Legislation focused on securing borders and expediting deportation, like Arizona’s SB 1070, has gained popularity. Known colloquially as the “show me your papers” law, SB1070 uses deputized state police to enforce immigration laws1. Since the passage of SB1070 in 2010, numerous states have implemented similar laws, while populations of undocumented immigrants remain stable or decline2. However, these types of laws have been challenged by organizations, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for the use of racial profiling and targeting minorities3. These laws fail to address “who” is undocumented in America. Recent studies have shown that the undocumented population is older, more established than commonly assumed, and part of families with documented, naturalized, or citizen members4. It is estimated that the Mexican-born population in America is increasingly older than in the past, with 42% over 35 years of age,5 meaning that those targeted by laws such as SB1070 are embedded in communities with family members who have resided in the United States for over ten years6. As cases against SB1070 demonstrate, law enforcement encounters difficulty in discerning between undocumented, documented, and citizen7. Changes in demographics combined with new legislation have led to the targeting of documented immigrants, resident aliens, and citizens.
1 What's Next for Arizona and 'Show Me Your Papers' Laws?, June 26, 2012, http://www.colorlines.com/articles/whats-next-arizona-and-show-me-your-papers-laws
2 Wessler, Seth Freed. 2011. “Bills Modeled After Arizona’s SB1070 Spread Through States.” Colorlines, Immigration. www.colorlines.com/content/bills-modeled-after-arizonas-sb-1070-spread-through-states
3 “Civil Liberties Group Says Arizona Law Enforcement Continues to Violate Constitutional Rights Under Discriminatory Law,” September 25, 2014, https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-files-first-lawsuit-challenging-officers-use-sb-1070-show-me-your-papers-law
4 Markon, Jerry. “Fewer immigrants are entering the U.S. illegally, and that’s changed the border security debate”. Washington Post. Politics. May 25, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/flow-of-illegal-immigration-slows-as-us-mexico-border-dynamics-evolve/2015/05/27/c5caf02c-006b-11e5-833c-a2de05b6b2a4_story.html
5 Baker, Brian and Nancy Rytina. “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2012” http://immigration.procon.org/sourcefiles/illegal-immigration-population-2012.pdf
6 Cohn, D’Vera, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Jens Manuel Krogstad, and Jeffrey S. Passel. “As Growth Stalls, Unauthorized Immigrant Population Becomes More Settled,” September 3, 2014, http://www.pewhispanic.org/2014/09/03/as-growth-stalls-unauthorized-immigrant-population-becomes-more-settled/
7 “Civil Liberties Group Says Arizona Law Enforcement Continues to Violate Constitutional Rights Under Discriminatory Law,” September 25, 2014, https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-files-first-lawsuit-challenging-officers-use-sb-1070-show-me-your-papers-law