Arizona just passed a new, sweeping immigration law. The law requires state and local police to determine the status of people if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are undocumented immigrants and to arrest people who are unable to provide documentation proving they are in the country legally.
As social work leaders, we are ethically mandated to consider the potential civil and human rights violations of laws such as this. What does it mean when we give police the power to stop anyone they wish to consider as possibly an undocumented person? Does this mean all citizens of Arizon must now carry their birth certificate with them at all times? As a Latina and a U.S. citizen, does this mean if I visit Arizona I must carry my birth certificate or risk arrest?
For me personally there is a sense of the totally unreal about this...Remember those old WWII movies? The bad guys would stop innocents on the streets, snarling "Show me your papers" and we could feel smug and secure know that this would never happen to us in the U.S. Well, not any more.
As social work leaders, we are ethically mandated to consider these things, and to challenge social injustice. We are mandated to act.