Ever since Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in Arizona, I've been anxious to read it. There's been a lot of hype about it on both sides. A lot of people are angry about it and calling it racist and unconstitutional. Well, I finally read the bill and I find it rather reasonable. Basically it states:
"Cooperation and assistance in enforcement of 15 immigration laws; indemnification for any lawful contact stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made when practicable to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation.
Any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. The person's immigration status shall be verified with the Federal Government pursuant to 8 USC 1373(c).
A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution. A person is presumed not to be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:
-A valid Arizona Drivers License
-A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license
-A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
-If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States Federal, State, or Local Government issued identification. "
"Except as provided in federal law, officials or agencies of this state and counties, cities, towns and other political subdivisions of this state may not be prohibited or in any way be restricted from sending, receiving, or maintaining information relating to the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual or exchanging that information with any other federal, state, or local governmental entity for the following official purposes:
-Determining eligibility for any public benefit, service or license provided by any federal, state, local or other political subdivision of this state.
-Verifying any claim of residence or domicile if determination of residence or domicile is required under the laws of this state or a judicial order issued pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in this state."
That's the jist of it and for the life of me I can't find any violation(s) of the Constitution. Every day in America thousands of motorists are pulled over for one reason or another. The police have a right to ask for identification when they pull you over. In Arizona, a motorist should have a driver license. In Arizona, illegal aliens cannot obtain a drivers license therefore an illegal alien pulled over at a routine traffic stop (broken light, speeding, or routine safety check) would not be able to produce a legal license, thus s/he would be in big trouble.
As to non-motorists, that gets interesting. Say a group of young hispanic males is walking down the street minding their own business. Legally speaking, the police cannot question these young men unless there is reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion excludes race and national origin. Will some police fail to abide by this? Sure they will. But in a state like Arizona where there are illegals on every corner, I believe the police will be busy enough catching illegals through legal methods as described in the bill.
The police do have the right however to target a certain group of individuals in cases of criminal behavior. Let's say in a town a group of four hispanic males with certain physical descriptions is said to have committed a crime. During the police search, it would be reasonable for them to stop a group of young hispanic males matching that description, no? Maybe they are illegal, maybe they are not? But the police have the right to profile in order to solve crimes.
The great thing is if an individual, specifically a citizen is targeted by the police and harassed because the police believe s/he is an illegal and it is later determined they are not, there is always recourse in the courts. If an individual truly thinks their Constitutional rights were violated then the courts give that person the chance to seek retribution.
This isn't about race, color or national origin, it's about a state upholding a federal law in an effort to save itself. The members of Congress bitching this bill is unconstitutional haven't read it yet or just don't understand it because if they did they would see that this bill supports existing federal law. Members of Congress swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps they should be reminded that on election day.