Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the most punitive and sweeping anti-immigrant state law in the nation which will take affect this July 29th. This law's full effects will not be measurable for months to come, but it is already clear that it will be challenged in court because it denies rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. And until the legal issues are settled, the new law will have a detrimental effect on Arizona's economy, as well as city and state budgets.
The law essentially legalizes racial profiling. The law puts communities of color in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government workers to determine if a person is illegally in the United States based on a "reasonable suspicion." Legal experts maintain that the law will result in racial profiling, as it does not prohibit police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate. Of course all Arizonans don't all look alike. Like America, Arizona is a diverse state with multiple generations of U.S. citizens. Three out of every 10 Arizonans are Hispanic, 1 out of 10 is American Indian, and 13 percent are foreign born.
The law undercuts the Constitution and empowers local police with federal authority. Arizona is attempting to grant local police arrest authority for administrative violations of federal immigration law, even though the state police do not have that authority under federal law. The measure does not require the local police to have a search warrant or even suspect that some illegal action has occurred.
The law will harm the state and local economies which in turn will transcend into other parts of the country. Arizona is not an island. The National Employment Law Project pointed out that smaller-scale anti-immigrant ordinances have cost individual localities millions of dollars. The Texas-based Perryman Group calculated that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs. The Immigration Policy Center noted that, "with Arizona facing a budget deficit of more than $3 billion," the new law will "further imperil the state's economic future."
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other local leaders anticipate a drop in new business ventures in the state because of the harsh new law. Phoenix Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski observed: "We're the laughing stock of the country because of these crazy laws."
According to the Arizona Republic newspaper , housing experts anticipate that SB 1070 will not only drive illegal immigrants out of the state, but legal residents and potential new homebuyers with them-"departures from a state where growth is the economic foundation." The resulting exodus will likely spur more foreclosures and create more vacant homes and apartments, which as real-estate analysts point out, will scare off potential homebuyers who fear lower home values. With a budget deficit in the billions, and an economy struggling to get back on its feet, a declining housing market is the last thing Arizonans need.
Estimates are that there are several hundred thousand undocumented aliens residing in Arizona. If the law has the intended effect and these people do leave, then both population and demand for housing will probably decline.
Likewise, many of Arizona's documented residents are also expected to leave the state thanks to SB 1070. According to the U.S. Census, Latinos make up roughly one-third of all Arizonans (29.7%)-many of whom feel targeted by the new law. According to Jay Butler , director of realty studies at Arizona State University: