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Protests Against Arizona Immigration Profiling Law Spread Across the United States

The passage last week of SB 1070 has led to the legalization of the nation’s most draconian racial profiling scheme yet. This bill, now signed into law in my former home state of Arizona, would make it a crime to be an illegal immigrant anywhere in the state of Arizona. The Arizona State Legislature has declared that a person anywhere in Arizona without immigration papers, on land that is either public or private, is now “trespassing.” Every state, county and town official interacting with any person in Arizona must if possible determine whether the person is an illegal alien and must transmit that information on to the feds. Police officers in Arizona are required to detain any person they come upon and suspect may be an illegal alien. This new law makes it a crime to not have documentation papers on your person. And if any Arizonan (hello, Minutemen) decides any police officer or police department or fire department or welfare department or public health department or sanitation department or dog catching department isn’t sniffing out and detaining suspected illegal immigrants stringently enough, she or he can file a lawsuit against that officer or department.

The effects of this bill are broad and immediate. If you are an illegal immigrant and your house is on fire, you can’t call the fire department because the fire department will be required under law to check you and report you to the feds. If an illegal immigrant and you’re raped, you’d better not call the cops, because you’ll be checked and jailed and deported. If you’re an illegal immigrant and your employer is poisoning you in his factory or having you beaten, you’d better not go to a county hospital for treatment, because you’ll be checked and reported and deported. Want to create an underground economy in Arizona in which people are ground down and exploited even more than they are now? Congratulations: SB 1070 does it.

Who is going to be targeted under this law? Who are the “suspected illegal immigrants”? FOX News analysts have it figured out, and they don’t have a problem with it:

“I don’t think there’s really anything wrong as far as racial profiling, stopping people who are coming in illegally. I mean, you’re not looking for a blond haired, blue eyed Swede most of the time.” …

“A lot of the critics are saying this is racial profiling. Duh! They’re coming from another country. That’s what you do. You have to look at them and see who they are before you know they’re legal or illegal. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism.” …

“It’s racial profiling, to be sure, cops know if there’s a van full of dark-skinned men with lawnmowers packed into the back of a pick-up truck…that’s what they’re talking about.”

Someone who has not lived in Arizona, or who has only shuttled back and forth between to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport and a gated golf course, may not be aware that Arizona is filled with “dark-skinned men.” Many of them have lawnmowers. Some of them travel in vans and pick-up trucks. Millions of “dark-skinned men” and dark-skinned women living in Arizona are American citizens, and many more are legal residents. Police officers (and firefighters and health workers and dogcatchers) are now legally required to check for immigration documents if they have a suspicion dark-skinned Arizonans could be illegal immigrants. And if those dark-skinned Arizonans don’t have any proof of their citizenship on their bodies, it doesn’t matter whether they’re American citizens or not. It’ll be off to detention with them. And if the police departments (and fire departments and health departments and dog catchers) don’t do it, the Minutemen now have standing to take them to court and force them to do it.

Americans from Arizona to California to Florida to Minnesota to Illinois to Connecticut and beyond are protesting this law that creates a police state and threatens the liberties and security of people in Arizona, citizens and noncitizens alike. Americans everywhere are getting upset about this because our liberties are guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and when their applicability is eroded anywhere, they are threatened everywhere else.

The LegalizeAZ website is a center for information updates as protests spread further. At 5 pm this afternoon in Minneapolis Minnesota, for example, people are gathering at the The Hilton Hotel on 1001 Marquette Ave South to voice their outrage at SB 1070, taking advantage of media following Republican Presidential possibility Mike Huckabee as he travels to give a speech. At 7 pm tonight, people are gathering outside a detention facility at 1930 Beach St, Broadview, Illinois for a protest vigil in solidarity with the people of Arizona. Keep checking back at with the LegalizeAZ website or at the Legalize AZ twitter feed.

Update: Also see this list of dozens and dozens of protest marches across the USA planned for May 1, 2010.

14 comments to Protests Against Arizona Immigration Profiling Law Spread Across the United States

  • 1. Isn’t it a federal crime already to be an “illegal” alien in any part of the US?
    2. Is there really, “I have to report you” clause? I can’t find it.
    3. I know some police officers here in AZ and they have not yet received policy guidance on how to enforce this law.
    4. I’ve looked and can’t find the requirement to cary documentation? Are you sure you have the correct bill and not the one promulgated for political distribution?
    5. Yes, you could file a lawsuit for someone not enforcing the law, but there is ample evidence that many laws on the books are already not enforced so precedence would be greatly against you(i.e. the current immigration laws). Perhaps file a complaint would generate more of a nusiance and that is why many of our clients opt to do that.
    6. When the fire department comes, they do establish residence as required, but not citizenship or immigration status.

    I agree this law is big step. Perhaps some of your readers would care to propose other options AZ has to deal with the waves of illegals that commit crime, use our medical facilities, fill our schools, keep this firm busy numerous insurance claims where the other driver has no insurance because they are illegal. Maybe we should put up signs that say, please go home, in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai, Malay, Philipino and Mosquito Indian coastal dialect or whatever.

    Unfortunately, this state, and others will follow, feels compelled to try and get some control of the problem; but I feel it will ultimately fail. They feel compelled because the federal authorities are not fulfilling their constitutional obligation to protect each state from invasion. Then local politicians have to answer to their constituents. For example, Globe AZ’s mayor has to answer to his constituents, so he puts pressure on his state, and federal, representatives. This is a grass roots measure because the problems are felt at the local levels.

    I was at a meeting with some state senators and they have spent a long time on this; some working out details and ideas for years. They described at length the processes they went thru to get to this point. It was a convincing arguement. It (the bill) was framed to implicitly demonstrate the case that federal authorities have for many years been negligent on immigration enforcement. Some, but not all, feared John McCain would become president and his track record would dash their hopes for resolution. In this regard, they breathed a sigh of relief when Obama became president. Duh…now we have this.

  • Jim

    1. This is a state law.
    2. Yes, there is. Look harder.
    3. It just passed one business day ago, which may be why the manuals haven’t been distributed yet.
    4. Well, look harder. I’ve linked here to the bill “promulgated” by the Arizona State Legislature, including all bill history.
    5. Lawsuits are a commonly used way to reinforce application of law. This law gives any citizen standing to enforce the most rigid application of the law.
    6. You just described the way things were. This law changes matters makes all bodies of government at the state level on down do things differently, including checking immigration status and then forwarding it on.

    In our society, no matter how unsafe people may feel, we operate under a compact called the Constitution which limits government intrusion. If you have a problem with that, change the Constitution to give police prerogative to detain people and require people to carry and surrender their papers on notice.

    Unless I’m missing something, there is no provision of the Constitution that requires the federal government to prevent illegal immigration. The words “immigration” and “border” do not appear in the Constitution. “Migration” appears in Section 9, which states that the Congress shall not regulate in-migration (or the slave trade) before 1808. For many, many years in the United States the borders were porous and no great crater opened up and swallowed us all.

    Why do illegal immigrants come to Arizona? Is it to play golf on the excellent? Or is it to take jobs as nannies, gardeners, couriers, waiters, cooks, construction workers and agricultural workers for rich Arizona families and Arizona industries?

    You call immigration an invasion but there is nothing military about the matter.

    Finally, just because people have worked very hard ironing out details of a police state for years doesn’t make it right.

  • 1. disagree-Section 2.A. restates the dependence of AZ SB1070 on Federal law and neither limits federal law or restricts it. In other words, SB1070 must stay within the limits of federal law.
    2. disagree-Here is the version which passed. Where is it? http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070h.pdf
    3. agree-their guideance is likely 60 to 90 days.
    4. disagree-SB1070 cites 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1304(e) OR 1306(a). It is federal law that requires carrying id. See Section 1304(3) here. http://law.onecle.com/uscode/8/1304.html
    5. agree in part- yes lawsuits are common, but normally from organizations. Individuals usually lack the capacity to fulfill, yet the threat is often sufficient.
    6. agree- there is a lot to this bill, I hope many take the time to read it because there is a lot in it that isn’t getting any press at all. it is prohibitive for private individuals to make private agreements with others unless they ensure immigration status. This too me is a more egregious violations of liberty and this may not pass a judicial test.

    I also don’t see a constitutional provision to prevent illegal immigration. However, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, for which USC Sections 1304 and 1306 are pursuant; as provided for in the final clause of Section 8, same article. However, there is an express limitation on bills of attainder(Article 1, Sct 9), which possibly may be construed from AZSB1070. Also, Art 1, Sct 10 prohibits states from bills of attainder as well. I can find no reference to direct legal decisions on this point since 1888; not that there are not any, just that I can’t find them in an hour.

    Perhaps Art 4, Sct 2 sets up conflict with other states….full faith and credit?

    Art 4 Sct 4 “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” This article is nowhere directly addressed in AZ SB1070, however, there are numerous references to criminal activity carried out by illegal aliens.

    Finally, I’m not trying to justify SB1070. I find much of it problematic if not contrary to what I’ve thought of as free principles all citizens and guests should enjoy. But I do believe it is within the realm of a state’s rights to try and deal with any problems it sees, whatever they are, as long as they stay within federal law, as defined by Article 4.

  • ramone

    papers please!
    maybe this is a wake up call for tea partiers. the party is over! or, guess who’s crashing the party? i would love to see the backlash to this “gestapo state” mentality carry straight through to the fall elections.
    do arizonans realize the jail space they will soon be in short supply of?
    “sorry, i forgot my papers.” “too bad, you go to jail!”
    “but, i was born here, fourth generation!” “too bad, you go to jail.”
    “but, my great grandfather was an apache chief.” “even worse, you go to jail!”
    “but, i’m white and retire here for the winter.” “oh, sorry we inconvenienced you sir. next time stay on the right side of the freeway.” :)
    where do the tax dollars come from for this? everybody knows, tea partiers don’t pay taxes.

  • Jim

    1. You disagree that this is a state law? Or do you disagree on some other point? Are you aware of the important enforcement difference between a federal versus a state crime?
    2. Pages 1 and 2.
    4. The law creates a state violation with its own punishments much more harsh than the federal, with the additional effect (consider point 1) of being a matter to be enforced by police officers in the State of Arizona, not just federal border patrol agents.

    Setting up rules of naturalization is about citizenship, not on who can be in the country.

    Don’t restrict yourself to Article 4 (your reading of which regarding “invasion” is a real stretch.) The Constitution declares itself to be the Supreme Law of the Land, and all laws must conform to its requirements. They include among other things the 4th Amendment, which establishes a standard not of suspicion of status for search and collection of a person’s papers, but of demonstrable probable cause.

    To the extent that the Tea Party people really care about the Constitution and the control of government power (an issue I’ve been examining lately), they really should be standing in opposition to SB 1070. I don’t see evidence of such opposition.

    • I’ve spent the evening being angry with you, I’m over it, but we are missing the elephant in the room. What value states’ rights? Do states have to live with the problems not adequately addressed by the Federal Government? Is that part of the contract to be in the Union? I don’t know, but I’m very concerned that more states will start to go this direction. Just because states have rights to do things, they can have enormous consequences. For example, several states are considering allowing the manufacture and sale of weapons and ammunition for only in their borders. This frees them from the ICC regulations, and numerous federal rules governing the sale and ownership of firearms. Only a fool thinks this would stay contained within a single state.

      If the states, rightly or wrongly, start to feel the Federal government doesn’t meet it’s needs, (one of my problems with the tea party) then it will start to stray in important and dangerous ways.

    • Jim, it sounds like you want to see “what defines probable cause” spelled out. Yes?

      Also, what do you suggest as an alternative, to handle the overwhelming illegal immigration problem in the Southwestern border states?

      Bear in mind that those states have begged the Federal government to step up and enforce its own existing immigration laws for decades, with no meaningful result.

      • JennyD, if the immigration problem is truly “overwhelming”, then how come we haven’t been overwhelmed yet? Really, anti-foreigner activists have been screeching about this so called crisis for years and years now, but we’re all still truckin’, right?

        You know what the real crisis is? There’s a deficit of decency. We’ve been overwhelmed by disrespect for the Constitution. We’ve been drowned in the hype and hate of Homeland Security.

  • stopdainsanity2

    Children are Watching

    by stopdainsanity2

    When I entered kindergarten – I was put into a class for the mentally retarded (because I lived in a neighborhood with a growing population of families of mexican descent). My teacher assumed I did not speak English and required special bilingual support which was not available at the time. Yes – I was a Mexican-American citizen child.

    It literally took 2 weeks for my parents to force the school to place me in the mainstream kindergarten class — even though I could respond to questions in English. At the time if was easier for frustrated- overworked teachers (not bad people), who felt school district should have a place for spanish speaking children to learn (reasonable), to send me to the special needs class – no questions asked-based on my skin color. Although the error was corrected, as a child I never lost the feeling I was not welcomed and somehow my rights as a citizen were not equal to those of white americans. Be careful – children are watching.

  • Luis Z.

    I think the law is just the beginning. I live in a small town of Illinois called Carpentersville (60110) and yesterday they were pulling over people they suspected not to have a drivers licence. Acts like this are racist and shouldn’t be tolerated.

  • Jeff

    Everyone keeps using the argument”they don’t have the right to ask for papers or IDS.” Really?

    Have you ever been driving down the road late at knight, minding your own business. what is that ahead in the road? It’s a police safety check point, where they will ask to see license,insurance,and proof of ownership for the vehicle you are driving. They can run you ID for warrants or anything they want at this point.
    What is the difference. Not one person pulled into the check point was doing anything but driving. So to say the police have no way to enforce this law without profiling, is just playing the race card. all police check points require anyone of any race to show ID.

    • Grady

      You’re right Jeff they do, police check points require anyone of any race to show ID. In arizona you have to if your are mexican not of any race but only one race.

  • brenda

    you are a fucken jack ass !!! and fucken ignorant.

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