The state of Arizona recently enacted a controversial new immigration law that is the toughest in the nation and has sparked protests around the country. Many immigrants who have come to the U.S. from other countries feel threatened and afraid of the new legislation, while others feel it is a necessary step to ensure the state's resources don't get stretched too thin.
Police Chief Joe Martinez of Kearny, Arizona believes the law will help keep his state's border with Mexico secure and will prevent dangerous smugglers and drug cartels from crossing into the U.S. And, Patrick Bray of the Arizona Cattleman's Association believes Arizonans are "frustrated" with the federal government's lack of immigration law enforcement.
But, some immigrant families who have been in the United States legally for a long time are now afraid of being targeted by law enforcement officials because of their heritage. High schooler Carla Urqidi, the daughter of a former illegal immigrant, is afraid her parents might come under suspicion because they have accents when they speak English.
President Obama is pushing for a comprehensive, nationwide reform of the immigration system. But, he is facing a difficult political climate that might stall reform for years to come.
"Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. And that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans."- President Barack Obama
"We' re scared of going outside the house, we're scared of being in certain spots now because of you know we know the police roams around. It has changed Arizona to the point where it's wrong. It's unfair and it shouldn't be like that."- Carla Urqidi, Arizona resident
"A lot of U.S. citizens, including myself, say I'm offended by the fact that you will use a certain criteria to determine if I'm here undocumented based on possibly on the last name, based on an accent, based on the way I look." - Carlos Galindo, Arizona resident
"These criminal forces and these drug cartels from Mexico are constantly moving across their lands in the rural parts of Arizona and we're talking thousands of people a day. And they're moving drugs and humans and they have no regard for the ranchers, their property or any of their lives or their family's lives." - Patrick Bray, Arizona Cattleman's Association
"I think it's about securing our border. We've got some smugglers who are dangerous people."- Police Chief Joe Martinez, Kearny, Arizona
1. Where is Arizona? What other states and countries does it border?
2. What is an immigrant? Who in your family is or was an immigrant?
3. What does it mean to be in a country legally?
1. What do you think about the Arizona immigration law? Is it right? Why or why not?
2. How do you think the immigration issue in the U.S. should be addressed? Do you think it should be done at a state or federal level? Why?
3. What are your state's immigration laws? Do you know of any pending legislation that would change them? If so, do you agree with it?