The police state of America is the current status of our decaying country, a country where big businesses are what matters.
Only a truly misled country would see its state pass the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070) and violate our Constitution, Bill of Rights and human rights. But Arizona did pass SB1070 – in order to "combat illegals."
This law allows local police officials the ability to legally harass any individual whom the police officer deems not American enough. It begs the question – what does a "real" American look like? The law affects not just the Hispanic population but also Asians, Arabs, Caucasians and any other individuals the officers deem to be "reasonably suspicious."
What should frighten you is that this law promotes and justifies racial profiling.
It is a common misconception that undocumented individuals take a toll on the state's economy. But this common fallacy is fed largely by the faulty information that biased media reports. The federal government provides Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicaid and TANF – all of which are assistance programs that assist vulnerable populations and families.
However, what is not emphasized is that these services are prohibited to undocumented workers, negating the argument that illegals receive free state assistance. The only benefits given by local and state governments to aliens are emergency medical services, education and protection of the law to all individual regardless of status in this country.
It must also be addressed that undocumented workers pay payroll taxes, such as Social Security, which are deducted by their employers. It is reported in the study of "The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget," that the U.S. immigration population contributed $15.1 billion in income and payroll taxes. It is also reported by "Five Myths About Immigration" that 66 percent of undocumented immigrants were docked for Social Security by their employer; another 62 percent deducted income tax as well.
Beyond taxes, these workers contribute man hours. Arizona and other states – including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina – have passed copycat laws and have suffered deep economic crises in the business realm and agricultural sector.
According to "Why Undocumented Workers Are Good for the Economy," a column by Alfonso Serrano in Time magazine, in the first year after passing the bill, Arizona had estimated a loss of $253 million in economic output, $9.4 million in tax revenues and 2,761 jobs.
In a list from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research center, Alabama's agricultural sector, which normally brings in $5.5 billion of revenue, has taken a loss of $1.6 billion in the tomato sector alone due to rotting produce left unpicked. In Georgia, the new law forced an estimated 30 percent of documented and undocumented workers to flee the state.
Furthermore, these facts don't include the losses of pecan, cotton or peanut crops. It must also be noted that this new law further burdens a thin law enforcement force which are now tasked in enforcing a nebulous regulation.
A nation that was founded – and continues to depend – upon immigrants cannot just turn a blind eye to the hand that feeds it. But our failure as a country does not begin with our government – it begins with the people.
Our founding fathers viewed the government as the greatest threat to the people, so they took safeguards against them. We the people elect public officials to work for us, not against us.
It is our collective fault for allowing racial profiling to become law, and only we the people can rectify it. We must demand that SB 1070 be repealed and begin moving towards immigration reform; all elected government officials that stand by and do nothing must be held accountable.
We have grown stagnant, comfortable and weak, allowing the few to tyrannize the majority. But do not grow weary, do not lose hope and fill your hearts with despair.
Though empires may lose their supremacy and kings may lose their crowns, freedom and liberty shall never lose their value.
Eduardo Teran is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in social work. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.