Over the past few days, we’ve watched as protesters for and against illegal immigrants have took to the streets over this bill. So I decided to dig deeper in an effort to educate myself on what this bill is – and is not.
Here’s what I’ve found:
- This legislation is not a new series of laws. It is a series of addendums to laws already in force in the state.
- This legislation does not make illegal any action or inaction that is not already illegal because of Federal statutes.
- My interpretation (which I’ve found substantiation for from legal experts far more learned than I) of this legislation is that it simply says that state and local law enforcement officers in Arizona are being empowered by the state legislature to detect aliens who are in this country illegally when they have already been contacted on suspicion of another illegality, and if the situation warrants, cooperate with Federal agents for detention, punishment and deportation as necessary.
- MYTH: This new immigration law is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, because it demands that aliens register with the governments and carry their legal documentation with them at all times. (Hold on. I have to laugh hysterically before I respond to this.) The requirement for aliens to register with the government and carry their legal documentation with them at all times stems from and 8 US Code 1302(a) and (b) and 8 US Code 1304(e). Federal laws, in other words. In practical application, this is no different from a requirement to carry a passport with you when you travel overseas, or a driver’s license with you when you operate a motor vehicle. Check out the Federal statutes’ language:
(a) It shall be the duty of every alien now or hereafter in the United States, who
(1) is fourteen years of age or older,
(2) has not been registered and fingerprinted under section 1201(b) of this title or section 30 or 31 of the Alien Registration Act, 1940, and
(3) remains in the United States for thirty days or longer, to apply for registration and to be fingerprinted before the expiration of such thirty days.
(b) It shall be the duty of every parent or legal guardian of any alien now or hereafter in the United States, who
(1) is less than fourteen years of age,
(2) has not been registered under section 1201(b)of this title or section 30 or 31 of the Alien Registration Act, 1940, and
(3) remains in the United States for thirty days or longer, to apply for the registration of such alien before the expiration of such thirty days. Whenever any alien attains his fourteenth birthday in the United States he shall, within thirty days thereafter, apply in person for registration and to be fingerprinted.
8 US Code 1304(e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties
Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
- Myth: This law allows police officers to willfully discriminate against people, and arrest them, because of how they look.
(Sorry. I’m laughing again. Always amazes me how many people have *no idea* of what goes on in law enforcement.) This myth is just plain silly. Here are quotes from the bill, and my interpretations:
E. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.LEOs make arrests all the time without a warrant and based solely on probable cause. A vast majority of these arrests are never challenged. Those that are are upheld, again, a vast majority of the time, because “probable cause” is a fairly fluid construct that is based upon an officer’s good judgment based upon just the facts at hand, and is generally only overturned if overt discrimination or gross misuse of judgment can be proven. As I said above, that doesn’t often happen.
E. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A PEACE OFFICER MAY LAWFULLY STOP ANY PERSON WHO IS OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IF THE OFFICER HAS REASONABLE SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THE PERSON IS IN VIOLATION OF ANY CIVIL TRAFFIC LAW ANDMy hunch is that this section is the one the protesters are most often referring to when they blast off about racial profiling. What’s interesting is that this is an addendum to an Arizona law that has to do with human smuggling. In other words, the “target” of this section wouldn’t be the illegal alien, necessarily, but the person who is sneaking them in. Still think they’re going to get stopped for being brown?
Many parts of the remainder of the bill pertain to it being illegal to employ illegal aliens, and it being illegal for illegal aliens to seek work. And the problem here is…? In most cases, the 2010 legislation makes only minor addendums to law already in force in the case of illegal alien employment. The bill also very deliberately lays out defenses to prosecution based upon entrapment, while also specifying that an employer can only be held culpable if they KNOWINGLY employ an illegal alien.
Some final thoughts, based upon my observations of the reactions of others:
- Many people have no idea of (a) normal and legal law enforcement practices, (b) what racial profile actually means and entails, and (c) what laws pertaining to illegal aliens already exist and are in force.
- “Undocumented alien” is beyond a misnomer. These folks are “ILLEGAL aliens” who have willfully broken the laws of the United States of America. This is a slap in the face to millions of Americans who have immigrated to the United States LEGALLY and with no small expenditure of time and effort.
- Advocating a broad amnesty bill simply because various government agencies have thrown up their hands and said that they can’t possibly put 12 million people on busses and send them home is asinine. Not doing anything is unacceptable. Giving a free pass is unacceptable. Let’s start by actually empowering LEOs throughout the country to enforce the immigration laws of our land rather than tying their hands through bureaucracies and hypocrisies.