Editor's Note: Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce was the originator of the draft legislation that later became Arizona SB 1070, not the Corrections Corporation of America, as the author originally suggested. CCA did have a representative at the ALEC meeting where model legislation similar to 1070 was drafted, but it did not write the language.
With the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration laws, a recent poll by CBS News showed that in a nationwide survey of 976 adults the majority thought Arizona’s immigration laws were “about right.” In the poll, 52% of Americans thought the law was right while 11% thought the law did not go far enough. These statistics leave a clear minority of 33% of people that do not support Arizona’s immigration law. That said, this sample size is too small to portray an accurate view of how Americans feel about Arizona’s immigration laws – SB 1070 and HB 2162.
SB 1070 is the law implemented in 2010 to allow police officers to request immigration documentation if a person is searched for any other criminal offence. This law caused outrage and was criticized as racial profiling. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R)passed HB 2162 that forbid police officers from pulling any suspected illegal immigrant over for “traffic” violations or other offense based on race, ethnicity, or nationality.
The private prison company, Correction Corporation of America (CCA) may have tried to influence Americans to support strict immigration laws to receive government funds by housing detained illegal immigrants. To get the maximum number of detained illegal immigrants, Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce (R) passed SB 1070 and HB 2162.*
CCA promised to pay lobbyist to support anyone voting for SB 1070 and HB 2162 if Sen. Pearce proposed the laws, and Pearce accepted. These laws – SB 1070 and HB 2162 – would then increase the number of illegal immigrants detained through racial profiling because the laws allow police officers to detain almost any Latinos.
In the end, it was not the government that wanted to address the immigration issue. It was the government that wanted political support. It just so happened that some Americans thought that these strict laws would solve illegal immigration when they are mainly designed to profit private prisons.