal immigrant living in Tucson when your home gets burglarized.  Broken windows.  Stolen TV.  The works.  Do you call the police?  Now that this law has gone into effect, I’d say there’s a high chance that you don’t.  Even though you work hard to earn your money through legitimate means and you were the victim of a crime, it’s going to be better to just absorb the loss on your own and go about your business rather than involve the police and risk being arrested, jailed or deported, and separated from your family.

There’s a danger that this law will cause illegal immigrants to become this odd form of marginalized resident in Arizona: one who remains a vital part of the American economy and workforce yet is forced to essentially live in hiding, unable to report lawlessness – the very kind that this new measure purports to ebb – for fear of losing everything they have.

And if that’s the case, this law will be a total failure.



  1. It is interesting to note that America has come so far that illegal immigrants have now attained a pseudo-legal status and are now fighting for their rights … of which they shouldn’t have any. Personally, I understand what you are saying with regards to crime, however they shouldn’t be here in the first place. Considering the US doesn’t have the budget to keep them out, it only seems logical to give them ‘some’ sort of status, however keeping in mind a large number of them are known criminals in, say, Mexico who are continuing their crime here in the USA, getting them all out of the country isn’t such a bad idea after all.

    With that said, I was wondering if we could chat a little off subject. I was hoping to plagiarize some of your content on Mizozo. You write well, and many of your topics would likely go well there. If you are interested, please shoot me an email to zhanng at gmail.com. We can discuss the details there. I can say one thing, it will definitely help you in SEO and will likely generate some additional traffic to your site.

    • Regardless of whether or not they should be here in the first place, they are here. And I don’t see how this law will prevent that. Even with the risk of being deported higher, the quality of life and the promise of America is still better than what they’re dealing with in Mexico. Most are not into crime. Most are here because they’re fleeing the crime and violence, actually. And while I don’t think illegal immigrants should just be handed citizenships by any means, to just round them up based on the color of their skin and their accent is hardly the way to go. These are human beings we’re talking about here. Would we really care so much if it weren’t for the drug trade and the violence it brings? This bill does nothing to secure our borders nor reduce drug related violence. So I just don’t see what it does other than marginalize Mexican-Americans in Arizona.

      And on the other note, yes, I would like to chat with you about that. I’ll email you soon.

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  3. I hate to sound callous, but since this law has little effect on me or any of my close acquaintances, I have little feelings for or against it. With what little I know about the law I can see that it has many ‘odd’ qualities (Jonolan’s post is where I got the majority of my knowledge on the subject), however I am still torn by the fact that these people shouldn’t be here in the first place. Technically, as far as I can see, all they need to do to avoid trouble is carry their green card (or VISA) on them at all times, which is what they should be doing anyway, right? While the wording in Jonolan’s post definitely has much to be desired, the point is to eliminate illegals.

    I am an immigrant (note the weird name), my family are obviously immigrants, and much of my family is still overseas. They often come to the states, many for long periods of times, but they stay legally and leave legally so as not to cause trouble. I understand Mexicans have problems at home, and the USA is their shot at making some decent money, but some of my family is in the exact same situation, yet they don’t cross the line.

    To be honest, I am very surprised at how lax immigration actually is to get into the USA. If you have family here, getting into the country legally isn’t too difficult, even from Mexico. With so many Mexicans already legal in the states, if those on the other side would be patient, much of this could be avoided legally. Once here legally, they can easily find work illegally … however, now they have a pretext to stay and it is much more difficult to catch someone working than someone simply without proper documents. Europe, and most of the world, are very adamant about checking documentation of everyone they feel could possibly be illegal, yet nobody complains.

    I think this is much ado about nothing … let the bill pass, and make it more common. This country needs it. People are people, but law is law.

    • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we should just have wide open doors to everyone and anyone who wants to come to America. I can understand the anger and frustration with everyone who wants to move here legally yet cannot get access through proper means only to see all of these illegals being defended as if they have a right to be here. It’s an imperfect system to say the least.

      Regardless, I don’t see how this law helps anything. At what cost are we willing to weed out the illegals? It seems like we’re all just so used to the government infringing upon our freedoms since the Patriot Act was installed that this doesn’t seem all that crazy a notion to have the police allowed to stop anyone for no reason whatsoever and demand that person show their papers. The issue is that the law is extremely vague. There are no parameters given to instruct law enforcement on just what would constitute indications that a person might not be legally in this country. Is it the color of one’s skin? Possibly, but there is a soon-to-be-majority of people who have dark skin who are here legally. Is it the thick accent? Possibly, but again see above. Is it the poor grasp of the English language? If we rounded up everyone who spoke English improperly, there would be no one left outside of prison. Is it by profession? Or by the type of car they drive? Or by the way they comb their hair?

      And the real reason for this is the violence associated with border towns and the drug trade. Until this violence finally crossed into American cities and we became aware of just how chaotic things are in our neighbor to the south, we talked about doing something about immigration, but in reality, it wasn’t affecting Americans negatively. Sure some cried about illegals taking American jobs, but that’s just empty rhetoric. The real issue is the violence and crime. And I just don’t see how this law does anything to help ameliorate that situation. You think drug dealers, drug runners, or other hoods care about this law? They’re already breaking all kinds of laws and run under the radar and are used to skirting away from police. The vast majority of those affected will be everyday people – legal and illegal – going about their normal, nonviolent lives. And that’s why this law is wrong and why people are so up in arms about it. They should be.

      Because what happens when other states adopt this same law and now people with thick Hebrew accents are rounded up, or Italian accents, or you fill in the blank with whichever language one might speak? I know that something needs to be done about the Mexican border and the horrible violence associated with the drug trade. This law just isn’t the way to do it.

      • I may be completely misinterpreting this new law, but my understanding is that law enforcement officials can only detain someone that is suspect of being illegal. Hence, all that people need to do is carry some form of ID on them that proves they are legally in this country. This is standard practice in every country I have ever visited.

        Hence, as long as (insert dark skinned nationality here) carry their passport or green card on them, they are perfectly safe (assuming they are in fact legal). Right? Just carry your documents, as you need to do everywhere around the globe, and you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

        … or, am I missing something?

        • Yes, but the difference is that there are no parameters by which the police use to determine whether or not someone is illegal. And the law requires them to demand papers from anyone they suspect to be illegal. If they only stopped illegals and demanded they provide proof that they can legally be in the country, then sure, this wouldn’t be a big deal; if you’re here illegally and you’re asked to provide documentation that you can be here, well, that’s the risk you run when you live here illegally.

          But it’s the way that this law tries to achieve this that bothers me and I think could be unconstitutional. This law isn’t going to affect only immigrants. There are plenty of (insert dark skinned nationality here) who are legal American citizens. And when you are stopped simply because you are a dark skinned person and assumed to be an illegal immigrant until proven otherwise, it becomes harassment. Let’s say you’re a Mexican-American – a legal citizen of the US – and you’re walking down the street “looking” illegal – because how else does one seem to be illegal in this case? – when a cop drives by and, since the law is so vague, thinks that maybe you’re here illegally and stops you. You forgot your wallet and have no ID on you because you simply left it in your other pants at home. You go to jail.

          Americans shouldn’t have to risk going to jail for simply walking down the street without their IDs. This isn’t about protecting illegals’ rights. It’s about protecting Americans’.

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