Albany – New York State Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (Brooklyn, 51st) a native of Puerto Rico, who immigrated to the United States in 1980, is furious at the passage of an immigration bill through the Arizona State Legislature. This bill, if signed into law, would allow authorities to demand proof of legal entry into the United States from anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The Assemblyman is hopeful that Arizona State Governor, Jan Brewer, will veto this bill.
If passed into law, immigrants will be required to have papers that prove their legal status in the States. “In essence, this bill legalizes racial profiling. By allowing police to question and arrest people without any warrant apart from ‘reasonable suspicion’ about their immigrant status; this bill puts a target mark on the back of every minority in the state,” said Mr. Ortiz.
Immigrants, along with the majority of U.S. residents, are living through what are already extremely tough economic conditions. In a recent study by the New York Times, it was found that the immigrant community finds it tougher to make ends meet, with the loss of low-paying jobs greatly affecting immigrant communities. “In this tough time, we should work together to improve the economy, not turn on one another. This bill makes the daily lives of most minorities unbearable. Immigrants do not deserve to go through such anguish,” the Assemblyman emphasized.
Assemblyman Ortiz is also hopeful that minority public officials from Arizona, as well as other states, will voice out their opposition to this bill in order to persuade Governor Brewer to veto it. He is afraid that the passage of this bill will give other states a chance to make a “copy-cat” legislation that will negatively impact immigrant and minority communities throughout the country. Assemblyman Ortiz stated: “The United States of America is known for its freedom, not suppression. Passage of this bill will reverse much of the progress that has been made. We need to STOP this type of legislation before it’s too late.”