With Mitt Romney’s weak showing among Latino voters in this past November’s Presidential election, the Republican Party is now scrambling to rework its position on immigration. Earlier this month former President George W. Bush spoke at a strategy session in Washington DC organized by the National Immigration Forum in which he stated, “As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contributions of immigrants.”*
Yet even as the total numbers of undocumented people decreases around the country and Republican leaders pay lip service to a softer immigration policy, Republican Governors at the state level continue to implement harsh anti-immigrant laws.
This week Georgia joined Arizona and Alabama as yet another state in the U.S. to allow police to request proof of citizenship from people they suspect of having committed a crime. The so called ‘show your papers’ law’ took effect in Georgia this week as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction that was placed on Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act HB 87 last year.
The law will allow police to investigate a suspect’s immigration status if they have any doubts about their citizenship. Critics have been voicing their concerns over the ‘show your papers’ laws as promoting racial profiling.
Arizona’s SB 1070 set the stage for 36 other states to try and pass similar anti-immigrant laws. Only 5 states, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah have succeeded in passing ‘show your papers’ laws.
GUEST: Adelina Nichols, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Visit www.glahr.org for more information.
ERRATUM: Former President George W. Bush did not speak at the National Immigration Forum but at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas on the same day as the strategy session.