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10 opinions on Arizona's immigration law

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1. “The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant.”

– New York Times editorial

2. “As the Arizona abomination makes clear, there is a desperate need for federal immigration action to stop the country from turning into a nation of vigilantes suspicious of anybody with dark skin.”

– Dana Milbank, Washington Post

3. “I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”

– Cardinal Roger Mahony

4. “This law creates a suspect class, based in part on ethnicity, considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent. It makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live without scrutiny — but it also makes it harder for some American citizens to live without suspicion and humiliation. Americans are not accustomed to the command ‘Your papers, please,’ however politely delivered. The distinctly American response to such a request would be ‘Go to hell,’ and then ‘See you in court.’”

– Michael Gerson, Washington Post

5. “In case the phrase ‘lawful contact’ makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. ‘A person is guilty of trespassing,’ the law provides, by being ‘present on any public or private land in this state’ while lacking authorization to be in the United States — a new crime of breathing while undocumented.”

– Linda Greenhouse, New York Times

6. “Federal law treats illegal immigration as a civil violation; Arizona law criminalizes it by using the legally dubious mechanism of equating the mere presence of undocumented immigrants with trespassing.”

– Washington Post editorial

7. “I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in…An immigrant who is charged with the crime of trespassing for simply being in a community without his papers on him is being told he is committing a crime by simply being.”

– Bishop Desmond Tutu, Huffington Post

8. “It harkens back to apartheid where all black people in South Africa were required to carry documents in order to move from one part of town to another.”

– Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on ABC’s “This Week”

9. “You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona…suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.”

– President Barack Obama

10. “This week, Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country which will allow police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there’s some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but could we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying ‘Show me your papers?’ There’s never been a World War II movie that didn’t include the line ’show me your papers.’ It’s their catchphrase. Every time someone says ’show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up, Arizona; that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.”

– Seth Myers, “Saturday Night

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