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Opinion: From Arizona’s Immigration Legacy to Trump

Image: Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Las Vegas, Day Ahead Of State's GOP Caucus
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the South Point Hotel & Casino on February 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Arizona is the birthplace of the Trump phenomenon.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then Governor Jan Brewer, and former state senator Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, all lovingly nurtured a babe born of anti-immigrant sentiment. Now that baby is all grown up and his name is Donald Trump.

Donald Trump burst onto the political scene last summer claiming that immigrants were rapists, drug dealers and all around bad people. Trump doesn’t limit his discourse to immigration but the issue has become the core of his political brand.

The upcoming primary in Arizona reminds us that Trump’s immigration rhetoric isn’t coming out of the blue. The most recent incarnation of anti-immigrant rhetoric targeted at Latinos stems from the 2010 Arizona law spearheaded by the then GOP governor and legislature. Senate bill 1070 sought to do exactly what the GOP presidential frontrunner is extolling – get rid of all “the illegals.”

RELATED: Latino Groups: Trump Rhetoric Inspiring Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Arizona’s Senate bill 1070 had various parts all aimed at driving out undocumented persons. There were a number of state penalties related to federal immigration law. Then there was the “show me your papers” provision where local and state law enforcement were required to act as immigration agents if an individual was suspected of illegally being in the country.

Anti-Trump Protesters Shut Down Arizona Road Before Rally 1:46

The unintended (or intended) consequences of racial profiling are not to be missed. There was a lot going on in this anti-immigrant omnibus bill but the bottom line was that the state wanted to make the enforcement climate so unbearable that immigrants would ultimately self-deport.

Republican-led copycat bills soon followed—Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah. And trailing these mega anti-immigrant bills, smaller-scale ones followed. In the wake of the Tea Party revolution anti-immigrant sentiment was red-hot.

RELATED: Supreme Court's Final Say on Immigration Could Impact Latino Vote

The streak of anti-immigrant legislation started to cool in 2012 in wait of the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 decision. That summer the core components of SB1070 were struck down. However the “show me your papers” provision was upheld in that a person could be asked for resident documentation during a lawful stop.

Arizona kicked off a bold anti-immigrant rhetoric which tamped down to an inside voice after the Supreme Court decision. Today, Trump has blasted the anti-immigrant volume back up to 11.

Sheriff Arpaio and Governor Brewer are both back in the national spotlight after having endorsed Trump. And it now looks like state level anti-immigrant legislation is getting a second wind with a visible uptick of immigration bills since Trump announced his candidacy.

RELATED: Latino Groups: Trump Rhetoric Inspiring Anti-Immigrant State Legislation

The resurgence of Trump’s anti-immigration platform was inevitable. Trump, just as Arizona’s SB 1070 is the result of our elected officials not passing comprehensive immigration reform. Until a holistic solution is found to our broken immigration system we will continue to see the offspring of Arizona’s SB 1070 long after Trump has come and gone.

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