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Arizona flash-point for Immigration Debate

25
Mar
2011

by in Immigration

Jay Stewart lives in the desert just outside of Phoenix Arizona. Stewart says that he carries a pistol on him at all times in order to ensure that his family is safe from smugglers who transport narcotics and smuggle humans through the desert close to his house. By contrast, Miguel Espinoza illegally crossed the U.S. – Mexico border almost 20 years ago in order to escape a Mexican Province completely controlled by drug cartels.

These two diverse individuals represent two growing trends in Arizona. The demographic composition of the state, a central front in the county’s heated immigration battle has changed so greatly within the last ten years that it is on track to become mostly Hispanic within 20 years.

The 2010 census revealed that over forty percent of Arizona residents under 18 were Hispanic. The same census also revealed that caucasians were suddenly a minority in that age group, at 41.6 percent, for the first time in any state in U.S. history. This shift in demographics has put Arizona in a position to be a “test case” for states having to deal with demographic trends as the country becomes more diverse and more Hispanic.

Arizona has, without a doubt, the U.S.’s most restrictive anti-illegal immigration policy. This led to mass protestors asserting that the State was using racial profiling after Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed it in law last year. The Arizona State Legislature also went so far as banning ethnic studies courses in schools and community colleges. Immigration lawyers in New Jersey and elsewhere have derided the new laws.

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