Arizona lawmakers have approved several changes to the recently passed sweeping law targeting illegal immigration.
If Gov. Jan Brewer supports the changes, they will go into effect at the same time as the new law, 90 days from now.
The current law requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.
One change to the bill strengthens restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for questioning and inserts those same restrictions in other parts of the law.
Changes to the bill language will actually remove the word "solely" from the sentence, "The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin."
Another change replaces the phrase "lawful contact" with "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to apparently clarify that officers don't need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.
A third change specifies that police contact over violations for local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on immigration status.
The law's sponsor, Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, characterized the race and ethnicity changes as clarifications "just to take away the silly arguments and the games, the dishonesty that's been played." Read more.
Silly arguments and dishonesty like the ones coming from the POTUS. One might even call it fear mongering. President Obama told a crowd in Ottumwa, Iowa:
Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to get harassed — that’s something that could potentially happen… That’s not the right way to go.I wonder if Obama even read the bill? I suppose he just assumes the cops will act stupidly.
Why Arizona Drew a Line
By KRIS W. KOBACH
Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it “misguided” and said the Justice Department would take a look.
Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:
It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers ... you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.
“Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.
The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply. In fact, the Arizona law actually reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.
It is unfair to demand that people carry a driver’s license. Arizona’s law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driver’s license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country.
State governments aren’t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. That’s why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Obamateurism of the Day from Hot Air:
"One of the things that is a huge advantage for America compared to countries like Europe is, actually, we’re constantly replenishing ourselves with hungry, driven people who are coming here, and they want to work, and they start a business, and our population is younger and more dynamic, and that’s a good thing!"
Be sure to read these two stories: Obama Helped Kill Immigration Reform In 2007 - Will Media Remember?
In Defense of Arizona - "Mexico’s drug war has reached into Arizona cities. Federal authorities capture an average of 1.5 tons of marijuana per day in Arizona. Drug-related kidnappings, tortures, and murders of illegals by illegals have made Phoenix one of the most violent cities in the United States. Illegals crowd hospital emergency rooms, crash uninsured cars, and transform overbuilt neighborhoods into rooming house slums. Their children have the right, under a 1982 Supreme Court decision, to attend local schools at local expense, crowding the classrooms of native-born children, whose educations are further undermined when substantial numbers of their classmates cannot speak English."
UPDATE: Barack Obama, argued for the rule of law in deporting illegal immigrants in August 2006. Via BreitbartTV:
But on Wednesday April 28, 2010, President Obama told reporters that that the Arizona immigration law, which upholds federal law and allows police to demand proof of citizenship, threatens the “core values that we all care about.”
Funny, this reminds me of what he said about his aunt, who has been living in Boston (in public funded housing) illegally for years:
"If she is violating laws, those laws have to be obeyed," Obama told CBS when asked if he would support deporting his late father's sister, Zeituni Oyanango, to Kenya.So, what exactly is Obama's position? We are a nation of laws, and laws should be obeyed, except when they apply to my family, or when I need votes?
News that Oyanango, 56, was living illegally in the northeastern city of Boston broke Friday, just days before Tuesday's presidential election which Obama faces off against Republican John McCain.
"We're a nation of laws," Obama said in the CBS interview. "Obviously that doesn't lessen my concern for her, I haven't been able to be in touch with her. But I'm a strong believer you have to obey the law," he said.
H/T Gateway Pundit for flashback video