Dear Editor: The past few days, we as a nation have seen controversy rise in the state of Arizona over its new law, requiring law enforcement agents to ask for identification papers of those they suspect to be illegal immigrants. This seems to be focused more towards illegal Mexican aliens, since Arizona does border Mexico, and while most of us think of Mexicans when we hear “illegal immigrants,” we need to remember that illegal aliens come from all corners of the globe, be it Mexico, China and many other countries. But while we need to remember that this law is designed to protect Americans, there is another side to the issue.
According to Free The Slaves, a D.C.-based world-wide abolition NPO, between 14,500 to 17,000 people are smuggled or trafficked into America annually to be used as slaves. They are promised work or a chance to further their education, or their families are promise d pay for letting them come over to America. But when they get here they find out that they have been fooled and are going to be used as a source of income for their “employers” while receiving little to no income for themselves. They are powerless because they are brought here illegally. If they try to get the law involved to make sure they are paid, their “employers” threaten to turn the table and out them as illegal, beating them, or threatening their families.
I personally see the potential in the Arizona law to help this situation. If a slave is discovered through this process, then it could draw the attention of local law enforcements to the situation and hopefully bring human smugglers and traffickers to justice. If there is a law allowing police to check into any suspicious activities, then there is a higher chance of the slaves being sent home and the issue resolved. And although modern day traffickers simply provide false documents, direct contact with police officers would allow slaves to bring their treatment to light. Because, as mentioned before, Arizona borders Mexico, it provides plenty of chances for Mexicans to be brought in for “cheap labor.”
This is why I wish to voice my support for this law, both as an Arizona state law, and as (an already) national law.