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2010-04-14 Home Front: Culture Wars
Arizona passes strict illegal immigration act
Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday approved what foes and supporters agree is the toughest measure in the country against illegal immigrants, directing local police to determine whether people are in the country legally. The measure, long sought by opponents of illegal immigration, passed 35 to 21 in the state House of Representatives.

The state Senate passed a similar measure earlier this year, and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to sign the bill.

The bill's author, State Sen. Russell Pearce, said it simply "takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement and lets them do their job."

But police were deeply divided on the matter, with police unions backing it but the state police chief's association opposing the bill, contending it could erode trust with immigrants who could be potential witnesses.

Immigrant rights groups were as expected horrified, and contended that Arizona would be transformed into a police state.

"It's beyond the pale," said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. "It appears to mandate racial profiling."

The bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person's immigration status.

Currently, officers can inquire about someone's immigration status only if the person is a suspect in another crime. The bill allows officers to avoid the immigration issue if it would be impractical or hinder another investigation.

Citizens can sue to compel police agencies to comply with the law, and no city or agency can formulate a policy directing its workers to ignore the law -- a provision that advocates say prevents so-called sanctuary orders that police not inquire about people's immigration status.

The bill cements the position of Arizona, whose border with Mexico is the most popular point of entry for illegal immigrants into this country, as the state most aggressively using its own laws to fight illegal immigration. In 2006 the state passed a law that would dissolve companies with a pattern of hiring illegal immigrants. Last year it made it a crime for a government worker to give improper benefits to an illegal immigrant.

Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank that advocates tougher immigration enforcement, said the legislation was a logical extension of the state's previous enforcement efforts. "It makes sense that they would be the first to do it since they're ground zero for illegal immigration," he said.

Krikorian added that he doubted the law would be used much. "Obviously, their prosecutors aren't going to go out and prosecute every illegal alien," he said. "It gives police and prosecutors another tool should they need it."

Opponents, however, raised the specter of officers untrained in immigration law being required to determine who is in the country legally. They noted that though the bill says race cannot solely be used to form a suspicion about a person's legality, it implicitly allows it to be a factor.

"A lot of U.S. citizens are going to be swept up in the application of this law for something as simple as having an accent and leaving their wallet at home," said Alessandra Soler Meetze, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.

The ACLU and other groups have vowed to sue to block the bill from taking effect should Brewer sign it. They note that a federal court struck down a New Hampshire law in 2005 that said illegal immigrants were trespassing, declaring that only the federal government has the authority to enforce immigration. Another provision of the Arizona law, which makes day laborers illegal, violates the 1st Amendment, critics contend.
Posted by Steve White 2010-04-14 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6460 views ]  Top

#1 Expect this to be upheld in the state court, then struck down in the appeals court, then ignored by the supreme court.

We are soooo screwed.
Posted by DarthVader 2010-04-14 00:04||   2010-04-14 00:04|| Front Page Top

#2 Another provision of the Arizona law, which makes day laborers illegal, violates the 1st Amendment, critics contend.

So, busting street walkers is violating their 1st Amendment rights? Nice try. It is the power of the government, local, state, and national to regulate commerce. This is management of commerce.
Posted by Procopius2k 2010-04-14 07:25||   2010-04-14 07:25|| Front Page Top

#3 There are some questionable parts to the new law, both from a functional point of view, and because they open it up to attack during appeal.

First of all, it requires city, county and State employees to report *suspected* illegals they come in contact with. This comes across as a cringe-worthy "everyone a policeman" clause. Government workers could get up to 4 months in jail for not reporting.

Oddly enough, it *exempts* emergency workers, including firemen, policemen and ER personnel from reporting. And it also exempts churches from providing transportation or other services to illegals.

Second, failure to produce documents is not evidence, of course, even though the law requires foreigners of all kinds to carry documents.

This means that workers required to report, cannot detain, just notify police, even though the suspected illegal is long gone. This is a bizarre catch-22, a "requirement to report suspicion" based on little or no evidence, or else.

The Arizona Supreme Court weighed in, even before the law was passed, finding against a lawsuit by the group organization of AZ cities and towns, who are concerned that they are going to take the hit for this, financially and legally.
Posted by  Anonymoose 2010-04-14 10:19||   2010-04-14 10:19|| Front Page Top

#4 Another provision of the Arizona law, which makes day laborers illegal, violates the 1st Amendment, critics contend.

So the 1st doesn't protect mens-only clubs, but it does protect day laborers?
Posted by Rob Crawford 2010-04-14 10:19||   2010-04-14 10:19|| Front Page Top

12:25 magpie
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