Arizona's new immigration law, which gives police the right to question people about their immigration status based upon "reasonable suspicion," is creating a nationwide climate of hatred and fear. The law could also embolden those with bigotry in their hearts to commit acts of violence. Already several acts of violence have been committed locally against Hispanics. Anyone who "looks the part" is now at risk of being detained, assaulted or even murdered for the crime of appearing to be a potential "unauthorized immigrant." This rings ominously in the memories of those who have faced discrimination and hatred in Germany, Russia, Serbia, Rwanda — and even here at home.
It is time for Maryland's political, religious and social justice leaders to denounce Arizona's unjust law — a law similar in scope to one some politicians are working to pass in our own state. We must beat back the bigotry, hatred, fear and lawlessness that have blatantly exploded in our communities. And most of all, we must teach our children tolerance for the individual, no matter the color, race or creed.
It is time for a humane and comprehensive national immigration policy. It is time to stand up to hatred.
Arthur C. Abramson and Javier Bustamante, Baltimore
The writers are, respectively, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council and chairman of Hispanic Jewish Dialogue.