Arizona Senate Bill SB 1070: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2930/sb-1070.pdf
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog concerning the Arizona illegal immigration law (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684510454&v=box_3#!/note.php?note_id=389217497343) and did extensive research proving that the law neither promotes racial profiling nor is unconstitutional. After educating myself about the law and situation in Arizona, I assumed that anyone who had actually read the bill would certainly approve of it. Based upon a recent Rasmussen report, concerning the American people as a whole I was correct. 60% of people nationwide are supportive of the law and 55% welcome such a law in their own state. I am proud to say that Kris Kobach, the drafter of the Arizona law, is considering drafting a similar law in Kansas. 71% of Arizonians support the law, which is up from 64% in late April. Governor Jan Brewer, who has sometimes been compared to Hitler by the very far, radical left, has seen a 19 point gain in the Republican primary. Even with the national support for the law, it seems as if a boycott or rally against the law takes places every other day. As far as the boycotts go, 68% of Americans see these boycotts as a bad idea and 40% would actually avoid doing business with organizations that boycott Arizona. The situation is quickly becoming out of control, which is why even further clarification is necessary in regards to the law.
The most common argument from the left is that this law will promote racial profiling. This is simply not logical regarding the Arizona law (See previous blog post for further clarification). The law actually specifically bans racial profiling SIX times. In sections 2, 3, 4, and 5, the law states: “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not 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.” Not only does it prevent racial profiling in these sections, the law also mirrors the Arizona and United States Constitutions. In sections 6 and 8, the law states: “the attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color, or national origin.” There is even a provision in the bill to clarify the procedure that occurs when an officer does use racial profiling in the questioning of a suspect. In section 2, the law states: “Except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith, a law enforcement officer is indemnified by the law enforcement officer’s agency against reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred by the officer in connection with any action, suit or proceeding brought pursuant to this section in which the officer may be a defendant by reason of the officer being or having been a member of the law enforcement agency.” This means that if an officer is sued for racial profiling and is deemed innocent, his legal fees will be paid by the law enforcement agency he/she belongs to. If the officer is found guilty, not only will he/she likely lose his/her job, but he/she will also be required to pay all legal fees. That sure sounds like an incentive to avoid racial profiling to me.
The Arizona law also prevents racial profiling because it requires reasonable suspicion for an officer to question a person about their immigration status. This reasonable suspicion actually takes two steps as well. A law enforcement agent must have reasonable suspicion that a suspect has, is, or is about to engage in criminal activity in order to question the suspect. Then, they must also have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, a police officer can pull someone over and question them if they are speeding, but cannot ask about the person’s immigration status unless they have reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant. As the law states, a law enforcement agent cannot ask for someone’s immigration status in the process of a routine traffic stop (or other situation) simply because of race. They must have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant. For example, reasonable suspicion would exist if a law enforcement agent were to pull someone over who was speeding across the Mexican-American border with about fifteen people in their back seat. In that case, the law enforcement agents would be able to reasonably suspect that the person driving, as well as the people in the back seat with all of their belongings are illegally present in the country. For a more commonplace example, according to Stephen Saltzburg, law professor at George Washington University, law enforcement agents would be allowed to ask for a person's immigration status if the suspect had an invalid driver's license, did not speak English, and did not cooperate with officials.
Ironically, the Arizona law does more to prevent racial profiling than the Federal law does regarding the questioning of a person’s immigration status. In the case Muehler v. Mena, Derin Muehler and his team received a search warrant to search a residence they believed to be the “safe house” for a gang that had recently perpetrated a series of drive-by shootings. Upon entering the house, they found 18 year old Iris Mena in her bed, handcuffed her, and questioned her about her immigration status (without reasonable suspicion mind you). She stated that she was a legal immigrant and revealed that her documents were in her purse. Without Mena’s permission, Muehler searched through her purse and verified her immigration status. After the ordeal, Iris Mena and her father sued Muehler and his officers for violating the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the 9th circuit court (the same circuit in which Arizona is located; a very liberal circuit), a jury ruled with Mena, and Muehler and his partner were ordered to pay damages. The two officers promptly appealed to the Supreme Court, where a unanimous vote reversed the circuit court’s decision. Therefore, the detainment and questioning of Mena’s immigration status, according to the Supreme Court, did NOT violate the 4th Amendment. According to this 2005 precedent, under Federal law, it is legally acceptable for officers to question a person about their immigration status without any sort of reasonable suspicion. As compared to the Federal law, the Arizona law is much stricter and does more to protect legal and illegal immigrants alike. According to the Obama administration’s complaints about the law, they should be celebrating Arizona’s decision, not attacking it. For me, the real question is, why? Why is the left attacking such a rational, fair law without even reading it? Personally, I believe that it is an effort to cause civil unrest and fierce debate in anticipation of the 2010 elections, but at this point that is simply speculation. The unfounded, harsh attacks not just on the law, but Arizona itself confuse me because they are unnecessary. I could potentially see where someone might have a problem with the current Federal law, but why is that not the law these supposed “pro-immigrant” (illegal immigrant actually) rallies are protesting?
There is currently at least one lawsuit against the Arizona law pending in the 9th circuit, but I am completely confident that the law will remain standing, mostly because three similar illegal immigration laws in Arizona drafted within the past decade have gone through the courts and remained on the books. These court cases relied on the precedent set in the 1976 case De Canas v. Bica, in which the Supreme Court ruled that states (California in that case) may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration as long as Federal law does not explicitly forbid the law in question. Since the Arizona law almost completely mirrors the current Federal law, the precedent applies. Another case in the 9th circuit Gonzales v. City of Peoria, in 1983 stated that “although the regulation of immigration is unquestionably an exclusive federal power, it is clear that this power does not preempt every state activity affecting aliens.” It goes on to say, when “state enforcement activities do not impair federal regulatory interests concurrent enforcement is authorized.” The Court accordingly held “that Federal law does not preclude local enforcement of the criminal provisions” of Federal immigration law.
Despite all of the legal precedent backing up the Arizona law, countless Obama administration officials have come out and attacked the law. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the law “has the possibility of leading to racial profiling.” He did not back up his point, mostly because he did not actually read the law, which was revealed as Holder was being questioned by Representative Ted Poe. How is it that Holder knows so much about the law when he has not even read it? As an attorney, I would assume that Holder would know to be prepared before he gives his opinion on a legal matter, but apparently he has yet to learn that lesson. Soon after Holder’s statements, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, stated that the Arizona law was “misguided” and that it was a “bad law enforcement law.” What I find almost laughable is that not only did Napolitano admit to not reading the law herself when questioned by John McCain, but that she was formerly the governor of Arizona. This means that she signed into law the three previous anti-illegal immigration laws that the state has passed in the last decade. Has her opinion suddenly changed since she’s joined the Obama administration? Even the president himself did not appear to have read the law when he stated, “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.” Do I even need to explain how many things are wrong with this statement? No President Obama, as far as I know, getting ice cream with your kids is not a crime. Even if a law enforcement agent were to do what President Obama is suggesting, they would lose their job and be sued by the people they “harassed.”
Now it is time for the “hypocrisy section” starring Mexico and China. Last week, when Mexican president Calderon visited President Obama, he had a few things to say about the Arizona law. He stated that the law “introduces a terrible idea that uses racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement,” and further perpetuated the ignorance of the argument against the law. What I find absolutely disgusting is the fact that the Democrats (and maybe a few Republicans, I am not sure) gave him a standing ovation! A foreign leader comes to our soil and attacks our laws in the House of Representatives and we applaud him for it? That’s like praising a dinner guest who attacks your food, home, and choice of decorations while defying the unwritten rules of common courtesy. President Calderon revealed himself as a complete hypocrite when he later participated in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Blitzer asked: “Do Mexican police go around asking for papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants?” Calderon replied, “Of course. Of course, in the border, we are asking the people, who are you?” Blitzer went on to question: “So in other words, if somebody sneaks in from Nicaragua or some other country in Central America, through the southern border of Mexico, they wind up in Mexico, they can go get a job…?” Calderon replied, “No, no. If- if somebody does that without permission, we send back- we send back them.” I had to read the transcript a few times to fully understand the ramifications of Calderon’s statements. According to Calderon, illegal immigrants in Mexico are questioned without reasonable suspicion and then deported if they do not have the correct documents. Wait…isn’t that what he attacked Arizona for? After reviewing Mexico’s laws regarding illegal immigration for myself, I have come to the conclusion that Calderon is nothing more than a hypocrite. I hate to speak ill of a foreign leader, but Calderon’s own words speak for themselves. The illegal immigration laws in Mexico are draconian at best. Unlike in the United States, in Mexico, it is a felony to be in the country illegally. An illegal immigrant can be imprisoned for two years without due process on the first offense, and up to ten years on the second offense. A person guilty of a Visa violation can be held up to six years. Let’s just say that, if you cross the border into Mexico illegally, you are not heard from for a while. Mexico also deports foreigners who are detrimental to “economic or national interests” or do not have the “necessary funds for their sustenance.” They can also be barred from entering or deported if their presence “upsets the equilibrium of national demographics.” If a person is found to do the latter, wouldn’t such a finding require investigation into the person’s race? Under the Arizona law, that is certainly not legal, but in Mexico, it’s fair game. Additionally, 67% of Americans feel that Mexico does not want to halt its citizens from entering the United States illegally, further worsening the problem of illegal immigration.
After Arizona’s immigration law became a joke in Mexico, what was next? China of course! Yes I said it, China now is aware of the “problem” Arizona law. It’s nice to know that a country such as China which has a great devotion to human rights has taken an interest in illegal immigration in America (not). Recently, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner (who has also not read the law by the way; I am starting to see a trend here), stated that while in China, he brought up the Arizona law “early and often” as an example of our “civil rights violations” (I use that term very lightly). He also saw the law “as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination.” Not only did Posner attack American laws in a foreign country, but he chose to mock our legal system in CHINA. Need I mention the laundry list of human rights violations China is guilty of? China boasts most likely the highest number of abortions in the world, treats female children with distain, gives little to no freedom of anything, and controls all religion. Unlike in Mexico, where illegal immigrants are only temporarily detained, China’s immigration laws are much more severe. Let’s just say, if you cross over the border into China illegally, it is likely you will never be heard from ever again.
Lastly, there is the issue of boycotts and rallies to be addressed. Currently while I am writing this, there is a story on the news about rival rallies (pro-sb 1070 and anti- sb 1070) going on right now in Phoenix. I am sincerely worried that this situation is going to spiral out of control very quickly. The tension is high everywhere, and to me, it does not make sense considering the nature of the Arizona law. The entire city of Los Angeles has started a boycott against Arizona and the Phoenix Suns have made their displeasure known in regards to the law by wearing “Los Suns” jerseys during their recent games. A fan wearing a t-shirt supporting SB 1070 was actually kicked out of the arena despite the fact that he legally bought a ticket. I personally would like to know what the arena security would do if a fan were to illegally enter the arena and watch a game without buying a ticket. According to the principles of the Obama administration, Los Angeles (and probably all of California for that matter), and the Phoenix Suns, that would be a perfectly just thing to do.