Tag: sb 1070

Arizona Backs Down. Sorta Kinda.

Battered by the media tsunami caused by Arizona’s “show us your papers” law and the resulting lawsuits and threats of boycotts, Arizona’s legislature today sought cover by seeking to moderate provisions of SB 1070.  Are these real changes or are they just cosmetic changes and an effort to save face?  It’s probably some of each.  Put another way, those who oppose the law can know that their outrage is being heard and felt.  But the changes don’t eliminate the problem, they just provide better cover for it.

The Arizona Daily Star reports:

– State lawmakers voted late Thursday to repeal one of the more controversial provisions from the new law aimed at illegal immigration….

HB 2162, approved by the House and Senate, changes the law to specify that when deciding whom to question about immigration status, police may not use race, ethnicity or national origin as a factor.

That is a significant change from SB 1070 as it was approved by lawmakers and signed less than a week ago by Gov. Jan Brewer. That version of the law permits police to consider any of those factors when deciding if there is “reasonable suspicion” someone is not in this country legally, as long as it is not the only reason for investigating further.

There’s more, of course:

As originally approved, SB 1070 requires police to determine the immigration status of those with whom they have “lawful contact” if there is reasonable suspicion the person is not here legally.

That “reasonable suspicion” language remains. But the language about “contact” is replaced with a reference to “stop, detention or arrest.” Paul Senseman, the governor’s spokesman, said the changes effectively reduce checking immigration status to “secondary enforcement.”

“There have to be other steps, such as another law being broken first,” he said, before an officer could, with reasonable suspicion, inquire if a person is a citizen or legal resident.

He compared it to Arizona’s seat-belt laws: Police cannot stop a motorist solely because the person is unbuckled. But officers can issue a ticket for failing to buckle up if the driver is stopped for some other reason.

Join me in Nogales.

Arizona: All Hail The Emerging Police State

Arizona has apparently decided to use its police force as an instrument to oppress and harass Mexican appearing people within its borders.  And, as you might expect from a police state, it is doing so at the expense of protecting citizens and diverting law enforcement from its traditional functions, enforcing the penal laws.

Linda Greenhouse, who usually writes about the Supreme Court for the New York Times, had an op-ed yesterday, “Breathing While Undocumented,” that captures Arizona as the emerging police state it truly is:

What would Arizona’s revered libertarian icon, Barry Goldwater, say about a law that requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from any person with whom they have made “any lawful contact” and about whom they have “reasonable suspicion” that “the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?” Wasn’t the system of internal passports one of the most distasteful features of life in the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa?

And in case the phrase “lawful contact” makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. “A person is guilty of trespassing,” the law provides, by being “present on any public or private land in this state” while lacking authorization to be in the United States – a new crime of breathing while undocumented. The intent, according to the State Legislature, is “attrition through enforcement.”

The rest of the op-ed is definitely worth reading.  But there’s another point that deserves to be made about the Arizona statute.