2010/05/22

Status on Arizona's anti-immigrant "Show me your papers" law

Seattle has now become the 11th city to boycott Arizona in reaction to their draconian "Show me your papers" law. Several other cities are considering following suit. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 23rd, but may be overturned before then as there are presently five legal challenges against it. What would those challenges be based on? Well, a phrase that jumped out at me from Section 2, paragraph B is:

FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION 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. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

What exactly does "lawful contact" mean? That's hard to say. The cited blogger claims that he's searched the Arizona Revised Statutes and has no idea what the phrase actually means. The Arizona Republican House majority's Homeland Security research analyst, Rene Guillen, says:

[L]awful contact is definitely different than reasonable suspicion in terms of the initiation of the contact. So lawful contact is essentially any interaction a police officer may have with an individual through the normal legal, lawful course of the performance of their duties. So it wouldn't just be those suspected of crimes. It could be victims, witnesses or just people who are lawfully interacting with the police officer where through the course of that contact they are able to build reasonable suspicion and therefore inquire.

With 27% of their players being Latinos, the Major League Baseball Player’s Association has taken the lead against Arizona's law.

Players don’t want to go back to an era where they were welcome to play but not welcome to stay. After they play, players want to be able to drive, eat, shop and sleep without being forced to “show their papers.” They don’t want their wives, children and family members hassled and deprived of their due process either.

Attorney General Eric Holder embarrassed himself and his office when he "under repeated questioning by Senator Hunt of Texas, he finally admitted he had not read the Arizona law." The Attorney General shouldn't have read the law simply because he might be questioned on it, but because it's a law that's being intently discussed and the nation's chief law enforcement officer should be knowledgeable about it.

A right-winger I was corresponding with made the charge that the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said something similar, so I headed over to Fox News (To ensure that I was getting the most damaging statement possible) and the statement was: "I've not reviewed it in detail. I certainly know of it, Senator." I found this to be less than incriminating. Not great, but not a statement that she simply hadn't read it.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who's in a tough re-election fight, showed a less-than-complete familiarity with the law:

I haven’t had a chance to look at all the aspects, but I do understand why the Legislature would act,” he said. Even though it wasn’t clear to him “whether all of it is legal or not,” he said state lawmakers “acted out of frustration because the federal government didn’t do its job.” [emphasis in blog post]

Not much worse than Napolitano's statement.

The Arizona Association of Police Chiefs is opposed to the law, though they assure us they'll enforce it anyway. Sarah Palin says: "We're all Arizonans now!" Uh, as Tonto says when he and the Lone Ranger find themselves surrounded by potentially-hostile Native Americans: "What do you mean 'we' white man?"

And now this gets really good. The sponsor of SB1070 is now trying to overturn the 14th Amendment and to outlaw "Anchor Babies."

[T]he 1898 case United States v. Wong Kim Ark demonstrated without reservation that an American-born child of foreign parents was automatically a United States citizen, even if those parents were in the country illegally.

Republican State Senator from Arizona Russell Pearce wants to overturn that and to make the children of undocumented persons not-US citizens.

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