Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Is racial profiling justified if a certain group is more likely to commit a particular crime?

Asked by JLeslie (48229 points ) April 27th, 2010

I’m watching Al Sharpton on Larry King talking about how the new Arizona immigration law is racial profiling. To be honest the racial profiling part doesn’t bother me that much. I am against the law because I don’t think the local police should have the responsibility of finding and dealing with illegal immigrants. But, even if the law falls apart, there will still be the issue of racial profiling even if INS/ICE is enforcing the law, won’t there?

Of course this topic also comes up regarding Muslims, blacks, and others.

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76 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

I’m guessing you haven’t been racially profiled? GQ, though.

No, it’s never okay. It’s even less okay when it happens to me.

Just because I’m Irish in S.Boston doesn’t mean I’m in a gang!

EDIT: It is a part of human nature though, and does exist on social and legal levels. I just think we need to steer away from it. Life would be better if we were colorblind.

Plone3000's avatar

Yes, If you have the statistics then it could be argued that you are trying to protect yourself and others.

Trillian's avatar

I wonder if you know the answer to these questions…

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t think it is justified but I can understand why it happens. At some point or another every racial group has made life harder for themselves by causing these stereotypes to remain in existance. However, this is a subject that I would like to learn more about because I don’t know enough in order t say anymore than I already have here.

Snarp's avatar

Let’s think about what racial profiling actually means, particularly in the case of the Arizona law. The Arizona law says that proof of citizenship can be demanded of anyone who is “reasonably suspicious” or they can be arrested. Do you believe for a second that a white person will ever be “reasonably suspicious” as an illegal immigrant? Do you go around with proof of citizenship everywhere you go (a driver’s license is not acceptable proof of citizenship)? Do you think you should have to? What this means is that a different legal standard applies to Hispanic people than to white people. That’s what racial profiling always means. Simply having different colored skin, an accent, going to a certain church, or wearing a funny hat makes it acceptable to accord you different treatment under the law. I don’t think that’s ever acceptable.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Snarp I’m assuming that you don’t have many Polish people where you are? They are “white” and often targeted as illegall immigrants where I am.

Snarp's avatar

@Trillian On the other hand, on April 19, 1995 a bomb was detonated at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people including 19 children under the age of 6 by a white male.

Between 1973 and 1978 between 26 and 100 people were murdered by Ted Bundy, a white male.

Then there’s Charles Manson, white male, Jeffrey Dahmer, white male, David Berkowitz, white male, etc. etc.

Snarp's avatar

@Leanne1986 Tell me you honestly think that Polish immigrants are going to be targeted in Arizona? This isn’t a law where immigration officials go after particular workplaces because they have information on illegal immigrants working there, it’s targeting people on the street to haul them into jail for being illegal immigrants. You can’t identify a Polish person by looking at them.

JFKFC's avatar

Of course, I want my government to use every method available to apprehend criminals. It’s ridiculous to tie their hands for the sake of political correctness.

gemiwing's avatar

I don’t like it. I don’t like to think of humans arranged like flowers at a funeral. This one goes here because it looks better; that one goes in the back because it’s not ‘real’.

I’d love to figure out a new method but I think the bigger issue is that we are pre-judging people. This amazing ability humans have of choice- and we are reducing it to color/income/country.

JLeslie's avatar

@Taciturnu I think you might be talking about prejudice or generalizations rather than actual profiling? Do the cops actually suspect you of being a gang member? Yes, I have had people make assumptions about me because I am Jewish, but I have never been targeted by the police for anything.

@Snarp point taken. Having documents on you was a point I made on another thread somewhere actually. Goodness knows I don’t walk around with my passport and either does my husband, so if we were stopped we could not prove citizenship at the moment.

But, don’t you think the authorities kind of know where the illegal immigrants are living and working?

@all Joy Behar on her show was saying it is like Nazi Germany, but we are not selecting these people to enslave them, torture them, take their worldy belongings, or kill them. It would be to deport someone who is here illegally.

Having said that I come from an open doors point of view, and welcome hard working immigrants to the country. I want them to be able to get papers and be legal.

Snarp's avatar

@JFKFC Every method? So would that include torture? Searches and seizures without warrant? Wiretapping every phone in the country? Reading everyone’s mail and email? Jailing people without access to courts if they are suspicious enough?

YoBob's avatar

Bottom line is you don’t get a free pass on suspicion just because you are not white.

If there is probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed and the suspect is described as being 6’9”, weighing 350 pounds, and has flaming red hair it is not racial profiling to investigate any large red headed males as potential suspects.

In Arizona they have a huge problem with illegal immigrants and have a very high crime rate associated with that particular demographic. If there is probable cause to suspect that an individual is in this country illegally it is no more a violation of rights to ask for ID than it is for an officer to ask “can I take a look in the trunk?” when somebody starts acting suspicious during a routine traffic stop.

Trillian's avatar

@Snarp I am aware of this. I was just discussing this issue a few days ago with a girlfriend. We’ve been watching this Arizona thing rather closely. I told her that we now have homegrown terrorists who would be impossible to identify at first glance.
My reference was a bit tongue in cheek, though you are mostly referring to serial killers as opposed to terrorists.
But yes, Mr. McVeigh was an average guy next door looking person. I know. I also believe that security measures should be applied across the board.
I don’t know how to feel about the Arizona thing. Is this not happening because of the drug cartels who are coming across the border? I heard that a whole town in Texas was taken over by them and all the honest, law abiding citizens who lived there had to leave? How much truth is there to this?
I don’t think that NOT checking someone out because you don’t want to offend them is just as big if a mistake. I honestly don’t know how to feel about this, but I really don’t think that our decisions should be based on political correctness. They should be data driven. What does the data say?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Snarp I’m not in Arizona and I have never been, I didn’t realise that this Q was only aimed at people who are/have (let’s be honest, racial profilling doesn’t just happen there, it’s just in the limelight more at the moment). My point was just that, although it may happen less often, white people are still targeted in this way.

Taciturnu's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I was actually suspected of participating in gang activity.

No, I don’t think cops know where the illegal immigrants are, just the immigrants. I know plenty of illegal and legal immigrants that pack themselves into apartments like sardines to save a buck. (They usually aren’t the ones here for the long haul.) Cops would be questioning anyone who looked different, or who had an accent. Before you know it, they’re going to legalize roadblocks that are reminiscent of the USSR.

@YoBob, as @Snarp mentioned, IDs are not considered acceptable proof of citizenship. And, you can always tell the officer that you don’t want him looking in your trunk.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Racial profiling is important because we know all Italians would steal from you if they weren’t so lazy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Taciturnu Thanks for clarifying, I wanted to be sure we were talking about the same thing. True what you say, that illegal and illegal immigrants can be living together. Not sure what the solution is. Seems like they should go after the crime more than anything, that is what they are really concerned about in Arizona.

JFKFC's avatar

@Snarp I said every method available. The methods you mentioned are not.

Snarp's avatar

@JFKFC They are just as available as racial profiling, legally speaking.

Siren's avatar

Nope, not justified. But you will only understand it’s consequences if you fall under any of the groups who have been profiled in the past or present. Sets a bad precedence for human rights.

@JLeslie: I agree that law enforcement should go after the crime and those propagating it, particularly the large, multi-million dollar crop organizations which need illegals to farm their fields and don’t have to worry about minimum wage, healthcare, housing, etc. Unfortunately, because of their power, no one will ever go after them. If there were not any jobs here for illegals, they would not be crossing over here.

Taciturnu's avatar

@JLeslie I agree with you 100%. My thought is that we should do something about border control (which does seem to be an unending and broad topic), and go after the criminals. Eventually, the illegal residents will taper off.

JFKFC's avatar

“Racial profiling” fortunately is very difficult to prove.
Regarding all illegal acts: there is some “group” that has done it more than every other. Why on earth shouldn’t this information be used in a manhunt?
Are other forms of crossreferencing to be made illegal next?
Investigating an Irish grandmother when you know you’re looking for a young Middle Eastern male gets nothing done. In other words it wastes my tax dollars and puts me at risk for a longer period of time.

Taciturnu's avatar

@JFKFC , There is a big difference between knowing a white male in his 20’s just left the scene of a burglary, and suspecting the hispanic female in her 40’s “must be doing something wrong.” What happens when she sues the town or county because the same PD keeps questioning her? That is a waste of tax dollars.

JFKFC's avatar

If you know a particular “group” is more likely to have committed a certain act who else should you consider most?
All you have to do is free your mind of the backwards groups mentality and “racial profiling” becomes a non issue.
Ones race is a critical part of one’s profile. Me, you, everyone.
John Wayne Gacey was a white male like me. Do I get bent out of shape that it’s known that a majority of serial killers in the US are white males? No, rather i was grateful that they weren’t looking for a Chinese female when I became his next victim.
If you could somehow prove to me that your objection to “racial profiling” wasn’t about the PC movement…

alive's avatar

how can someone be ok with racial profiling??? i feel like that just means you don’t know anything about history/american history/civil liberties….

JFKFC's avatar

That’s likely because I’m thinking not feeling.

Taciturnu's avatar

@JFKFC You, as a white male, have likely never had your liberties encroached upon. Would a law like this mean that you would have to be subjected to the same things as someone else for doing exactly the same thing? Quite unlikely.

By the way, I believe in the US Constitution, which states we are all equal under this supreme law of the land. It is for that reason that I can not condone laws and movements in this direction.

Snarp's avatar

@JFKFC You seem to be missing the point that you are talking about very specific crimes and trying to determine and narrow down possible suspects through investigation, which invariably should and does involve the race of the suspect. That’s not racial profiling. Racial profiling is about treating people as suspects in general simply due to the color of their skin or other ethnic markers, absent any specific reasons to suspect them of any particular crime. Ethnic profiling is when being black and driving a Mercedes means you will get pulled over (or Hispanic and driving anything or walking down the street), asked to step out of the car, and searched when you drive five miles an hour over the speed limit (or do nothing wrong) while you watch white drivers speed by at twenty over the limit without being pulled over by the same cop. Race alone cannot be justifiable grounds for suspicion of a crime.

wilma's avatar

Isn’t being in a country illegally a crime?

Snarp's avatar

@wilma I’m not sure that it actually is, but even if it is, so is music piracy. Should we be able to seize the computers of and arrest any white male between the ages of 16 and 30 and hold them until they can show a receipt for the purchase of any music files on their computers?

wilma's avatar

@Snarp hasn’t that happened? I know that they have prosecuted people to make examples of them in regards to music piracy.
Is that the same kind of crime as being in a country illegally?
I know when I go outside of my country, I have certain rules and expectations to follow. I’m very careful to do so, and to be doing what I claimed to be going to do, and to leave when I said I was going to.

Snarp's avatar

@wilma No, they have to have reasons to suspect someone before they search their computer and arrest them for piracy. Simply fitting the right profile doesn’t cut it.

Is it the same kind of crime as being in a country illegally? No, not at all. Pirating music is stealing, it directly victimizes the artists and others involved in making the music.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Yes, racial profiling is essential. Otherwise costs will be unnecessarily high.

Snarp's avatar

This seems to sum it up pretty well.

wilma's avatar

@Snarp I think it’s a more serious situation than that .
I also think Illegal immigration is a serious problem, as well as a crime.

Snarp's avatar

@wilma There are specific crimes that can be committed by illegal immigrants or by anyone else, but I don’t know if there’s significant evidence that illegal immigrants are any more criminal than anyone else. You could also argue that illegal immigrants hurt legal residents by taking low wage, dirty, and dangerous jobs, but who’s the criminal in that case: the illegal immigrant or the person who hires them, who victimizes both the legal residents who can’t get a job that pays their bills and the illegal immigrant who works for substandard wages in unsafe conditions and is to afraid to report it?

JLeslie's avatar

It seems in Arizona they are worried about illegal aliens running drugs and violent crime like killing people. So when I said the authorities can simply focus on the criminals that is what I meant. I guess being an illegal alien is a crime, but generally I feel a lot of compassion for someone who is looking to better themselves and their family, who come from a country who has less opportunity.

I guess maybe there is an undercurrent of the ilegal immigrants taking jobs also, I have not heard that specifically in the reporting recently on this Arizona issue. John McCain used to be a proponent of a path to citizenship, but from what I understand he supports this bill.

My mother, who has been a Democrat her whole life, and is liberal on most issues wants to deport everyone (that is said with exaggeration). Now, remember I married a Mexican, and many of my family’s friends are immigrants from many different countries, her grandparents were immigrants and my father’s parents were immigrants, but she is sick and tired of the gangs and violence where she lives outside of DC, mostly done by illegal immigrants, or possibly they are legal but new immigrants. Even if there is crime being committed by people who have been here for generations it is different, because we have to deal with our citizens, but I think the overwhelming feeling is why do we have to deal with crime from non-citizens? For some reason it is more upsetting I think.

Now, I am not as extreme as my mother, but if she feels this way, it has to be pretty bad I would guess around her. She is not one to discriminate.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

AZ needs to recognize that there is a difference between Mexicans and Mexican gang members. Let’s focus on the problem.
Gang tattoos should be basis for instant deportation if they are illegal.

wilma's avatar

@Snarp I don’t mean to say that illegal immigrants commit more crimes than other people. (I don’t know the statistics on that) But being in a country illegally is a crime. That is what I’m talking about.
I also think that the person hiring them should be prosecuted, they are also committing a crime. We have laws for a reason, if you aren’t going to enforce them, then it doesn’t make sense to me to have the laws.

wundayatta's avatar

What if a study indicated that a certain race was much more often correlated with enlarged hearts. Would it be racial profiling to select mostly folks of that race to test for enlarged hearts and then treat them? Should we be forced to spend a lot of money testing everyone at equal rates just because we are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race?

slick44's avatar

This is a loaded ques.

Snarp's avatar

@wundayatta That’s not remotely similar. The point is that we should not be asking anyone to prove their citizenship on the spot, whatever color their skin happens to be. We don’t sweep people up and screen them as criminals without grounds for suspicion beyond their ethnicity. If you are referring to airport screenings in particular, then maybe you missed the cases of Colleen LaRose or John Walker Lindh. If you think nice white Americans shouldn’t have the same screening as anyone else on the plane, maybe you want one of them on your flight?

wundayatta's avatar

@Snarp I’m not sure why you don’t think it’s similar. The point is that it should be ok to use evidence-based practices to protect us. You want to spend a limited amount of money and make it go the farthest. If you don’t like my analogy, then try this one. If 90% of terrorists are Muslim, and 10% are white, do you want to spend an equal amount of money testing whites and muslims? Do you think that’s a good use of tax dollars?

All I’m saying is that we should look at the data when deciding how to spend our money on protection. Do you think otherwise? It sounds like you’re saying that just because a couple of people do not fit a profile, we should then divert most of our money to protect ourselves against people who are difficult to find, and not spend much money trying to find people who are easier to find. Is this unfair?

Snarp's avatar

@wundayatta Testing them for what?

Snarp's avatar

If you’re talking about airport screening now, I don’t care if it costs more for me to not live in a country where every person who looks like they might be Muslim goes through a different security line with more scrutiny than I do at the airport. Who qualifies for the special line? Anyone who has skin darker than a certain pigment? Everyone in a turban? Any woman in a veil? What about saris? Wait, I’ve got it, we’ll just require all Muslims to wear a yellow crescent stitched to their outer garments in a prominent place and that way we’ll know who to be suspicious of.

wundayatta's avatar

@Snarp I don’t know who gets profiled. It depends on the data. I’m just asking if data should be used to help people decide who to take a closer look at. You answer by saying you don’t want to live in a country where people are treated differently, even if it is proven that the difference is there. So you are saying the data don’t matter to you. The politics are more important. Perceptions of fairness are more important (it isn’t more fair, because it oversamples some people, but there aren’t a lot of people who can appreciate that).

In my example, they were being tested for enlarged hearts, but it could have been some form of cancer or bad kidneys or who knows what. There are medical conditions that appear to discriminate by race. I don’t see why there shouldn’t be social conditions that discriminate by race. Of course, those things change, and you have to keep monitoring them to see if things are the same this year as they were last year (they aren’t), and change your procedures accordingly.

kheredia's avatar

All I can say is that if I were questioned about my citizenship status just because I look Mexican I would be offended and disgusted at what my country has come to. It’s insulting and degrading. Nobody should have to go through something like that, I don’t care if they are in this country illegally. What Arizona is doing is wrong and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Snarp's avatar

@wundayatta Medical conditions that have racial disparities have underlying genetic causes that are inherited. Social conditions are passed down culturally, they can evaporate overnight, or not exist in the next generation. For example, most people now believe that it is simply unacceptable to treat people differently under the law because of the color of the skin, but forty years ago most people simply accepted it. Medical treatment and legal treatment are entirely different, and I don’t care if you claim it is simply politics or “perceived fairness”, it is simply wrong to treat people differently under the law because they have different colored skin, or a strange sounding name, or an accent, or love someone of their same sex. That is a core ethical principle, and it simply doesn’t matter if it costs a little more to maintain it.

But the problem with you example of 90% of terrorists being Muslim, aside from what I pointed out, namely that you simply can’t tell who is Muslim, is that even if that is the case, only 0.01% of Muslims are terrorists (I made that number up, just like the 90% is made up, and it’s almost certainly too high). Is it right or fair to treat the 99.9% of Muslims who are not terrorists differently under the law because of that 0.01%? If it’s “politically correct” to believe we should not have different rules for different races, religions, ethnic groups, and sexual preference, then I’m glad to be politically correct. Because it’s also morally and ethically correct.

YoBob's avatar

So… does anyone have a suggestion as to how we can identify whether or not a person is in this country illegally without asking for the related documentation?

It is not about race, it is about reversing the plague of illegal immigration. Unfortunately, many who do not live in border states fail to understand the magnitude of the problem.

JLeslie's avatar

I saw on Morning Joe this morning that the Mexican President or some other official, I don’t remember who, is warning Mexicans not to travel to Arizona. I gotta say at first I laughed, but then I realized if they heed the message Texas, New Mexico, and Cali are either going to greatly benefit with tourist dollars or have a worse illegal immigration problem. The federal goverment really needs to do something I think. The ideal would be if Mexico and the rest of Latin America could improve their economies so people don’t want to leave in large numbers.

Snarp's avatar

If we’re going to talk about immigration in general, I think that in general it is absurd to tell people that they can’t cross an imaginary line in the sand drawn by a government that invaded their territory and forced their ancestors out of it. The idea of downward pressure on wages and working conditions is understandable, but it largely exists because illegal immigrants live in fear of not just losing their jobs, but being deported, perhaps breaking up their family, or jailed. They also have weak ties to this country. If they were simply allowed to come here legally and could bring their families and start a life here there would be less downward pressure on wages than there is now, and while there would be some painful transition, in the long term it would be a net positive.

The other fear of course is crime, and while I think a general fear of immigrant crime is a red herring and not well supported statistically, the fear of the rising power and reach of the Mexican drug cartels is a legitimate concern. The problem is that targeting illegal immigrants is not likely to address the cartel issue. The drug cartels have money, and while they are likely involved in various ways with illegal immigration, they can simply have people visit legally and hire American citizens to do their dirty work. I don’t think stepped up enforcement seeking to catch illegal immigrants already here will address this issue. This is a problem that requires cooperation by law enforcement on both sides of the border. One thing that has led to this problem is the prohibition of marijuana. Marijuana is the single largest money maker for the drug cartels, if it were legal it would be a serious blow to the cartels. Legalizing immigrants would also enable them to move into the U.S. and diffuse throughout it, away from the border region and the influence of the cartels. It would also provide economic opportunity and stability making dealing with the cartels less favorable to immigrants.

Taciturnu's avatar

@YoBob I will never be happy with America resembling Nazi Germany.

JLeslie's avatar

@Snarp Are you surprised that McCain seemed to do a 180 on the issue?

I agree that if they were legal it would help the situation. It seems to me the US ignores the immigration “problem” from south of our border overall on purpose, knowingly. I don’t trust it. What I mean to say is I think they turn a blind eye to the employment of new immigrants.

Also, I have a history question. I always thought that when we “invaded” Mexican territory and new lines were drawn, that the Mexicans on our side of the line stayed here. I never thought they were thrown out?

@Taciturnu Me either. But, there is a difference between rounding people up because they are illegally on our soil, and rounding them up to enslave and kill them. Jews were German citizens. Although, I agree I don’t want check points or papers on demand. What is your solution? @YoBob has a good question. Are you fine with having as many people who want to enter the country come in?

And, by the way, Mexico has pretty strict immigration laws. I remember several years back some Cubans floated over their instead of the US, something must have been up with the current, and Mexico sent them right back to Cuba.

Snarp's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not surprised at any of the 180s McCain has done lately. He’s become a complete hypocrite, pandering to the right wing base in hopes of getting re-elected. I don’t think there’s an honest bone left in his body right now.

You are probably at least partly correct about Mexicans, at least in terms of the direct annexation of Mexican territory, most probably stayed. So I may have stated that poorly. Nevertheless families and neighbors suddenly found themselves on opposite sides of an arbitrary line that in some cases went right through the middle of cities. For years this line was simply ignored in many places, and now it’s being reinforced. The absurdity of borders for people who live near them never ceases to amaze me, whether it’s the Mexican/American border, the iron curtain, or even city lines and state lines, borders create huge problems for people whose lives straddle them, because at that level they simply make no sense.

Snarp's avatar

I’m also convinced that our immigration policy serves three purposes, and that the people responsible for it are very well aware of all three:
1. To use a populist, anti-immigrant, fear mongering message to get elected.
2. To provide a source of cheap labor and maintain the downward pressure on wages.
3. To maintain remittances as a major source of income for Mexico, one that would dry up if immigrants could legally stay here and bring their families. I honestly wonder how much that one is discussed in closed door meetings between American and Mexican diplomats.

Taciturnu's avatar

@JLeslie Anything that infringes upon someone’s constitutional rights is un-American, in my opinion. I do not want my rights infringed upon.

Is it okay for a cop to suspect any young black person of being a drug dealer? Could that alone be probable cause?

The immigrant communities in AZ (and wherever else this may follow) will fail to report crimes or emergencies for fear of being scrutinized, or having their neighbors scrutinized.

Like I said earlier, I feel emphasis is put in the wrong place in this instance. If we made the process easier for immigrants, we would have a lot more here legally, because there would be nothing holding them back. If we work on border patrol so we know who is here and who is not, eventually the illegal residents become a thing of the past.

@Snarp made an important point earlier, too. If we didn’t have so many illegal residents fattening up old men’s wallets, our economy would suffer. Why is someone going to willingly pay an American $60G/yr when they can hire an immigrant for $10G and not have to worry about insurance or working conditions? They’ll just export their business and the Americans that are working higher up the chain will all be let go, too.

I’m not trying to be insensitive to people in border states. I have a sister in So.Cal. that has to deal with the hispanic population. (I’ve witnessed it on my visits out there, too.) I just don’t think this is the way to do it. It is simply unconstitutional to hold someone to a different legal standard than their peers.

YoBob's avatar

@Taciturnu – Nor would I.

Taciturnu's avatar

@YoBob That comparison may seem a little extreme, but don’t you think that would be the direction taken? It seperates out a select group of people, and asks them for their “papers.”

JLeslie's avatar

@Taciturnu So your concern is the Hispanic person, or the person who “looks” Hispanic getting asked for papers? Am I right? As I have stated, I agree with being better about letting people become legal and that I don’t want local authorites dealing with immigration. BUT, if we leave it to INS, don’t they also have to eventually check someone’s papers/status somehow? Of course it is not ok for a cop to suspect any young black guy of being a drug dealer, but if he is hanging out on a corner where it is known that drug deals go down, I am probably ok with a cop asking him what he is doing there and asking for ID a la Rudy Guilana. If it was a white guy standing on that same corner seemingly up to no good I am ok with it also. That is not a racial thing, that is a place and circumstance thing.

Now, you talked to @Snarp about companies paying illegals less money, and that they will move their businesses if they have to pay more. Move the business where? To Mexico? There is some irony in that somehow. So, in the end you are saying better they are illegal, giving them papers will hurt the “system” and how it is set up. You are agreeing with what I said above, that there is a purposeful blind eye turned towards the immigration problem. This is almost like slave labor in the end. You are worried about people at the top losing their jobs if the people at the bottom have to be paid a decent wage? Think about that for a second.

Oh, and I am 100% in agreement that local police should not have this responsibility because it will discourage people from calling the cops when they are in danger or observe a crime, I thought I had said that on this thread, but maybe it was on the other one recently started about this issue. I just noticed at the top I did not say why I am against the local police having this power.

Snarp's avatar

For the record, I’m not the least concerned about jobs moving out of the U.S. if we no longer have low paid illegal immigrant workers. Most of them are not working in outsourceable fields. They work as maids, roofers, janitors, meat packers, and produce pickers (among other things). If the jobs could be outsourced, they would be, regardless of illegal immigrants. I want everyone to make a decent wage, and I think liberalizing immigration laws would ultimately lead to that.

And Mexico is losing a lot of the outsourced jobs from America as they are outsourced to parts of Central America and Asia where the labor is even cheaper. That’s actually one factor driving illegal immigration – the loss of factory jobs in Mexico.

wundayatta's avatar

The Arizona law lets police check people’s immigration status if they have a “reasonable” suspicion that the person is undocumented. What is a reasonable suspicion? How can you tell about a person just by looking at them? Obviously the police, should this legislation go into practice, will be suspecting those who look Mexican. How they will explain this in court, I don’t know. It probably won’t get that far.

My personal belief is that international borders are bogus. The should be eliminated. I think any legislation passed to try to keep immigrants out will be reversed in a decade or two when we have no laborers left, and we’re all getting sick and need home care or nursing home care, and there’s no one to provide it. Anti-immigration law is about as stupid as you can get.

However, if you are going to enact a stupid law, then it should be enforced based on the best data available. It ain’t racial profiling. It’s data profiling. I can’t help it if it looks like racial profiling.

Silhouette's avatar

This statistic alone is enough to swing my vote. “Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City and over 370 cases last year alone.” This is what Arizona is fighting against, it’s not about jobs, it’s about the drug cartels killing and kidnapping Arizona citizens, the majority of the kidnap victims have been Hispanic. Me I’d willingly line up and prove my citizenship if it meant fewer kidnappings and killings. I can only hope none of the people who are outraged by this law become victims of this horrible crime wave.

alive's avatar

@Silhouette that is fair but i think you are underestimating the cartels. they do have papers. and if they don’t, trust me, they are not out in the open for police to question them. also isn’t there a better way to deal with drug cartels than making all brown people a target [of the law]

@JLeslie “local police should not have this responsibility because it will discourage people from calling the cops when they are in danger or observe a crime” very veryyyyy very good point!

Silhouette's avatar

@alive “also isn’t there a better way to deal with drug cartels than making all brown people a target [of the law]” Have you got a better idea? They have to start somewhere and like most complicated problem solving there are bound to be missteps in the beginning. From what I understand the law has already evolved from it’s original form. It’s a work in progress, it’s clumsy, but at least they are working on the issue instead of burying their heads in the sand like a bunch of impotent ostriches because they are afraid of the politically incorrect backlash.

alive's avatar

@Silhouette first of all, i live in a boarder state, and we do not have any of the problems that AZ is saying it is having… i find that a bit odd. frankly, i think the problems in AZ stem from the tremendous class gap between those of mexican descent and those of white descent. (i.e. AZ has a large very wealthy white population, and a very large extremely poor mexican population)

to answer your question do i haven any better ideas: not that i really care all that much about drug legalization, but it is an option. not only will it lessen drug trafficking but it also has a lot of potential to increase the amount of taxes that a state pulls in. and in this economy, states need to find income in more and more places

further, i stick by my original comment that i cannot believe that in this day and age people are still ok with racial profiling. it is a slippery slope.

not only are they trying to quote unquote “stop crime” (which is how they are disguising the racism) they are also BANNING ethnic studies… the racial profiling is an infringement on personal freedoms and civil liberties, and the state deciding what can and cannot be taught in school, now we are talking about an assault on academic freedom (cough cough book burning cough cough)

Arizona Department of Education

Huffington Post

the leaders in AZ are not trying to hide the fact that they are very conservative and they want a very conservative culture to rule in AZ (they don’t want any room for other kinds of thinking)

JLeslie's avatar

@alive Do you think if the Mexicans were of a higher socio-economic status and very conservative that Arizona would not have an issue with them living there?

alive's avatar

@JLeslie yes. i absolutely do. for example, the cuban population in miami/ south florida. they do not have any controversies like this in florida, because the cubans that wanted to escape castro’s government were exactly what you said: “of a higher socio-economic status and very conservative” or at least republican/anti-communist.

the anti-communist cubans fit right in with the republican white culture of florida.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive Well, Miami is not perfect, there are people there who resent Miami becoming so Hispanic, so Spanish speaking. Also, in Miami the Cubans are legal period, so there is no way to get them on that, they have asylum. True, the first Cubans who came over had money, but the people who float over on rafts are not wealthy. There is however controversy over Haitian refugees in FL, because they don’t get asylum, and some try to say that it is motivtaed by racism.

But, back to the point I was getting to with my question, if it is more socio-economic driven (which I think you have a point with that) then it is not racist. It is not the color of their skin, it is money. The burden possibly that they put on the state, or the perception of a burden (I think they are contributing, but that is a different discussion) still I hear complaints in the media about their children filling up schools, them taking jobs, using social services. Again, not the color of their skin. Honestly, I think illegal or legal people are annoyed in Arizona.

alive's avatar

without going on a long sociological rant (because my last couple posts have been a bit tiring to write)

in our country race is inherently connected to class. so what it really comes down to is whether you believe that or not (often this is where conservatives and liberals will disagree).

if you do agree then you can see how it is racist – the subtle kind that often goes unnoticed – as well as classist… if you don’t agree i would say read Black Wealth, White Wealth

secondly this law targets certain people of a certain skin color, again without going into a long rebuttle… that is racist…

even if we have many illegals in the US, they are still a minority. most people in AZ (or the US as a whole) are not illegal immigrants, that is a second problem with this law – the people making these laws just assume if your brown you are illegal so we should detain you until we can get your proof of residency. i don’t know about you, but i don’t carry my passport on me at all times. if you are brown and in AZ though, you better start doing that. and just hope the cop isn’t in a dick kind of mood.

Silhouette's avatar

I too live in a border town and I can tell you first hand that things are heating up quite nicely between El Paso and Juárez. If what is happening in Arizona is anything like what is happening here and I’m certain it is, then they need to do something and they need to do it now.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive I agree there is a link between race and social class in America.

I agree some cops might abuse the law (remember I am against local authorities having this power) but those cops are probably assholes to begin with.

I think if my husband were to travel to AZ right now he probably would carry his passport, just to be on the safe side. If I were with him I would do the same. I typically travel with my passport anyway. Always good to have two picture ID’s.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Racial profiling is imperative if costs are to be kept to a minimum.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I would bet that if the Cubans that first sought asylum in Miami were poor they and those that followed would have a much poorer reception. It seems that your wealth, not your race is more important to immigration officials. Frankly, I think that’s fair. Why should we encourage poor people to emigrate. We are no longer a country that needs additional people to fill it up. We should be, like Canada and Australia. They care about your ability to support yourself and don’t really discriminate by race.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I agree it if Immigrants have more wealth they are less likely to be discriminated against, and I was aware Canada requires a person bring with them some wealth or a needed skill (talking higher education skill). Economically, and in other ways, it might be better for the country, but we have a history of being there for the people who have a sucky impovershed circumstance. It hurts me to move away from that competely.

As a side note, there are a lot of people not thrilled with Cubans continuing to get asylum.

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