Jonette Christian’s May 7 column, (“Arizona immigration statute affects only lawbreakers,”) was way off base.

It’s not every day that the NBA and Major League Baseball join in protesting a law on civil rights grounds, but both NBA and MLB representatives have denounced Arizona’s racial profiling law. Maybe that’s because both baseball and basketball represent what’s best about America: It doesn’t matter who you are, the color of your skin, or where you come from — if you work hard, you can be successful.

Arizona’s new law is a direct contradiction of these fundamental American values. It effectively turns Arizona into a police state. “Your papers, please,” is a line we associate with Nazi Germany or former Communist bloc countries. In America, we have always valued our freedom, including freedom from government interference in our private lives. Now, in Arizona, you must have your papers on you at all times, to produce in case you are stopped by a member of law enforcement and asked about your immigration status.

What does a United States citizen look like? The law encourages the racial profiling of Latinos and others presumed to be immigrants in blatant disregard of America’s most fundamental values of fairness and equality. Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and the Sheriff’s Department in Maricopa County, Arizona, have routinely stopped, harassed and even arrested U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are Latino even when they provided legal Arizona driver licenses.

Arizona’s approach must stop in Arizona. Our families, like hundreds of thousands of immigrant families, came to America in search of a better life. That’s why engraved on the Statue of Liberty are the famous lines, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Many of us descend from immigrants. We are diverse in ancestry but united in common values of fairness and freedom.


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