Thursday, April 29, 2010


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Arizona Immigration Law

Earlier this week, Arizona enacted a very strict immigration law, which makes failure to carry immigration documents a state crime and allows local and state police broad authority to stop suspected immigrants and examine those documents.

Is this a good idea? I will hang up and listen, and then chime in later.

It might be ok if it wasn't almost 100% guaranteed to result in the targeting of Hispanics. I'd be surprised if any white people get asked to prove their legal status. Also, it's ridiculous to have local law enforcement attempting to enforce federal immigration law, which rivals the tax code in its complexity.

So no, I think it's a terrible idea. While it might not be unconstitutional, it's almost certain to result in racial profiling and abuse.
I think it is a good idea. Yes, there will be racial profiling. That is a given. But, it will be an effective measure. I am sure many people of Hispanic origin will be asked to prove their citizenship. It will be an inconvenience but I would imagine a very short-lived one if they have the necessary documentation, i.e. a driver's license. I liken it to the "pain in the a**" we have to deal with at airports. No, it is not fun, but it is necessary to accomplish the goal(s).

What do you mean by "effective measure" exactly? Effective at what? Reducing the number of illegal immigrants? Not likely, since local immigration officials can't deport, and deportation is such an expensive measure (when I was in immigration it was something like $12,000/person), not to mention extremely time- and resource-intensive, two things governments already compete for. What it almost certainly will do, however, is make Hispanics, both legal and illegal, afraid to contact the police for fear of dealing with this. Having a portion of the population afraid of law enforcement is a detriment to society, since that makes them an easy target for crime, particularly immigrants who are often paid in cash and do not have bank accounts. Also, your airport analogy might be apt, but it has the same problems- people are treated like criminals and there's no tangible benefit as a result (do you really feel safer because of all the crap you have to do at the airport? really?). While I don't support illegal immigration, I also don't support arbitrary profiling with no articulated goals and the almost guaranteed potential for abuse.
I take issue with the law for several reasons, not the least of which is the specious rationale proffered for passing it. The proponents of the bill claim it is necessary to prevent the drain on state resources caused by illegal immigrants. This is a false premise, as the overwhelming majority of Arizona's revenue comes from sales tax and property tax. Illegal immigrants are clearly contributing to both of those, whether it be directly or thorough the slum lords they rent from.

Here's the biggest problem that I have with the new law: No illegal immigrant will ever want to call the police to report a crime. No illegal immigrant will want to come forward as a witness to a crime. Will the teenage victim of rape, who happens to be illegal--and who made no choice of her own to live in Arizona, come forward with her report knowing that the officer will be required to ask for the proof of citizenship that she can't provide? Will the illegal immigrant who witnesses a violent crime leave the scene when officers arrive or come forward to the police?

This law will not even come close to curing the illegal immigration issues. Knowing this, we have to ask an important public policy question: Which is worse for Arizona? 1) Maintaining the status quo that gives illegal immigrants only a slightly greater chance of keeping their status undiscovered; or 2) creating a society in which criminals can have free reign on an entire demographic of people with little fear of prosecution.

I think the the second option is far worse.

By the way, a person recently responded to this opinion by claiming that illegal immigrants have no right to complain about being the victims of crimes in Arizona. It left me speechless.
Um, I think the TOPIC is a great idea because I recommended it...

Osler's new assistant

To reply to the actual topic, I think it'll humiliate and offend a great many people for no reason other than to show bigotry is far from dead. Yes, illegal immigrants are a concern; however, we shouldn't subject those legally in the country to the embarrassment. Not only do I see this as a concern for those legally in the country because of being stereotyped, this seems to be a way to advance police investigation without even meeting the constitutional minimums. This could take pretextual stops to an even greater degree of abuse.

I totally agree with AZ about the impact this may have on victims of crimes.

Illegal immigrants will get in no matter what, why should we take such an approach when the costs are so great? Rather than fixing a problem, we'll have an embittered set of people that feels the government can't be trusted. A lack of trust with regard to police is not a new thing among those that traditionally are victims of the abuse, there is no need to just ensure that more generations feel the law is there to harass and not protect.
The bill was first drafted by a eugenics/white supremacist lobbyist group. Gullible "tough on immigration" lawmakers jumped on board. People on both the far right and far left are reacting with shock and horror.

Most of you don't live on the border. I could walk to Mexico from work. I'm married to a woman with dual citizenship in the US and Mexico. I've seen how broken our system is first hand. And now we've criminalized walking around without proof of citizenship? Yikes.

This is a bad law; what immigration reform needs is a better system whereby productive residents, no matter their status, can enter in to legal proceedings to change that status. As it sits right now, the legal channels are backlogged, overly bureaucratic, and tailored to support nationalist preferences.
A question for the lawyers:

Is there any truth to the assertion that the AZ law is merely concurrent with federal law and is mostly an attempt to accelerate (or resuscitate) federal enforcement of already existing but mostly ignored federal immigration law?
There is no doubt that the US needs to pick up the pace with regard to immigration reform in whatever form it may ultimtely take. But do the local cops really have time to stop people and ask for their papers unless they are making routine traffic stops for speeding, running red lights, cell phone misdeeds, seat belt laws, etc...

AZ makes all valid points on many of the pitfalls of this law. I wish you much luck.

I also suspect there will be an increase in illegal documentation sales as a result of this. Another way to exploit people.
This is pretty much unequivocally bad, for all the reasons laid out above.

The only way to muddle this a bit is something I heard (can't remember the source, but maybe NPR?): federal funds for fighting illegal immigration go disproportionately (or wholly?) to CA and TX, so illegal immigrants have turned to AZ as a primary site of entry. Can anyone corroborate this? It doesn't, of course, explain why NM doesn't feel the same problems, except that it's generally more liberal than AZ (fewer old white people from other parts of the country).

If this horrible law spurs the federal government into reform, it's good. A shame it seems to be compromising climate change legislation, but so be it...
I think it is a bad idea. My illegal students and friends with illegal family members have already started telling me that they know of illegal immigrants who are planning to move from AZ to TX. A mass migration of people from AZ will put a strain on TX resources. Our schools, in particular, can't handle a large influx of people. When all the Katrina survivors moved up here I ended up with classes so large that I had kids sitting on the floor using clipboards. I hope the AZ people come with their own clipboards!
Is there any truth to the rumor that the legislation does not actually use the phrase "show me your papers"?
Alright, so lets see what the law actually says:

"For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state...where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person"

I mean, I understand there is potential for abuse here, but this isn't exactly communist Russia, "show me your papers" type stuff here.

"Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released. The person’s immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c)."

So, if you get arrested we get to figure out if you're an illegal immigrant before they let you go. I'm not sure we are talking about any great trampling of rights there.

"A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection"

So, it seems to me that if the police make a purely race based pretext stop to check someone's immigration status, that is a violation of the law. Is that subject to abuse? Sure. But it isn't like Arizona is writing racism into the law.

And how does a person prove they aren't an illegal immigrant?

"A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

1. A valid Arizona driver license.
2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.
3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.
4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification."

Basically, if you're carrying ANY valid state or federally issued identification card, including your driver's license, then you're presumed to be a legal citizen. I mean, is that really that oppressive? Requiring you have some sort of government issued ID? Is this really a civil rights crisis? "Hey can I see your driver's license?"

Now, I will say that the law troubles me because I don't really want to be stopped on the side of the street for no apparent reason and have the cops ask me to show them my driver's license, or anything else. However, at least the way the law is written, that shouldn't be happening.

Imagine the nightmare scenario you all seem to be referring to. A Hispanic person walks down the street doing nothing wrong, the police officer stops them, asks for their "papers". The person tells the cop he just left his house to walk down and get a paper, and he left his wallet at home. They arrest him and throw him in jail.

Well, seems to me under the law, that stop would be illegal. No reasonable suspicion and purely racial pretext. Also, once he was arrested his immigration status would be checked and he would be released.

Is that ideal? No. But we are talking about stopping some illegal activity. What would you propose? What solution would work?

I worry everytime the government expands its powers that it will overreach and intrude on civil liberties. But that concern has to be balanced against necessity.
I am actually pro immigration. I have a positive prejudice for immigrants; that is, I tend to think immigrants are better Americans than most of the people I know born into luxury and educated at our tier one schools (and those institutions aspiring to be tier one schools). Based on the many many Hispanic immigrants I have known over the course of my life lived in Texas and Southern California, I tend to think they are in general a very positive influence on American culture.

We need to construct some laws, rules, and regulations based on common sense and decency and then enforce them. We need to stop criminalizing an activity we implicitly encourage (immigration) because it is in our interest to have cheap labor but also in our interest to treat that labor force with contempt.

We just need an honest discussion among some people of good will.

However, the holier-than-thou condemnation of AZ (which happens to be in a heckuva mess and on the point on this issue) is not the way to begin the reasonable discourse.

I understand your points, but as a practical matter, do you think this law will be equally applied toward whites, blacks, Hispanics, and every other race? If a white guy is walking down the street, most cops wouldn't even consider the possibility that he might be an illegal immigrant. But if you're Hispanic, the Arizona legislature just enacted a big fat target symbol on your back. "Reasonable suspicion" will, practically speaking, translate into "Looks Hispanic."
RRL, you've hit the nail on the head: no law currently requires anyone in public to carry identification on them unless they're engaged in some other activity, like driving. You don't have to show your ID to a police officer in Texas unless you're under arrest. You don't have to prove anything to a police officer unless he's developed probable cause to arrest, not just a "reasonable suspicion."

One of the groups behind the bill is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR. FAIR is represented by a lawyer and candidate for office in Kansas, Kris Kobach. Kobach claims on his website to have "won one in Arizona." FAIR claims credit for helping Arizona Sen. Pearce draft the law. But what is FAIR? According to the SPLC, FAIR is a non-profit founded by a nativist author and speaker. They accept funds from known hate groups, eugenics peddlers, and white supremacists. Racists and hate-mongers work for it or associated groups... and apparently draft anti-immigrant laws in Arizona.

Good plants do not come from bad seeds.

So what's FAIR's interest in all of this? Well, FAIR brings a lot of lawsuits in Arizona against state and municipal authorities for immigration-related issues. There just so happens to be a provision in the bill that allows anyone standing to sue any official, office or organization that adopts a policy of less than full enforcement of federal laws, such as many "safe harbor" cities that do not deport upon learning someone's status. And it provides for those wonderful and lovely things we know as "attorney's fees."

Like I said... it's a bad law. It is not narrowly tailored, usurps a power expressly given to the federal government (though not expressly forbidden to the states), comes from nativist/white supremacist origins and is ultimately self-serving to the lobbying groups that drafted it, which will be a drain on state and local resources having to defend these suits.

But hey, George Will might have to look extra hard to find a waiter or landscaper.
My take on this:

I think people in Arizona are fed up with the inability of the federal government to deal with illegal immigration. They are right to be fed up. We don't actually have an immigration policy, in the sense that a policy is coherent and whole. Yes, immigration should be a federal issue, but Arizonans are right to think that the federal government has failed in that responsibility.

That said, is this law the best way to address this failure? I don't know. I agree with RRL that it may invite unconstitutional searches, and that is a problem that will be addressed in the courts. However, it could well be that individual actions by officers, not the law, is what ultimately is found to be unconstitutional.

What the federal government should do, thoroughly and consistently, is go hard after those corporations who employ illegal immigrants, directly or indirectly. Economics influences behavior profoundly, and this is the best way to create change in this area. Why has the federal government not done this? Because the federal government far too often does what is in the interest of business rather than the nation when those interests diverge.

no, I don't think the law would be equally applied to whites, blacks, and hispanics. But I also don't think we are going to see a rash of police officers stopping every single Hispanic looking person they see and asking to see their ID. The law makes it clear that stops based purely on race aren't allowed. How does that work in a pratical sense, probably not very well. But what other option do we have?


Margaret Sanger once said:

"We want fewer and better children...and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict on us."

She was a devout eugenicist, and associated herself with racists and white supremecists.

She is also credited with starting Planned Parenthood, and has been hailed as a champion of feminism and progressivism.

So, are you sure you want to stick with the universal maxim that, "good plants do not come from bad seeds."

Bad people can have good ideas. Good people can have bad ideas.

I don't know if this is a good idea or not, but I know that pointing out that it is supported by or drafted by racists/eugenicists (though for the life of me I can't figure out what this has to do with eugenics) is a scare tactic more than anything, and doesn't do anything to prove that the law itself is bad.

"There just so happens to be a provision in the bill that allows anyone standing to sue any official, office or organization that adopts a policy of less than full enforcement of federal laws, such as many "safe harbor" cities that do not deport upon learning someone's status."

Wait, there is a provision in the law that allows a citizen to sue their government if their government refuses to enforce immigration laws and deport citizens that are here illegally?? OH THE HORROR!! OH NO!! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY COUNTRY!!
RRL -- I'm aware of Planned Parenthood's origins, and, for the record, find that as reprehensible as FAIR, although PP has at least tried to distance themselves from that part of their history.

(As an aside, a lot of people in the nativist movement are very pro-abortion; but that's not my position on the matter. I don't know anyone that thinks abortion is something desirable; it is just one of those necessary things that needs to be available.)

I bring up the eugenics point because it is a large talking point in nativist circles: their reasoning is that white people will lose their cultural and political superiority by being outbred by "illegal immgirants," whom they universally assocate with Catholicism (and via that, Latin peoples). Anti-immigrant reforms by these people iwll always bear the stain of anti-Catholic, anti-Latin bigotry.

My point about the lawsuit provision is that it's self-serving. A state and some of its subdivisions just waived their immunity from suit so that the public relations arm of a bunch of neo-Nazis could get attorney's fees. That doesn't strike you as morally offensive?
Also, I say this as a law enforcement officer of the State of Texas: enforcement of immigration laws is something reserved to the federal government, and suing a state or local authority for enacting a policy that says that state officials won't do federal work for them hardly seems fair. It's not my job to worry about people's immigration status, but rather whether they've committed a crime. I can't imagine my Arizona LEO compatriots are happy about having to do DHS' work either.
"I'm aware of Planned Parenthood's origins"

So, then you acknowledge that, at least occassionally, a bad seed can produce a good plant, right?

"find that as reprehensible as FAIR"

Fair enough. I'm not here to defend FAIR. Not a member, don't plan on being one. We can all consider them reprehensible.

"I bring up the eugenics point because it is a large talking point in nativist circles...Anti-immigrant reforms by these people iwll always bear the stain of anti-Catholic, anti-Latin bigotry."

Ok, but I go back to this point. There are people that support these laws because they are racist people. That doesn't make the law racist, does it? I mean, there might be people that support taxes on fossil fuels because they want to build gigantic nuclear power facilities. That wouldn't make the tax on fossil fuels a pro-nuclear policy would it? There are people that might support abortion because they are racist (carrying on the eugenics theme). That doesn't make a pro-choice law racist does it?

I get it. Some of the people that support this law might be very bad people. We both disagree with those people. But that does nothing to prove the law is a bad law.

And as far as the lawsuit provision is concerned, do I find it morally offensive that somebody wanted a law written in such a way as to benefit their own interests? No, I find it completely not shocking and consistent with how laws get made, which is why I hate our government, and government in general. I live in the real world where people generally do things to benefit themselves, because that is what we are driven to do by nature. Disappointing? Sure. But also predictable and not worth getting all upset about.
Ironically, this is where I am always more liberal than Mark Osler. Mark advocates a "law and order" position: punish big business (actually more small businesses) who employ illegal aliens.

I say why not craft a just and equitable and practical law. Let's accommodate those businesses who need immigrant labor and be compassionate and reasonable about immigrants who want to come to America to work hard and begin a new life.
You assume I think PP is a good orgnaization. I have (at best) mixed feelings on them.

At any rate, yes, I think this is a racist law. When Planned Parenthood (to continue a theme) argues against the passage of a law, say, requiring the publication of the personal data of all people receiving an abortion (hi, Oklahoma!), obviously that's not a pro-eugenics law.

But when a proven hate group (again, using the SPLC's terminology) and its hatemongering employees like Kris Kobach (who persists in the delusion that President Obama is not a United States citizen) are directly involved in writing a law that will empower racist law enforcement officers like Joe Arpaio's goon squad to target Latino communities, and then to bring civil penalties against law enforcement agencies that refuse to follow such a ludicrous law, yeah, that's pretty obviously a racist law.

Like I said, it's not that I disagree with immigration law enforcement. People that enter this country under false pretenses, or for illicit purposes, I don't particularly want here. I live with and work with DHS and CBP workers every day; I prosecute people that are not legal residents of the United States. Hell, I sometimes find evidence of camp sites in the field behind my house.

But I also see firsthand the deleterious effects of our current system on communities with high immigrant populations. I watch Latino families torn apart, and see hard-working and earnest people get lumped in with the reprobates. I watch students who overstay their visas get "voluntarily deported" and told that in a few years they can apply for a change in status.

AWF is right: we need to encourage good immigration at more reasonable rates, with less bureaucracy and less expense. It ought not to take a sophisticated and trained attorney to help the average student navigate the naturalization or permanent resident process. We ought to provide ways for people who are currently illegal but have a job, a family, a house, etc., to change their status without deporting them first and making them start over from scratch in the nearest port of call.

Laws like this deny that all of that is in need of a solution: rather, what we need to do is "defend our borders" and strengthen law enforcement to arrest, detain and ultimately deport anyone whose status is not in order. They're not pro-America; they're anti-minority and therefore... racist.

No business needs illegal immigrant labor. They just would have to pay more if they were unable to take advantage of illegal immigrants. That is why they hire illegal immigrants. I'm ok with paying more for meat if it means we actually are addressing this problem, and the net effect will be to lower unemployment.

I have no problem with expanding legal immigration. I think we should, in fact, especially in those areas where immigrants contribute the most.

Further, my idea means that law enforcement has to deal with more sophisticated businesses, not individual immigrants, with whom the power disparity is so large as to invite abuse. Will officers abuse the rights of a non-English speaking, terrified immigrant? Sure, sometimes. Will they so easily do so with businesspeople? No.

My idea is not "law and order" so much as it is economic. You don't have to make any new laws; simply enforce the ones that we have.

The laws we have right now do not make much sense or some sincere administration (take you pick depending on your side of the fence--Bush or Obama) would have enforced them.

The system is actually a mess because it does not take into account economic realities.

The truth is that our body of law as currently constructed will never be enforced.

All we can look forward to is a lot of yelling and impugning the motives of the people you generally don't like for other reasons.
I agree that no business needs illegal immigrant labor, but there ARE a lot of businesses that do need immigrant labor. There are areas of the country where there just aren't enough American laborers to go around, and they rely on immigrants to help meet their needs, particularly seasonal businesses. When US immigration policy stymies their efforts to get legal immigrants (by limiting the number of temporary work visas, for example), these companies are then forced to either operate at a severely reduced capacity, or seek the services of illegal immigrants. So while Professor Osler is right that no one needs illegal immigrant labor, companies are often forced to turn to it due to the strictures placed on their business model by immigration law. The best approach is to combine enforcement against businesses who employ illegal immigrants with policy reform to keep them from having to resort to such measures in the first place.
Also, this law seems to ignore the fact that a drivers license or ID does not in itself prove citizenship nor legal status. Additionally, I'm curious to know what “reasonable articulable facts” does an officer use to support a reasonable suspicion of someone’s immigration status?
I see many good points made here, backed by reasonable logic.
I'm not going to argue one side or the other-- rather, I'll let you law dawgs duke that one out-- but I did have to point out something that made me chuckle:

A Waco Farmer, at 12:15 p.m.: "The laws we have right now do not make much sense or some sincere administration (take you pick depending on your side of the fence--Bush or Obama) would have enforced them."

Now, I am not poking fun at AWF, who has also made some rational arguments, but I had to laugh at the supposition that EITHER the Bush OR Obama administrations were/are sincere. Hehehehe... sincere politician. jumbo shrimp. cruel kindness. business ethics. almost exactly. civil servant. rapid transit. They just don't make sense.
To borrow from Bill Trail, it's like a square peg in a round hole.
Justin, if you've got the time, look up some news stories on Joe Arpaio. There was a good one in last month's ABA Journal, if I remember correctly. That will answer your question about what "reasonable suspicion" of illegality will mean.
Oh I am quite familiar with the shenanigans of America's favorite Constitution-hating tax-squandering bigot, Joe Arpaio. The fact that the people of Maricopa County continue to elect him is exactly what worries me about this legislation- they legitimately don't seem to mind the rampant corruption and abuse.
AZPD, we need more of your expertise in this matter.

Your option #2 sounds suspiciously like what an alliance of Arpaios and white supremacists (groups may overlap) would want: create an insular community afraid of the authorities that will eat itself from the inside out with poverty, corruption and crime. It simultaneously "vindicates" the prejudices of white supremacists and isolates a large portion of crime in such a way that it doesn't bother the people that keep electing the politicians.
I'm a 5th or 6th generation Arizonan (not sure what 1880's would translate to) and I have mixed feelings about this new law--similar to my relative (via marriage) who is the Speaker of the AZ House. I think there are good arguments on both sides as to the merits of the law. However, too many of the opponents are over the top.

Lane, the SPLC article reads like a Glenn Beck commentary...with less citations. They did at least reference the Phoenix New Times (a leftist joke-of-a-publication that is distributed for free in downtown Phoenix) and the Center for American Progress--another "unbiased" source. I don't know if I had heard about FAIR before today, but could the attributed associations be much worse than Barack Obama's? I thought Barry said we needed to move past this rhetoric and "debate" the hard issues on the merits? The list of adherents to the eugenics movement from the first few decades of the 1900's is extensive, including former Presidents like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. We could talk about Nazi sympathizers like Joe Kennedy and Henry Ford who’ve spawned some of the most powerful lefties today. Or we could discuss the former Klansman who was the majority leader for the Democrats in the Senate (and is still serving there somehow)...and the other guy who was so concerned about religion on the Supreme Court (oh that’s right, good ol' Hugo). I just find it ironic how one week the Tea Partiers are lambasted for using this type of rhetoric, but the next week it's ok.

As to the merits, it's irrational to believe that sales and property taxes from people with generally the lowest income can account for the financial burden on the state for welfare services provided to illegal immigrants. Joe Arpaio claims that he's been using the type of enforcement contemplated in the new bill for a couple of years now in Maricopa County. So where were all the protests and boycotts before this week? I’m not a huge Arpaio fan. I used to do accounting for his jails, but I think there is some truth to idea promulgated by reliable sources that he’s insane (although my grandfather says he’ll keep voting for him as long as he keeps tent city open). Regarding employers, AZ already has some of the most strict laws regarding employers of illegal immigrants (, but it obviously hasn’t solved the problem. Further, do I understand AZPD to be saying that we should have sanctuary cities to ensure that illegal immigrants report other crimes (because of course illegal immigration is a crime)? That doesn’t seem like a solution to the problem. The lawsuit provisions of the statute, of course, were included to preclude cities from forming sanctuary cities. Again, I don’t pretend to be a policy expert on this, but boycotts and race-baiting of my great home state won’t help anything. The campaign against them amounts to Democrats last ditch effort to salvage the November elections.

Although I can't speak for AZPD (indeed, he's probably out defending people caught up in these types of problems right now), I think what he's saying, and what I said before as well, is that policies such as this one discourage illegal immigrants from contacting the police when they're victimized due to the fear of being prosecuted for violation of this law. While you're correct that being an undocumented immigrant is, in some regards, a crime, we all recognize that there's a hierarchy of dangerousness associated with criminality, and it's not beneficial to society to create policies that instill a fear of contacting law enforcement for legitimate assistance. If I'm a thug, and I know that an illegal isn't going to call the cops if I rob him because he doesn't want to deal with this, I'm a lot more likely to victimize that person. And that's bad. For everyone.

The SPLC is a group of lawyers, researchers, and other professional analysts that collect, analyze and disseminate data on the presence of hate groups in the United States. Glenn Beck is a former shock jock radio DJ who found out you can make a lot of money with a chalkboard and a gullible audience. I don't think the two are commensurate.

Media Matters Fact Check provides some of the sourcing to verify the claims in the SPLC article. I know, I know... it's Media Matters! They're not unbiased! They call out Bill O'Reilly on like a daily basis! Except they quote directly from FAIR's website.

The fact remains: FAIR and is associated groups are part of a nativist lobby that teaches that non-whites are genetically inferior and that it is detrimental to the country to politically enfranchise minorities at the expense of a hegemonical white majority. That people others might consider luminaries (Henry Ford is a darling of the left?) were eugenicists at a time when Social Darwinism was prevalent is hardly a recommendation for not caring that a state senator let his law be drafted (at least in part) by white supremacists.

We all agree that eugenics is a junk science, that there is no credible evidence for a genetic difference in the "races" (because race is a fictional concept), and that FAIR, who does not hide its historical and current associations with known white supremacists claims responsibility for the law. Lots of people on the right (including Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell) and liberal/left oppose the law on the grounds that it infringes on an area of regulation given to the federal government, is targeted at minorities, specifically Latin Americans, oversteps the bounds of due process, and is in general a bad idea.

In general, when Tea Partiers and the Rachel Maddow crowd agree on something, I think we can say there may be merit in that idea.

You wrote, "Joe Arpaio claims that he's been using the type of enforcement contemplated in the new bill for a couple of years now in Maricopa County. So where were all the protests and boycotts before this week?"

You can't be serious. Are you living in AZ or do you just have family here? Everyone from illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, natural born citizens, civil rights groups, and even groups of attorneys have been protesting Arpaio for years. In fact, the USDOJ has become involved. The DOJ has told him to stop enforcing federal law and has opened an investigation into racial profiling violations. They actually have a Joe Arpaio complaint hotline.

I don't understand how any of my comments can be construed as calling for sanctuary cities. Justin T. got it exactly right. The new law, by requiring officers to investigate citizenship every time they have reason to suspect an issue, tell immigrants one thing: Avoid cops at all costs because they have no choice but to check your papers.

Without such a requirement, officers could use the appropriate discretion to make a crucial decision--do I want to pursue the dangerous predator or do I want immigration issues to possibly prevent it? Sometimes deliberate ignorance of a lesser offense is necessary to serve the greater good of pursuing the predatory offense. This happens constantly--like when street level drug pushers are given a walk when they give up the big supplier.

In addition to discouraging people from reporting far worse crime, the new law obliterates an officer's ability to use some common sense. The law leaves the little fish on the line so that its hook can't snag the big one.
Also, as a prosecutor in a border city, making District Attorneys responsible for immigration consequences further complicates our jobs and forces us to do the work of immigration lawyers as well as prosecutors. There are even potential conflicts there (do I prosecute the crime I have, or let this guy go just because he's going to get deported?).
Lane, I went to the FAIR website and did not see the info referenced in the SPLC article. Perhaps you can point the links out to me. I don't know much about SPLC, but that article was an embarrassment. I did see that John Tanton, the founder of FAIR, according to the website, "was organizer and President of the Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood chapter. From 1971 to 1975, Dr. Tanton served as Chairman of the Sierra Club National Population Committee." So can we, by association, say that Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club are also advocates for the eugenics movement? I bet I could find someone at SPLC with questionable ties as well. But calling anyone who questions the value of open borders a nativist hate-monger is simply ridiculous. Again, I’m conflicted about the bill, but AZ has limited options where the Feds. (and specifically the former Governor of AZ) have neglected to enforce federal law. I haven’t heard any other solutions that AZ hasn’t already tried.

I appreciate JT and AZPD for clarifying regarding sanctuary cities. I guess I still find it hard to see how illegal immigrants would be so motivated to assist in criminal investigations even without the new legislation. Perhaps you can further enlighten me as to how that process works logistically.

Regarding AZPD’s comments about Joe…my wife (a native, not nativist, Texan) prohibited me from attending law school in AZ, so here I am at Baylor (I also knew it would be a lost cause because my mother-in-law hates desert landscaping). I visited my family and friends last summer, but I read every day (at least the sports page about the Suns…I do consider myself an expert on them). Everybody knows that Joe has been a lightning rod since he started at MCSO. He's always been under investigation for something (at times, warranted I think). I do remember the demonstrations that occurred when McCain and Kennedy attempted the last immigration bill while Bush was still President. I know there was opposition by the same people to the employer sanctions bill and Joe’s more recent efforts, but nothing compared to the past week. My point is that Obama, Reid, Sharpton, the media, and others are using this to hopefully get people to forget about the last year and a half of governance. I also have not seen any media reports with details about the abuses of Arpaio’s program. If you have any links, I’d appreciate it.

Finally, I did not see any responses to my comments about the economic effects of illegal immigration.

A quick google search of Arpaio and DOJ gave me the following:

The Sheriff Joe hotline number is 877-613-2137.
A lot of people in AZ (and elsewhere) support Arpaio because they think he saves the county money by reducing costs to basically nothing using tents and old bologna and whatnot. Which would of course be true, so long as you don't include the tens of millions of dollars the county has had to pay out in judgments and settlements as a direct result of his policies.
Forgive me if this has already been addressed, but this has been a lively and lengthy debate, all of which I have not had time to read yet.

The law does not allow "local and state police broad authority to stop suspected immigrants...."

The law requires that law enforcement already have (1)a "lawful" purpose for the contact with an individual, and (2) then the officer must have a "reasonable suspicion" to inquire further about citizenship and documentation.

The law did not give law enforcement a new basis for contacting an individual. It allows an officer who is engaged in a lawful contact to develop reasonable suspicion from facts other than race.

I know that law enforcement can abuse this if they choose to ignore the provisions of the law that say race cannot be used as a factor in developing reasonable suspicion. But what I am really curious about is why people have focused on this potential abuse with such fervor.

The U.S. Border Patrol stops vehicles inside our borders based on "reasonable suspicion" every day during the search for illegal immigrants.

So this makes me think that people are either (1) angry that Arizona is taking steps independently to protect itself on a highly political issue, or (2) angry that "reasonable suspicion" is the standard applied by law enforcement because it may be abused.

If the latter is true, why aren't we screaming about the U.S. Border Patrol?

The lack of criticism of the U.S. Border Patrol leads me to believe this has nothing to do with the reasonable suspicion standard. Instead, it is really about latino voters, and thus a perfect topic for Political Mayhem Thursday.

A quick read of the 16 page bill will convince any of you that it will survive a facial challenge. Law enforcement will of course face as applied challenges, just like the U.S. Border Patrol does now.
AZDA-the AZ Repub. link just listed a bunch of general articles (none that I saw dealt with Arpaio's program). I did, however, see that Shakira and Linda Ronstat(sp?) are now onboard against the new bill. The New Times link didn't work on my computer. The fact that it's a blog from the New Times with "bastard" in the URL would, I think, lend against its credibility.

JT-I know we've discussed Joe a few times. My conversation with the Fort Worth Jail Warden, subsequent to a tour of the facilities, gave me a different perspective about tent city (i.e. the impact on the guards who are required to be out in the heat with the inmates, and other potentially more cost effective solutions). My point is not to mount a defense for all his actions, as previously mentioned.

For some reason, the complete links didn't make it from the text box to the comments section. Just type this into Google: "DOJ investigation Arpaio" An AZCentral article pops up first.


The biggest difference is that the US Border Patrol is a) a federal agency that is b) charged with enforcing federal immigration law at the US borders. Arizona state and local police are not border agents and should not be inquiring into the citizenship status of the people it stops without good cause. And I still have yet to hear anybody tell me exactly what "good cause" or "reasonable suspicion" would be.

In short, I think people are upset about this bill because it grants too much authority to people who aren't qualified to enforce those types of laws, it doesn't create any sort of cohesive guidelines for how this bill is going to be implemented, and the potential for abuse, particularly racial profiling, is enormous. I could be wrong, but that's why I personally don't support it.
Justin - I read your earliest post, and now your latest post, and it makes clear that you have not read the bill (but I forgive you because I know you are in PC).

The bill does not give broad powers to Arizona law enforcement to enforce federal laws. The law makes it an Arizona misdemeanor to be in the state as an illegal immigrant. I know that you don't mean to suggest that determining citizenship is so highly complex that the highly qualified U.S. Border Patrol is the only ones out there capable of doing this.

I get your frustration with "reasonable suspicion." I share your concern. But this is an as applied argument, not a facial challenge. The judiciary is there to protect the individual that has fallen prey to unconstitutional law enforcement conduct.

But, if "reasonable suspicion" is the focus of your criticism, I guess you can only criticize Arizona law enforcement in particular if you truly believe that only the U.S. Border Patrol can determine "reasonable suspicion." Since I know that is not your position, we can just continue to agree that, as applied, this statute can lead to unconstitutional conduct by state law enforcement just like the same standard can be abused by federal law enforcement.

That said, the courts have dealt with these same challenges for years when the U.S. Border Patrol is the transgresor of the Constitution. Why suddenly can the courts not be trusted now?

I read the two articles I think you meant to post, and it was pretty vanilla with no specifics. Holder is investigating Arpaio (surprise) and Joe says he's got nothing to hide. I did see an interesting note in the azcentral article regarding Arpaio's efforts: "He also participates in a federal program that lets local officers enforce federal immigration laws." So I guess the Feds. have a program for just what the new bill contemplates?
OK, this should end the debate.

Rick "Jefferson Davis" Perry has spoken out against the Arizona bill. C'mon, if you're to the right of The Hair, you're too far to the right.
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