No surprise, since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer faces a tough primary challenge, but still disappointing: she has just announced her intention to sign SB 1070.
The soon-to-be law allows Arizona police to challenge anyone they think might be undocumented, and demand immigration papers.
It also allows residents to sue their municipalities if they believe local cops aren't doing enough to target and jail undocumented immigrants. You better believe that within a year, virtually every town and county in the state will be getting sued by xenophobic teabaggers.
Obama has already promised to monitor the situation closely for violations of civil rights, which are inevitable. And this new law will create additional impetus for a comprehensive national solution to the problem of undocumented workers in our country.
As for Arizona Republicans, they're about to learn what California Republicans learned after passage of Prop 187 -- alienating a substantial Latino community is bad for getting elected.
Latinos make up 29 percent of Arizona’s population. If current population trends continue, Arizona will become a majority-minority state by 2015. In 2003, more Latino babies were born than non-Hispanic white babies. And by 2007, Latino babies were 45 percent of the total, compared to 41 percent for non-Hispanic whites, and 14 percent for non-Hispanic Asians, Native Americans and African-Americans.
In 2008, Arizona Latinos opted for Obama 56-41, which seems lopsided, but nationally, the number was 67-31 for Obama. Sen. Jon Kyl also got that respectable 41 percent in his 2006 reelection battle. In 2004, John McCain won 74 percent of the Latino vote.
While Arizona Latinos aren’t a solid Democratic voting bloc, this law may very well change that. The Proposition 187 analogy is instructive — the GOP engages in heavy-handed, hateful, discriminatory and partisan demonizing of immigrants at its own electoral peril. As immigrant-rights’ group America’s Voice said in a statement, “The Arizona State House of Representatives just voted in favor of draconian legislation that declares open season on immigrants and Latinos in the state.”
And as California Republicans can testify, Latinos have long memories.