By Andrey Fedyashin | VOR
If you travel to the U.S. state of Arizona get ready to hear ‘papers, please’ request from the local police after the state`s federal court ruled on September 19 that individuals can be stopped and checked for the immigration status.
In the U.S. a social security card or a driving license can be showed to the police as proofs of identity. Human rights organizations in the US have long been battling the move which they see as racially discriminatory and breaching the US Constitution.
Although bordering Mexico, Arizona is not the most popular destination for migrants from Latin America. Mexico is from where the US sees the largest number of illegal migrants. Other states which attract lots of migrants are California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York.
30% of the 6.5-million population in Arizona are Spanish-speaking, and facing regular immigration status checks is what they want least. Political analyst Alexei Chernyaev, expert in US and Latin America policies, draws a parallel between the US and Russia here.
“I see some similarities here, although the process of immigration control in the US is less corrupt than in Russia. That is why things are going to be put on the right track much easier in Arizona than in Moscow.”
The provision was enforced after two years of court-ordered delay. First the draft law was submitted by a Republican governor in 2010 and was immediately argued at the US Supreme Court as racially discriminatory. Later a ruling was made that the checking procedure itself did not violate anything and that the Arizona police should be given a chance to practice.
“Illegal migrants are a source of trouble to all countries, – says Valery Garbuzov, the deputy head of the Russian Institute for US and Canada Studies. – Illegal migrants pay no taxes. They are hired illegally, which means that their employers also pay nothing to social security and unemployment foundations. The US has always been tough about illegal migration.”
Nobody knows the exact number of illegal migrants in the US. The Department of Homeland Security says the number could stand at 11 million. The CIA suggests that the number is approaching 12.5 million.
The Arizona border patrol station insists that the number of illegal migrants ranges between 12 to 15 million. Some research centers name different figures: 7, 18 and even 20 million. The Grand Canyon state is not the first one in the US to toughen policies against illegal migration.
Similar procedures were earlier introduced in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. The only difference is that in these states you can be asked to show your ID only after you commit a major delinquency, while in Arizona you may now hear ‘papers, please’ after simply crossing a road on a red traffic light. Almost like in Moscow.