If you are not aware of a recent immigration reform bill that was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer … well, these events took place on Friday.  Your lack of knowledge doesn’t mean you should stop reading, rather, you should provide your individual filter to my six step approach to forming an individual opinion about Arizona SB1070, the new law at issue.

Step 1. Read the bill.  Arizona SB1070

(This is something that President Obama, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emanuel, George Soros, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ariana Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, and or Markos Moulitsas would advise you against.  They prefer to spoon feed you their disinformation and hope you aren’t intelligent enough to check it or you believe them that they understand the law better.  Assuming arguendo that you trust the previously mentioned sources, I encourage you to follow President Reagan’s advice – “Trust, but verify”)

Step 2. Recognize that pursuant to Arizona regulations this law goes into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

Despite what you may have heard or will hear, this law isn’t presently in effect.  Thus, the Arizona state law enforcement, including those who work for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, cannot legitimately pull anyone over, temporarily detain on the sidewalk, question anyone etc., pursuant to this law until after the effective date in September or October depending on the end of session.

Step 3.  Go to news.google.com or any other news search engine and search for “SB1070″ or “Arizona Immigration Law”.  Read a few articles or blog posts.  Any surprises?

Step 4. Recognize that there are a few “stereo instructions in a foreign language” in this bill (aka the law as written)

  • Paragraph B on Page 1 (Page 2 of the PDF):

There must “reasonable suspicion” to inquire as to immigration status. Since the US is a melting pot full of immigrants from all over the country, an accent, skin tone, last name, etc. do not provide reasonable suspicion.  What is reasonable suspicion? It’s for law enforcement and the courts to decide.  If legislature does not agree, they have a check on judiciary and can amend the law.

  • Paragraph I on page 2 (Page 3 of the PDF)

This involves the peace officer having his/her legal fees paid if he was acting as trained and pursuant to policy and someone attempts to sue him/her in court for violating their civil rights.  Moreover, as you can see, if the officer acts outside of policy and training guidelines then the officer pays.  This is essentially passing a law that puts into code what is already common law (case law).

  • Paragraph E on page 4 (page 5 of the PDF)

Despite what you have heard about racial profiling, suspicion of immigrant status is not a primary offense Thus, a citizen can’t be pulled over just because a peace officer suspects the citizen is an illegal immigrant.  They must commit a traffic violation.  While minor traffic violations such as a taillight out have resulted in DUIs due to citizen being pulled over while intoxicated, such a minor traffic violation combined with verification of illegal status could result in incarceration and eventual deportation.

Step 5.  Read SB1070 one more time.

Step 6.  Remember that illegal immigrants made a conscious choice to break the law and trespass in the United States.

The failure of law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants for breaking the law, no matter the duration of time in which they have been knowingly violating the law,  in no way constitutes waiver.  Think of someone who travels at 5 miles per hour over the speed limit on the same road on a regular basis.  He/she has passed a squad car on the route but has never been warned or ticketed.  Then, one day an officer writes that person a ticket for traveling at 5 over.  There is no defense that the law enforcement agency waived its right to punish you because it didn’t pull you over every time you broke the law.

If nothing else, you have done something that many have not…actually read the bill.  Thus, if you are engaged in debate with friend, family, online debate opponent, etc you are able to respond in the affirmative if questioned about reading the bill  (also, assists you in ending pointless conversations when someone admits they have not read the bill).  This will assist you in filtering out the substantive debate.   The nonsubstantive, sometimes emotional debate is not often based in law or fact but on misinformation or intentional omission of relevant facts that would help people make the decision for themselves.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota.  This blog post does not constitute, nor should any reader interpret this as legal advice.  Moreover, by reading this blog, neither you nor any of your affiliates who you may relay this blog post or contents thereof to, whether in writing or verbally, are engaging me as your legal counsel.  This is legal policy analysis intended to further debate.  Again, this blog post does not constitute, nor should any reader interpret this as legal advice.

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One Response to “6 steps to an individual opinion on Arizona’s new immigration law”

  1. Jess says:

    So I just read the actual Arizona immigration bill, and I cannot believe all the hype and controversy over this–all it is doing is reiterating federal law — that if police have a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien, then the person in question has the burden of proof to prove they are not — i.e. by showing identification… This is not that big of a deal considering legal aliens are required to carry documentation at all times. It’s also not that different from Terry stops (which in non-legalese basically gives police the power to pull someone over and briefly detain them if they have reasonable suspicion that that person has committed, or is about to commit, a crime. So whether or not you agree with the reasonable suspicion standard that grants police the right to question in regards to citizenship, this is already codified in federal law, and everyone needs to settle down on Arizona, the “police state.”

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