Arizona SB1070

Arizona state flag

Perhaps you think the United States should be tougher on illegal immigrants.  My mother is a legal immigrant and is quite bothered by the fact that her family had to go through hoops and others find ways around them.  So be it.  I won’t argue if illegal immigrants are taking jobs away or leeching public resources.

No matter where you stand on how illegal immigration needs to be addressed, I don’t see how you can defend the following, from SB1070.

B. 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.

Let’s break this down.

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

Honestly, I have no idea what “agency of this state…” means. But, police, provided they aren’t breaking the law, can do what follows.  Presumably, this means that they cannot bust your door down to do this.  But, if you’re walking down the street, I imagine they could just start talking to you, as that would be “lawful contact”.

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

What’s reasonable suspicion?  You’re running around screaming “I’m an illegal immigrant”? You have an accent? You’re Hispanic?  I mean, really? What is reasonable suspicion? It’s never defined in the bill.  As is, in SB1070, that allows a helluva lot of leeway.  And I don’t see how any answer will sound good or like it won’t promote racial profiling.

In the end, let’s say you are absolutely anyone walking around in Arizona.  Given SB1070, what is to stop a cop from taking you to jail if you don’t have an ID card on you, with the intent of “determining your immigration status”?

You don’t have to be doing anything wrong and they don’t have any guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable “reasonable suspicion”.  No matter how they are trained, assuming there is some system that will be in place, there would be nothing illegal about the above scenario.  To be safe, everyone will have to start carrying their ID with them at all times. There is something inherently offensive about this to most Americans.  It seems to me that wherever you stand on the political spectrum, this law allows for civil liberties to be decreased and more government intervention in our lives.  Or at least the lives of Arizonans, for now.

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8 Responses to Arizona SB1070

  1. Jordan says:

    It looks like there are only bad solutions. I don’t know if we’ve been conditioned to react negatively to the police request to “show me your papers” but it does seem reasonable. State land, state laws. As a Libertarian, the Arizona result represents to me a kind of absurdity in the democratic system but consistent within the system itself.

    Anyway, the people of Arizona apparently wanted it and have presumably discussed the social ramifications of it so it will be interesting to see if it remains popular. Their immigration situation seems unique enough to explain such an apparently draconian law.

    It seems impossible to separate “reasonable suspicion” from “racial” profiling since illegal immigrants in Arizona are poorer Mexicans.

    A Libertarian solution would be to extend private ownership of land to include public lands. Each owner could decide who has entry and transit permissions for his land. If a group of owners did not want to check citizenship status, it could do so e.g. “safe haven” cities while others could mandate whatever restrictions they want.

    Of course the additional burden of resources remains; but such a burden only exists because of taxation, something Libertarians oppose.

  2. roniweiss says:

    Sounds like you’re defending it.

    Usually, I hate slippery slope and random concentration camp references, but I don’t see how far it is from Japanese internment and the like.

    Hispanics, citizens or not, will be targeted. If you look Hispanic, you could be targeted.

    How does this represent American ideals in any way? Does this really sound so far from Nazi Germany?

    I am inherently opposed to laws that go after only one group. That’s the problem with Switzerland’s minaret ban, as well. I can better stomach something such as Burma/Myanmar’s recent laws, which are designed to be against one person, but are done for everyone.

    If they start making everyone show ID, then perhaps there will be more outrage. Until then, I will defend a portion of the population that will be unfairly targeted. And I think others should, as well.

  3. roniweiss says:

    Good article. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Jordan says:

    On a general level, I object to the legitimizing of force under the guise of government for any purpose. But what the Arizonans have decided appears to be fully “legal” even though I disagree with them; personal freedom being what I consider the main American ideal.

    While the law does smack of totalitarianism, it was all put into place democratically and is an excellent example of the tyranny of the majority, the fatal flaw in democratic government.

  5. roniweiss says:

    I disagree with the idea that it is fully legal. It’s being challenged for its intent, which is to deal with immigration, something only the federal government can do.

  6. Jordan says:

    Certainly the upcoming challenges will determine its true legality, but if I recall correctly, the law had been written specifically address possible challenges e.g. racial profiling is not allowed (even though that seems impossible), it is meant to specifically respect Federal powers with regard to immigration. Did you guys do a podcast on this? I haven’t really been following the issue so it sounds like it would be worth a listen.

  7. roniweiss says:

    I think we covered it in various ways on the show.

    But it falls quite out of bounds with both anti-discrimination and federal jurisdiction laws.

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