The first thing that strikes a recently arrived visitor to Arizona is the large number of traffic patrol cars on the highway. Barely a mile goes by without seeing some unfortunate pulled over to the side of the road, police lights flashing, car doors opened, sometimes a small crowd of people standing around looking worried.
When I asked a friend, a resident of Arizona, what gives, he laughed.
“It’s a new Arizona crime wave,” he said. “It’s called ‘driving while Hispanic.’”
Most of Arizona’s tough immigration law, SB 1070, was just struck down by the Supreme Court. State officials can no longer arrest or deport illegal immigrants — this, said the court, is the purview of the federal government. Arizona cannot impose harsher penalties for failing to register, for seeking employment, and a few other infractions, than Washington has designated.