SB 1070, the Arizona effort to control the tsunami of illegals that threaten to upend their state, has become a lightening rod to factions within our country. Congress gave the President of Mexico a standing ovation when he condemned it (and by proxy, the nation), even though polls show a majority of Americans agree with controlling illegal immigration (up to 75% on the last one I read)
It reminds me of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. Another lightening rod that publicized ideas many didn’t like.
But this is the joy of a democratic nation–freedom of speech, encouragement to debate.
A group of us got together, read the Arizona Immigration bill and shared our thoughts. We forced anyone with an opinion to support it by citing the document. We didn’t allow any emotional argument (though we admit that emotion is an important ingredient in mankind’s decisions) and we ignored the ‘slippery slope’ type of conclusion–projecting what might happen based on worst-case scenarios. That’s just too subjective.
Here’s what we got (read the original SB 1070 here)–bold and italics are quotes from the bill:
- a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona--we aren’t lawyers, so couldn’t draw a conclusion on the legitimacy of this. Can Arizona assist the Feds in their jobs? This seems to be a hot button issue with the talking heads.
- Here’s one of the biggest issues discussed on the main stream media–what proof of citizenship suffices if an individual is stopped on suspicion of an illegal act? The bill includes any valid United States Federal, State or local government issued identification. This could be a library card, or a pay stub from a government job. A school ID…
- FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY … 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. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c). –sounds like Arizona will not decide on immigration status, but defer to ICE. The next few sections after this quoted portion continue with that thread–state officials will turn over anyone they discover is illegal to Federal jurisdiction for remediation
- A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.–since most crimes don’t require a warrant for an arrest for American citizens, this sounds like they are treating potentially illegal residents as citizens until proven otherwise. This is what American citizens have come to expect from one of the substantive principles of our laws– innocent until proven guilty.
- Page 2 itemized what law enforcement officials could do once they arrested an individual suspected of being an illegal alien (arrested, only after they were suspected of a crime). Read them yourself, but they sound like the usual fact-gathering actions for any American citizen suspected of a crime
- Trespassing by illegal aliens; assessment; exception; –interesting take on illegal aliens. None of us disagreed that illegal entrants into the state weren’t guilty of minimally ‘trespassing’. SB1070 goes on to define the repercussions of that breach of law
- SB1070 addresses the guilt of those who smuggle aliens into the country, ramping up the ramifications when those actions include underage individuals without the presence of their parents and the use of weapons.
- IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES AND WHO IS AN UNAUTHORIZED ALIEN TO KNOWINGLY APPLY FOR WORK, SOLICIT WORK IN A PUBLIC PLACE OR PERFORM WORK AS AN EMPLOYEE OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR IN THIS STATE. –we had different levels of agreement/disagreement on this part, based on the economic need of the hirer and the hiree, but we all agreed this part of the puzzle was critical to a comprehensive immigration law
- This next part was interesting. The law not only addresses the responsibility of employers for providing the economic impetus to illegal immigration, but the part of those who transport them. This seemed a fair and honest effort to get to the root of the problem, rather than shuffle all responsibility off onto those who are the easiest to catch: THE PERSON IS IN VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE AND IS TRANSPORTING, MOVING, CONCEALING, HARBORING OR SHIELDING OR ATTEMPTING TO TRANSPORT, MOVE, CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD AN ALIEN IN THIS STATE IN A VEHICLE IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF LAW.
Nowhere did any of us see a goal aimed at racial profiling. SB1070 doesn’t highlight a group, rather a problem, much like the Equal Rights Amendment focused on events that fell disproportionately on particular groups.
Overall, the law seems to bestow upon illegals the rights enjoyed by American citizens when it comes to how we fare under the legal system. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, or if Americans want to do that. President Obama’s administration seems willing to require civilian trials and Miranda warnings for terrorists. The question is: Is this the direction the country is going?
In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be nice to treat our neighbors as our family. But is that realistic?
For more, read this post on how to straddle the Arizona Immigration Law fence–poorly.