Arizona is the birthplace of the Trump phenomenon.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then Governor Jan Brewer, and former state senator Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, all lovingly nurtured a babe born of anti-immigrant sentiment. Now that baby is all grown up and his name is Donald Trump.
Donald Trump burst onto the political scene last summer claiming that immigrants were rapists, drug dealers and all around bad people. Trump doesn’t limit his discourse to immigration but the issue has become the core of his political brand.
The upcoming primary in Arizona reminds us that Trump’s immigration rhetoric isn’t coming out of the blue. The most recent incarnation of anti-immigrant rhetoric targeted at Latinos stems from the 2010 Arizona law spearheaded by the then GOP governor and legislature. Senate bill 1070 sought to do exactly what the GOP presidential frontrunner is extolling – get rid of all “the illegals.”
Arizona’s Senate bill 1070 had various parts all aimed at driving out undocumented persons. There were a number of state penalties related to federal immigration law. Then there was the “show me your papers” provision where local and state law enforcement were required to act as immigration agents if an individual was suspected of illegally being in the country.
The unintended (or intended) consequences of racial profiling are not to be missed. There was a lot going on in this anti-immigrant omnibus bill but the bottom line was that the state wanted to make the enforcement climate so unbearable that immigrants would ultimately self-deport.
Republican-led copycat bills soon followed—Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah. And trailing these mega anti-immigrant bills, smaller-scale ones followed. In the wake of the Tea Party revolution anti-immigrant sentiment was red-hot.
ByVICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO for NBC News
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