Joseph Robinson says the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in the country hit his homestate like a wicked storm, dramatically altering Arizona's landscape.
"This is the monster of monsoons," the Mesa, Ariz., resident said. "This has escalated way beyond belief. I am disappointed with the people from both sides of the issue who have lost their sanity. It is a catastrophe."
Robinson and scores of msnbc.com readers shared their personal stories from Arizona since the immigration bill. Many applauded Gov. Jan Brewer for signing the legislation, saying Arizona was headed in the right direction. Others weren't so sure, expressing outrage over the bill's intent to ID and prosecute illegal immigrants.
"I have tears in my eyes. I am frightened," said Sandy Carey, who now lives in Sacramento, Calif. "I am saddened beyond words to say that the state I was born in and raised in has taken a serious wrong turn. ... But, I am invigorated by this as well. I'm now on a mission to make people aware, to get them involved and engaged in this issue."
Robinson, who was born in Canada, said there was one solution to the Arizona issue: "If I had to stand in line to be a U.S. citizen, so should everyone else."
Other reader responses include:
Being a Latino, I'm used to being asked by law enforcement whether I'm legal in the country or not. I'm used to people assuming I am illegal just because I have an accent. I'm also used to seeing Canadians work illegally and not be bothered because they're white. — Daniel Rivas, Phoenix, Ariz.
I live in Arizona with my husband and two young daughters. Many times we have been awakened from a dead sleep in the middle of the night by illegals pounding on our door demanding food and water. It is a very scary position to be in. Fortunately, my husband has always been home, but there may come a time when he is not. We live in a rural area where many illegals travel through and our house was broken into and virtually cleaned out by illegals who had a camp on the outskirts of town. The problem needs to be addressed — as a hard working legal resident I resent having to pay taxes to educate illegal residents. There is a network for illegal residents where they get free healthcare while I can barely afford healthcare let alone insurance. If other states want illegals let them live there, but leave Arizona to manage the problem in accordance with the majority of legal resident's wishes. — Karen Bell, Casa Grande, Ariz.
I'm a retired teacher. My first thought on SB1070 was: 'What are the schools going to do?' How are police in the high schools supposed to respond? Are they going to arrest students in the hallway, stop and ask for their papers? Students will be afraid to go to school. Arizona is not known for its intelligent politicians or for being a caring people — its just known for being hot and dry and now, devoid of humanity and reason. — Darlene Swaim, Mesa, Ariz.
For those of you who think the police state mentality that already exists along the border should be expanded into the heartland, I invite you to come and live here but you have to do it with a brown skin. Come and talk to the legal and/or hardworking Hispanic families and the Native American families about their experience of being caught up in this craziness. I am not against solutions to problems and I am not saying that illegal immigration is not a problem, but this is a stupid solution. It violates the civil rights of American citizens like myself and creates a hostile environment. It creates an environment of fear and distrust. Is that what you want? — John Bird, Tucson, Ariz.
Most illegals come to the United States via Arizona. You would think that the other 49 states would plead for us to step up and stop the flow of illegals instead of boycotting. You don't see us boycotting these states over some of their laws that they use to protect their citizens. ... Sometimes it is easy to pass judgement from a distance. Come here and see what we see, hear what we hear. Until you have had to feel afraid to even drive in an area of your own town, you need to keep your opinions to yourself. — Cindy Wiener, Cave Creek, Ariz.
I don't understand why so many people are against and boycotting this law. It is not racist, only practical. It is the only thing Arizona could do to keep the illegal immigrants to a minimum. For all the states and cities boycotting Arizona, would you allow illegal immigrants from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, Afghanistan etc.. to come into the U.S. without going through the proper paperwork to know they are here? What is the difference? Arizona only wants them to at least get the proper paperwork to be living and working in this country the same as everyone else. — D. Lewis, Prescott, Ariz.
I love the new law. I live in an agricultural area and we are flooded with illegal immigrants, there are several living in my neighborhood. They drive the big fancy cars and trucks and send their children to our schools, use our emergency room as their personal doctor's office (without paying a penny) and, since they are paid in cash (under the table), they pay no taxes. This is abominable. I applaud the legislature for getting this right. Being here illegally is a crime (hence the word "illegal"). This law is only common sense. If we reside in another country, we need to keep our papers with us at all times, what's the difference? — Dorothy Burch, Wilcox. Ariz.
This is not a story, but more of an observation from a Hispanic born in this country and now living in Phoenix. This new law that is to take effect soon is simply a joke. ... Problem is, police in Phoenix are already combing the streets on the most predominantly Hispanic parts of town. That's a persecution, not a state law. Police aren't stopping people on the ritzy sides of town like Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, etc. Therefore, are targeting a specific ethnicity to enforce this law. There is Asian, African, Arabian and European people here in this city and none of them are subject to this law simply because they don't fit the bill as 'suspicious' but very well could be here illegally. — Juan Alxit, Phoenix, Ariz.
No one who is legally here has anything to fear. Everyone has to produce ID when requested. Traffic stops. Medical care. Cashing a check. It's nothing new and hardly difficult. If they leave home without their ID, that's their choice and they take the consequences for it. If the federal government was doing its job, we would not have had to do it for them. — C. Wright, Tucson, Ariz.