Last week, in case you hadn’t heard, Arizona passed a law subjecting law-abiding U.S. citizens and residents to warrantless search and detention without probable cause.
You read that right. Don’t let someone limit discussion of this new law, SB 1070, to illegal immigration and their illegal illegality, because the truth is that the law does not only apply to people who break the law. Indeed, the central problem is that this Arizona law violates the greater constitutional law in order to accost people, search them and detain them without probable cause to believe they have done a single thing wrong. Under the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land, a person cannot be searched and have their papers and effects seized except on the basis of “probable cause,” actual evidence indicating that this person has broken the law. It’s spelled out in the 4th Amendment.
Instead of following the requirements of the constitution and demanding probable cause before action, Arizona law SB 1070 allows — no, requires — a police officer to demand that any old person walking down the street produce documentation to prove they aren’t an illegal immigrant, if the police officer so much as suspects the person might be an illegal immigrant. Then, if that person doesn’t have proof of their citizenship or legal immigration status on them, the police officer is to send the person off to detention until they can prove their legal status. SB 1070 actually allows anyone in Arizona (think Minutemen) to bring a lawsuit and inflict significant financial penalties on any city or town in Arizona for not pursuing such action to the fullest extent possible.
Your papers, please! Papiere, bitte! Search and detention on mere suspicion, not on the basis of probable cause. A free state turned into a police state. Is this the America you believe in?
Millions of Americans are voicing their firm “NO!” Yesterday, I noted that more than 70 cities across the nation had organized protests for this Saturday, May 1 in favor of saner, more humane, more constitutional immigration, search and detention policy. Well, in just 24 hours that number has grown even larger. As of this hour, the American cities and towns hosting protest marches number nearly 100. In addition to the cities I listed yesterday, these communities have added their own protests over the last day:
New Orleans, LA
Las Vegas, NV
You don’t have to be or even know an illegal immigrant to have this issue affect you. All you need to do is look at yourself in the mirror before you step out on the street and ask yourself, “Do I look like an illegal immigrant today?”