Article by Victor Landa, originally posted on

[Photo by Mexicanos Sin Fronteras]

Days after the U. S. Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the State of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, most of what we’re reading in the media is a convincing argument that the justices will uphold key parts of SB1070. There are folks who turn a living out of divining Supreme Court outcomes, dissecting their questions and second-guessing their intent. That leaves the rest of us second-guessing their second-guesses.

By that standard, forgive me if I start feeling a little paranoid. It looks like, come June, local and state police will be granted the authority to ask people to prove their citizenship or residency status –  and I’m going to assume that not everyone will be asked, just those (of us) who happen to look like we might be “not from here.”

So, let’s look at the possible consequences.

I see two. One practical, the other political. On the practical side, there will be a change for some of us whenever we happen to be stopped by the police. It may become more frequent because police will now have wider jurisdiction and more excuses to suspect people. And the process may become more lengthy, because along with asking for license and registration, the cop will toss the “show me your papers” question as well.

On the political side, this doesn’t bode well for the GOP. It’s a simple matter of guilt by association, or bad karma. The “show me your papers” law that seems to be headed for a Supreme Court green light will make most Latinos in the U. S. suspects by association. But the law will also make Republican politicians guilty of anti-Latino sentiment by association. It’s a win-lose situation for the GOP.

My guess is that they don’t see it, yet. That’s because the proponents of the law see it as a simple legal-vs-illegal thing – a big bold black line, and you’re either on one side or the other, period. Most Latinos see themselves in a huge area colored in a hue of gray that the proponent’s awareness doesn’t register. People like Russell Pearce and Kris Kobach will never be asked for their papers, and that’s the point they don’t see.

There is this, though: The issues I bring up have to do with racial profiling, and that wasn’t under consideration before the Supreme Court. NewsTaco reader Krystal Gómez brought it to our attention on our FaceBook page –
It’s only been two days, so they’re still bouncing inside their message bubble, giddy at the prospect of winning an immigration battle. Their next bet, if I were them, would be to hope Latinos don’t vote come November. And that’s still up for second-guessing.

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