Arizona Republicans Use Rhetoric of Fear to Push Through Draconian Immigration Law

The Arizona Senate yesterday passed one of the harshest immigration enforcement laws in the country. The bill, written by right-wing state senator Russell Pearce, would allow police to arrest anyone who could not immediately prove they are in the country legally. Despite criticism from civil liberties and immigrants’ rights groups, the bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“The Arizona legislature’s agreement to a draconian law that essentially amounts to state-sanctioned racial profiling is appalling. That its supporters have used rhetoric of fear and division to push it through is deplorable, but it’s also not surprising. Opponents of responsible immigration reform have consistently blocked progress by pushing lies and distortions labeling, for example, certain immigrants as criminals and invaders. That is exactly what the proponents of this legislation did to harangue even their moderate colleagues to vote for such an extreme and unjust measure.

“This law’s passage is a reminder of the power of the right wing’s deceitful rhetoric on immigration reform, and should be a call for those who are truly interested in responsible immigration reform to put aside the language of fear and discuss the issues with honesty and respect.”

People For the American Way’s recent Right Wing Watch In Focus, "(P)reviewing the Right-Wing Playbook on Immigration Reform" details the strategies the Right is expected to use in the effort to defeat comprehensive immigration reform. The full report is available here.

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