Last month, Arizona passed SB-1070, making it a crime for a person to be in the state without documentation proving their immigration status. The law also gives cops the right to use race as one factor in determining whether there's a reason to ask for those papeles and grants citizens the right to sue cops if they're not doing the job.
But just how did Arizona get here? Not solitos.
In the 1990s, the federal government decided to shut down key transit points for immigrants in cities in California, Texas and even Arizona. The faulty idea was that immigrants weren't desperate enough to risk death by crossing the Sonoran Desert. They were, however, that desperate, and coyotes were only too happy to charge more for their needed services. Soon, the entry point to the U.S. shifted from California and Texas to Arizona.
Over the years, Arizona voters have approved some of the most far-reaching and sometimes questionable laws in the country. But to be fair, they've had a lot of help from the federal government looking the other way. Politicians like Sen. Pearce, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Gov. Brewer and at times former Gov. Napolitano have been able to blame the federal government for their actions in Arizona and at the same time have capitalized on voters' fears over a volatile border situation.
Here's Arizona's painful march to SB-1070.