THE ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW The Arizona State Senate voted 17-11 to pass what some people would call the country’s strictest and most controversial immigration bill. It requires police to question people about their status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally. The bill would also allow individual lawsuits to be brought against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws and make it illegal for employers to hire or knowingly transport illegal immigrants for daily labor.
Proponents of the bill say it will aid the police in cracking down on violent offenders who cross the border illegally. The U. S. Constitution clearly assigns the federal government the responsibility to protect the states against invasion. If that duty were faithfully being carried out, there would be no need for the recently passed law in Arizona. The Constitution didn’t say military invasion, just invasion. And the millions who have broken our laws and inundated our country constitute an invasion.
A large percentage of Arizona’s crime, welfare, medical costs, and narcotics problem is traceable to the illegal border crossers. How else are we to deal with the situation when practically no help comes from those assigned to cope with this problem? Oklahoma enacted tough laws against hiring illegal immigrants, and as the federal government enacted these laws, many of the illegal immigrants fled the state. If Arizona would be strict about employing these illegal immigrants then we would have less of them trying so hard to get across the border.
Of course, there are a lot of drug cartels in Arizona and they do not come here to seek employment, there are also a lot of illegal immigrants who come here to work and send money back home. If they were not able to come here and work then they would have no reason to cross the border. This alone would make a huge difference in the number of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border. Those opposing the bill, including the Mexican embassy, say it will lead to racial profiling. Other legal challenges may rest on the bill putting a federal responsibility of immigration into the hands of local and state law enforcement.
Some people such as visitors, citizens, immigrants and foreign workers who may be there legally may be inconvenienced if they are asked to identify themselves or show there immigration papers. If the law treats undocumented immigrants like they are criminals then those who don’t have any papers will stay as far away from police as possible. The current law in Arizona, and most other states, doesn’t require police to ask about the immigration status of those they encounter, and some police officials say allowing such questions would deter immigrants from cooperating in other investigations leading to more, not less crime.
It will also be difficult for police to investigate the crimes and track down the fugitives because of the potential witness’ not having papers and afraid of being deported. Those federal statutes say the violator must be over 14 years old, that he or she has 30 days to register as an alien, and is in violation if willfully failing to carry registration documents. That specificity creates potential state prosecution problems. Most illegal immigrants are prosecuted under a federal statute against illegal entry into the country, not failure to provide documents.
Under the law, officers can only attempt to determine a person’s immigration status during lawful contact, which is defined as a lawful stop, detention or arrest. Any reasonable suspicion can be derived only through the investigation of another violation or crime. The police are going to ask questions and request to see papers in a variety of circumstances, whether they have reasonable suspicion or not. From a legal, constitutional, and practical perspective, here is the key issue. What are the consequences, if any, for the person who stands his ground and declines to answer questions or declines to produce identification papers?
If a person declines, will the police back off and say, that is your right, sir, you may go, or will the police escalate the situation by ordering the person to answer questions, ordering the production of identification, detaining the person, or threaten the person with arrest on bogus charges? The police are trained to blur the line between voluntary interactions with people which is perfectly lawful and involuntary interactions with people where police power is limited by the Constitution. For example, if a police agent says, let’s see what you have in the backpack!
It is unclear whether the officer just made a request that is lawful or issued an order for the purposes here is unlawful. The onus here is on the person to speak up if he does not wish to voluntarily consent to a search. Officer, I don’t consent to any searches. Upon hearing that, the officer will retreat, clarify that he was ordering and not asking, or press the person some more to consent. A dishonest officer can just lie and deny what you said, and if that matter goes to court the outcome will depend on who the judge believes.
That’s a severe practical disadvantage for the people. Those concerned about the Constitution should remain on guard when they hear the claim that “Arizona is only doing what the federal government is already doing. ” Further, it is doubtful that the Obama administration intends to roll back or reform the powers of the federal police. Instead, it is trying to retain federal police powers while trying to find a way to challenge Arizona’s methods on racial and ethnic grounds. The Arizona law is quite misguided, but so is the president’s legal challenge.
By passing the Arizona Immigration Law, the state will save hundreds of millions of dollars in education, medical, social services, and criminal justice that are all associated with illegal immigrants. Arizona will be protected from trespass and violent crime by cracking down on the illegals in their state. The Arizona Immigration Law will be very difficult to enforce and will take a long time to work out all the mistakes but in the long run it will be great for our country. This is just a new law to enforce the laws that were already in effect, they were just not being enforced.