I recently moved from Colorado to Arizona. We moved quite literally two weeks before the signing of the new immigration law. I also work in advertising, as such I have the opportunity to speak to quite a large number of Arizonian business owners, employees and patrons. After listening and speaking with these people over the past weeks, I've realized that most of the residents here support the bill, admittedly my perspective is skewed, I live near Prescott, AZ and the majority of people here are white, old, and pissed. However, in spite of the vitriol (and occasional bumper sticker of Obama pissing on the constitution notwithstanding)I've find a handful of points worth mentioning.
1: Arizona has 370 miles of border shared with Mexico, making in the second longest border behind Texas. For a number of years the state legislature has attempted to get the INS to take a stronger stance against illegal immigration locally, and has been rebuffed frequently.
2: There are an estimated 430,000 illegal immigrants in the state. When you take the 200 census numbers (5,100,000) it accounts for a SIGNIFICANT number of the people living in the state. While most people here believe that crime rates are increasing due to drug cartels, crime for the most part has stayed level and it seems that public opinion is largely dependent on the next big media story. (For example, a rancher near Yuma was killed recently by a group of drug runners crossing the border.)
3: As the economy has tanked, as it usual for people living in stressful times, people are turning to the bogeyman of "OH NOEZ TEH ILLEGLEZ!!" Turning public opinion against people here illegally. To be fair, it seems that justice isn't being served when people buying and selling identification, with little to no fear of INS or local police can flaunt their criminality by committing crimes and literally disappearing only to pick up another name. Stories of illegals making a joke of our legal system are rampant.
Bottom line, people are scared, and pissed.
FWIW, I've got my own set of opinions on the matter. Personally, I could care less if you're here illegally, as long as you are willing to do a MINIMUM set of requirements. You need to get a job, working whatever hours are necessary to support your family. You absolutely are disqualified from government assistance, I know this is heartless to an extent, but as in any country, our duty is to the citizens of our country first, and everyone else second. If you choose to come into the country illegally, or overstay your visa, what-have-you, you abdicate your rights to use government subsidies to support yourself. You NEED to learn the predominant language, which is English; refusing the put the effort forward to learn the language and use it commonly is unacceptable. Remember, you are here illegally, we are not required to cater to you. Lastly, Coming To America (remember that movie? Eddie Murphy, whatta kick!) is normally done to gain a piece of the American Dream(tm). The American Dream(tm) was founded on the backs of people willing to work harder, take more risks, and persevere in the face of adversity, that attitude is expected and required of you.
Obviously not all of this is reasonable to expect, but in light of my personal feelings on the matter. I'm willing to put my tentative support behind the immigration bill as long as it is followed in the manner that it is written. If the people screaming about racism and profiling end up being correct, then by all means, repeal the law, and start over. However, I would agree that something needs to be done, and sadly, it looks to be too far but I'm willing to give it a chance.