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Governor of Arizona rejects bill permitting police to detain migrants

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Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Police to Arrest Migrants

In a bold move on Monday, Governor Katie Hobbs of Arizona vetoed a controversial bill that would have granted state police the authority to arrest undocumented immigrants. This veto marked the first of the year from Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat who has been at odds with the Republican-controlled Legislature over a slew of contentious issues.

The veto comes amidst heightened border tensions as states struggle with an influx of migrants crossing the southern border. Governor Hobbs, although critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis, deemed the bill to be anti-immigrant and likely unconstitutional.

The proposed legislation, known as the Arizona Border Invasion Act, aimed to criminalize border crossings without authorization as a state misdemeanor, with harsher penalties for repeat offenders. It also would have empowered state law enforcement to detain migrants and judges to order deportations.

Governor Hobbs justified her veto by stating that the bill would not effectively secure the border, but rather place undue burdens on communities and law enforcement. She also raised concerns about its encroachment on the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration enforcement.

This bill, reminiscent of a similar Texas law currently embroiled in legal disputes, sparked a clash between state and federal authorities over immigration policy enforcement. The Supreme Court’s recent involvement in the Texas-Biden administration conflict signaled a potential legal showdown.

Arizona lawmakers, who passed the bill without Democratic support, justified their actions as a response to what they termed as a “border invasion” under President Biden’s administration. They argued that the surge in migrant crossings posed significant challenges to law enforcement and public safety.

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Contrary to the narrative pushed by supporters of the bill, federal officials and Democrats have refuted claims that migrants are responsible for the majority of fentanyl smuggling. Data shows that most fentanyl seizures occur at legal entry points and are linked to U.S. citizens.

Governor Hobbs’ veto drew praise from advocacy groups, with one describing the legislation as extreme and racist. The bill’s resemblance to past controversial immigration laws in Arizona raised concerns about civil liberties and racial profiling.

Overall, Governor Hobbs’ veto of the bill reflects a broader national debate on immigration policy and border security. The clash between state and federal authorities underscores the complexities and legal challenges in addressing immigration issues.

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Chats and reflections on the present moment.

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Lydia Polgreen

Credit…Will Heath/NBC, via Getty Images

It is a rare thing in our rapidly secularizing country to be confronted with piety and devotion in popular culture. So it was a surprise, and a balm, to watch a man who prays daily and talks openly about his devout faith storm a bastion of earthly godlessness: “Saturday Night Live.”

I am referring, of course, to the comedian Ramy Youssef, who hosted the show on what he described in his opening monologue as “an incredibly spiritual weekend,” noting Ramadan, Easter and the arrival of a new Beyoncé album.

“I’m doing the Ramadan one,” he quipped, to peals of laughter, unspooling a very funny bit about how loving Muslims are. Youssef has mined his experience as a believer among the profane in gentle standup specials and a namesake sitcom. His entire monologue glowed with a welcoming warmth — Muslims, he seemed to say: We’re just like you.

In a country that is supposedly obsessed with diversity and inclusion, it is remarkable how rare it is to hear from a practicing Muslim in America.

Surveys by the Institute for Policy and Understanding, a nonpartisan research organization focused on Muslim Americans, have consistently found that Muslims are the most likely group to report religious discrimination in the United States. According to a Pew survey conducted in 2021, 78 percent of Americans said that there was either a lot or some discrimination against Muslims in our society. Muslims are no more likely to commit crimes than members of any other group, but crimes in which Muslims are suspects get outsized media coverage, research has shown.

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It is no surprise, then, that Islamophobia is perhaps the most tolerated form of religious prejudice. Right now, Senate Republicans appear to have persuaded several Senate Democrats to vote against a Muslim judicial nominee after smearing him, with no evidence at all, as an antisemite.

Many of the skits that toyed with religion on “S.N.L.” on Saturday were funny — Ozempic for Ramadan! Genius. But part of me winced through them as well, because I saw in Youssef something that other members of minority groups have had to do to “earn” their place in the safety of the mainstream: the performance of normalcy, of being nonthreatening and sweet, the requirement to prove that your community belongs in America just like everyone else’s.

I loved Youssef’s monologue, in which he bravely pleaded, “Please, free the people of Palestine. And please, free the hostages. All of the hostages.”

“I am out of ideas,” Youssef declared toward the end of his monologue. “All I have is prayers.”

To which this nonbeliever can only say: Same, Ramy. Same.

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