The new Arizona immigration law is unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment prohibition against "unreasonable searches and seizures." It should be struck down as soon as a case hits the courts, and the municipal governments of Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff are considering filing suits against the law. Meanwhile, an effort is underway to get a referendum question onto Arizona's November ballot to repeal it.
Conservatives use immigration as a political issue -- both in Arizona and nationally -- but the truth is that without undocumented workers the US economy wouldn't be able to function. To look at one example, the cost of fruits and vegetables would skyrocket if immigrant laborers weren't doing the harvesting for low wages. The same is true in the restaurant business, among construction crews and a number of other fields. America needs immigrants.
Further, it's completely unrealistic to think that the country could gather up the 12 million undocumented immigrants to send that back to their point of origin. It's logistically impossible, and it'll never happen. So let's start thinking about real-world approaches to this issue instead of political sloganeering and vilifying people who are, overwhelmingly, just trying to feed their families. And, it must be said, that sometimes it is the effects of American government policy that has put some Latinos in a position where they must walk through a dessert or stuff themselves into a trunk to find work. (Check out the consequences of US government agricultural subsidies on farmers in Mexico.)
The big picture is that human beings have been migrating around the planet in search of food, shelter, security and a better climate for as long as we've been a species. Borders drawn by men, only a function of the past century or two, will never stop this. We can play political games with the issue -- as the Republicans are bound to do -- or we can approach the subject rationally and attempt to create policies that make sense. Stopping every brown-skinned Spanish speaker in Arizona is a giant step backwards.
Photo of a man being apprehended near the Arizona/Mexico border from the San Francisco Sentinel.