Arizona Governor Signs Immigration Bill into Law President Obama Calls It Misguided

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Senate Bill 1070).  The Act requires law enforcement officials to attempt to determine the immigration status of any person that they believe to be an alien unlawfully present in the United States. Polls suggest that 70 percent of Arizona voters favor the law.

Includes Training to Help Police Officers Avoid Racial Profiling

The Republican governor also issued an executive order that requires additional training for local officers on how to implement the law without engaging in racial profiling or discrimination.

"This training will include what does and does not constitute reasonable suspicion that a person is not legally present in the United States," Brewer said after signing the bill.  "Racial profiling is illegal. It is illegal in America, and it's certainly illegal in Arizona," Brewer said.

Arizona Criticized for What is Already Federal Law

Brewer also noted that it is 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.

The most controversial provision of Senate Bill 1070 requires, “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 determinate the immigration status of the person….”

Other controversial provisions include:
  • Prohibiting state, city or county officials from limiting or restricting “the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” The provision is intended to prevent “sanctuary cities” that adopt policies viewed as protecting undocumented aliens.
  • Making it a crime to be an illegal immigrant present in Arizona by creating a state charge for “willful failure to complete or carry an alien-registration document.”
  • Making it a crime for a person to “conceal, harbor or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor or shield an alien from detection in any place in this state ... if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the United States in violation of the law.”
  • Allowing a peace officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe the person “to be arrested has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”
  • Requiring a peace officer to remove and either immobilize or impound a vehicle if the officer determines that a person is “transporting or moving or attempting to transport or move” an alien in the furtherance of the illegal presence of an alien in the United States.
  • The statute makes it a crime for an occupant of a motor vehicle “that is stopped on to street, roadway or highway, to attempt to hire or hire and pick up passengers for work at a different location” if the vehicle blocks or impedes the normal flow of traffic. This provision also makes it a crime for unlawful aliens to “apply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor in this state.”
In a speech made prior to the Act’s enactment, President Barack Obama called the statute “misguided” and said he has directed his administration to “closely monitor” the civil-rights implications of the statute.  
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