Immigration Latinos Rep. Pic
According to a new Gallup poll published on Tuesday, an increasingly growing number of Americans consider immigration to be the most important problem facing the country Greg Bulla/Unsplash.

Arizona Republicans are pushing a bill that would allow people to legally kill others accused of trespassing or attempting to trespass on their property. This would include migrants who are oftentimes caught crossing into the U.S. through ranches that sit at the border with Mexico.

The law expands existing doctrine, as the state already allows the use of deadly force against home intruders if considered necessary. It would now include a broader concept of "premises," encompassing occupied or unoccupied structures.

The possibility of such an incident and its legal ramifications are at the forefront of the conversation not only because of the wider context, which has seen immigration vault to the top of the political agenda, but also following a concrete event.

Axios reported that an Arizona rancher, George Alan Kelly, has been accused of killing a migrant, Gabriel Cuen Buitimea, who was walking through his 170-acre property last year. As his trial has been set for March 21, state Republican Representative Justin Heap told the Arizona Mirror that the bill seeks to close a loophole by which migrants have entered the U.S.

According to a new Gallup poll published on Tuesday, an increasingly growing number of Americans consider immigration to be the most important problem facing the country, above the government and the economy.

Overall, 28% of respondents said that was the case in February, an increase of eight percentage points compared to the previous month. It has surpassed the government (20%) and the combination of the "economy in general" (12%) and inflation (11%), over this time period.

Gallup noted that it is the first time in about five years that immigration ranks above all other issues included in the poll. The last time was in 2019, "when there was a surge of attempted border crossings by Central American migrants."

Americans' top concerns
Immigration is at the top for the first time in five years Gallup

Arizona is at the centerstage of current immigration dynamics, having become the state with the most migrant apprehensions in fiscal year 2024, which started in October 2023.

Tucson is the busiest area within the state. Overall, authorities have arrested a little over quarter million people during these past four months, the most of any region patrolled by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the southwest region of the country (between Texas and California).

This is not the first state bill raising eyebrows given its potential targeting of migrants. In January, a state representative from Oklahome apologized after introducing a bill that would declare terrorists all Hispanics who are gang members and convicted of a gang-related crime.

Concretely, the bill introduced by Republican Justin Humphrey said that any person of "Hispanic descent living within the state of Oklahoma" who is a gang member and has been convicted of "gang-related offenses" would be deemed a terrorist.

Following the controversy, Humphrey told NBC News that he intended to focus on ""those people who are here illegally and who are coming across the border and trying to do harm to America and to Oklahoma." In consequence, he added, the language will be altered and focus on "undocumented" people.

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