Colombian pop star Shakira said Thursday that a controversial new law introduced in the U.S. state of Arizona that requires immigrants to carry documents verifying their status “attacks the human and civil rights of Latinos,” reports El Espectador.
At a press conference attended by the Colombian singer and the mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, who is an outspoken opponent of the legislation, Shakira spoke out against the state law SB1070 and expressed her solidarity with the immigrant community.
“I’m here to lend my voice and give my support to the Latino community, to express my open and public opposition to this law,” said the singer, during the press conference held in Phoenix.
Shakira said that, being Latina herself, she believes strongly in equal opportunities for all, and expressed her concern at the potential consequences of this law for Hispanic families in Arizona.
“I’m sure,” said Shakira, “that if this law takes effect many families will be deprived of access to the most basic and vital resources offered by the government, like public hospitals, food programs and child care, amongst others.”
Although the singer recognized that she is not an “expert” on the U.S. constitution, she said that the law should protect all human beings living in the country.
“With or without documents, we are all people, I think that the greatness of this country forged the dreams of these immigrants, we cannot permit that the dreams of Latin people are crushed.”
During her visit to Phoenix, Shakira also met with young people and families who may be directly affected by the new state law. The Colombian singer could not hold back tears when hearing the story of a young woman who had been forced to leave Mexico where she and her family were victims of racial discrimination.
“It’s a misconception to think that Latinos take away jobs from U.S. citizens, because the Latino immigrant for decades has created growth and wealth for this country, the immigrant has in many ways prevented many businesses from this country from going to other countries like China,” Shakira argued, concluding that “This bill, unfortunately, will create more division, more resentment and is a discriminatory law, that is why I’m here to oppose it.”
The law, introduced last Friday by Arizona governor Jan Brewer and expected to take effect in late July or early August, is the first in the U.S. to criminalize immigrants not carrying documentation. Under the law, police officers will be required to question people regarding their status in the country if there is suspicion that they may be illegal.