Another day brings another batch of opinions on Arizona’s new immigration/racial-profiling law, and pretty amazingly, opinion seems to be coalescing around the belief that the law is at least a huge overreach and at worst unconstitutional.
Our first clue that the law might have problems came when we read this nincompoop:
So Arizona passes a law that says local Law Enforcement Officers will enforce Federal Laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS. Is there anybody on the left that understands the definition of Illegal?
When any crime happens, police often ask everybody in the immediate area for identification. If a speeding car is pulled over and it appears the occupants of said auto are intoxicated, then all are asked for identification. Arrests are made accordingly if some of the riders are under age. isn’t that profiling? What is the difference?
Ah yes, the old they’re-just-enforcing-the-laws bit. No one disagrees that illegal immigrants are breaking the law and should be treated as such. The issue is with enforcement and with how legality is determined. According to one of the bill’s authors:
In enforcing the provisions of the bill, law enforcement has the discretion to verify immigration status “when practicable” and may not verify “if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.”
The phrase “when practicable” allows the officers on the street discretion to determine priority between verifying immigration status or answering additional calls for dangerous crimes elsewhere.
In other words, when cops are free, they should spend their time going up to people who look “illegal” and asking them for their paperwork, which, based on the law, everyone is now required to carry. In fact, not carrying immigration papers is now a misdemeanor in Arizona. It’s not as easy as the silly analogy above; there’s no swerving car to let you know someone’s an illegal. The signs are the language one speaks, the color of one’s skin and maybe the clothes he wears. That’s the difference. Furthermore, the new law frees up citizens to sue their local government and agencies if they think they’re not doing enough to enforce the law and immigration standards. Note: this is all coming from the party of less and smaller government.
But back to the question at hand — Dopey’s question: what in the heck is wrong with straight cold enforcin’ laws on the books? How about we ask Karl Rove:
I think there is going to be some constitutional problems with the bill,” Rove reportedly said at a senior community center in The Villages, Forida, where he made a stop on his book tour. “I wished they hadn’t passed it, in a way.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he thinks Arizona’s new immigration law is unconstitutional and that “it doesn’t represent the best way forward” when it comes to addressing illegal immigration.
Again with the Constitution!
I strongly disagree with the Arizona immigration law,” said Diaz-Balart. “It alters American tradition and long-standing policy making immigration law enforcement a federal matter.
“And it strikes fear in the hearts of many American citizens and legal residents,” said the congressman, who has long championed comprehensive immigration reform.
Ah, but of course he’d say that; he’s Mexican!
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who’s famous for staunch anti-immigration stands and calling Miami a “third-world country”?
Tancredo applauds the law in that Arizona took control of enforcing laws the federal government hasn’t enforced.
But he questions how police can stop people for any reason. “I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like [you] should be pulled over,” says Tancredo.
Florida teabagger senate candidate Marco Rubio?
From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens.
Maybe this is all unfair though. The original question, of course, was asked of dirty libruls, and all we could find was a host of conservative opposition to the bill on account of its being, ya know, unconstitutional. Oh well, maybe next time.