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Nik Theodore

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Policing Borders: Unauthorized Immigration and the Pernicious Politics of Attrition

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law. The new law, which went into effect on July 29, 2010, required local law enforcement authorities to check the immigration status of any person where “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States” and to charge unauthorized immigrants with a state crime. More insidiously, the law enabled residents to sue law enforcement agencies if they believe authorities are not enforcing the law vigorously enough. The Arizona law quickly became model legislation, with “copycat” bills introduced or considered in 11 states. This article traces the evolution of state-and local-level anti-immigrant legislation in the United States, from anti-solicitation ordinances targeted toward day laborers, to laws making it a crime to rent housing to unauthorized immigrants, to the new Arizona law which effectively criminalizes the very presence of immigrants in the United States.

SB 1070, US anti-immigrant legislation, immigration policing

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 38, Nos. 1-2 (2011-12): 90-106.

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