Arizona Law Normalizes Racial and Ethnic Profiling

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's SB 1070, which allows law enforcement officials to stop, question, detain and report individuals based on suspicion of undocumented status, establishes a dangerous precedent in normalizing racial and ethnic profiling and does little to fix our broken immigration system.

As a Japanese American who spent part of my childhood in an internment camp, I know all too well the effects of scapegoating and racial profiling. I suffered through what happens when governments pass policies based on fear and misguided attempts at law and order.

This law is un-American as it unjustly targets communities of color, in particular immigrant communities, which have been critical to the economic growth of our country throughout our nation's history.

The law's enactment also demonstrates the urgent political and moral imperative for the federal government to act now on comprehensive immigration reform.

Comprehensive immigration reform is particularly important for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. There are currently 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants who contribute to our communities and economy everyday and who could contribute more if they were legalized. Millions of families are separated for years, sometimes decades, waiting in the backlogs of our broken family visa system.

Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform, and we must do it now to avoid a patchwork of state measures that do not fundamentally fix our country's broken immigration system, and that will lead to profiling and discrimination in our communities.

As legislators, we have the responsibility to nurture a united America, one that is based on respect for the richness of our diversity, not one that is divided based on our worst fears.

Congressman Michael Honda is chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.