Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Arizona's SB1070

Arizona's anti-immigrant SB1070 became law on Friday, April 23, with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer's signature; the provisions are scheduled to take effect July 29.

Arizona's anti-Constitutional SB1070 and police practices in some areas are a challenge that requires the federal government to step in and insure that that the rights of everyone, citizens and non-citizens, are protected from rogue police and even a rogue state legislature. This is not to say that Arizona is some kind of political monolith, even among whites. On the contrary, the protest against the law and against racial profiling has been more intense in Arizona than anywhere else. Including city mayors and city councils pursuing legal challenges to SB1070. Federalism in action, in a good way: local governments opposing the state government's bad, impractical and un-Constitutional law.

Michael Lacey in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Reign of Terror Becomes State Policy, Thanks to State Senator Russell Pearce and Governor Phoenix New Times Jan Brewer 04/29/10 reports on the model for racial profiling and abuse of police power set by the infamous Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County:

Senate Bill 1070 instructs police officers to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they have a "reasonable suspicion" may be in the country illegally.

Critics point out that the new legislation allows individuals to be stopped absent criminal behavior. The demand to know whether a person's papers are in order smacks of an authoritarianism not seen in this country in recent memory. ...

Arpaio has explained clearly how he and his deputies determine which individuals are brown Mexicans and which are brown Americans.

"If you look like you came from Mexico," Arpaio told listeners of KPHO radio, that will get you searched.

On national television, Glenn Beck was informed by Arpaio of his standard: "If local law enforcement comes across some people that have erratic, or scared, or whatever, you know, they're worried . . . And if they have, their speech, whatever they look like, if they just look like they came from another country, we can take care of that situation."

Last year, Arpaio informed the GQ magazine that Mexicans are contagious.

"All these people that come over, they come with disease. There's no control. No health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables. How come they don't check people? No one talks about that!

"They're all dirty."

And Lacey reasonably points out how Barack Obama is again handling a serious problem by saying some nice-sounding things in public and then letting the official misconduct continue:

Initially, 1070 even caught the eye of President Barack Obama, who labeled it a misguided effort to address border issues that the federal government had ducked. But his promise to move immigration to the top of his agenda faded three days later. The president was soon telling journalists that with all of the political capital expended on healthcare, now was not the time to tackle such an incendiary issue.

Resorting to Orwellian syntax, the president abused decency in declaring that immigration could not be addressed before mid-term elections "just for the sake of politics."

America's first black president's dodging racial profiling goes well beyond irony.
On April 30, Brewer signed SB2162 into law, making some minor amendments that look to me to be aimed at helping the law to survive court challenges on racial profiling, rather than substantially modifying any of its features.

Louis Jacobson writes for the St. Petersburg Times in Barking dogs, racial profiling and the Ariz. law 05/04/10

On April 30, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a bill that made several important changes. Because of these changes, we've produced two new fact-checking items based on the revised bill. (Our old items are now outdated, but they can still be found here and here.)

One of our new items addresses the role played by "racial profiling" -- that is, the use of racial or ethnic characteristics as a justification for police questioning. The changes included additional language that said, "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."

But experts we spoke to were skeptical of Brewer's claim that this language would "lay to rest questions over the possibility of racial profiling." We rated this statement Barely True.
Alia Beard Rau and Ginger Rough in The Arizona immigration law hit with its first 3 lawsuits Arizona Republic 04/30/10 characterized the changes in a similar way, in an article written before the amendments were signed.

For a law that so much discussed and is not that long, it's surprisingly challenging to get to an authoritative copy of the final version signed by Brewer. The Arizona legislature's page on SB1070 at this writing shows an introduced version, a senate version and a house version. The house version in Sec. 2(C) specifies which documents will be legally considered sufficient to establish legal residency, a feature missing from the senate version. It is listed as the chaptered (adopted) version. It seems to have been this amendment that added the document specification. (I had previously assumed that the senate version was the adopted one, excluding any specification of acceptable documents.) According to the law, a valid driver's license from any US state is acceptable. But what if one of Shurff Arpaio's cops thinks it "looks fake"?

The legislative page on SB2162 shows the conference version as the adopted one. Here More on the amendments: Alan Silverleib, Arizona governor signs changes into immigration law CNN 05/01/10; Amendment to Arizona’s SB1070 Immigration Law, Meaningful Change or Lip Service? Brave New Wave 04/30/10;

Other posts on how Jim Crow type laws and a racially discriminatory atmosphere work:

Gabriel Winant, E-mail reveals Arizona law was designed to maximize harassment Salon 05/03/10

Friday, April 30, 2010
Mike Sunnucks, Immigration law cutting into Hispanic hires Phoenix Business Journal 04/30/10:

Local labor and employment attorneys say they are increasingly seeing the trend of businesses opting to not to hire Latinos or laying Hispanic workers off, even if they are U.S. citizens or have legal status.

“We have heard of employers who have questioned whether Hispanic workers should be resubmitted through the current e-verify system in response to this legislation. This is exactly the type of response that is ill-advised and could land employers in hot water,” said Shayna Balch, a labor attorney with the Phoenix office of Fisher & Phillips LLP. Dave Seiden and Julie Pace, immigration and employment attorneys with the Cavanagh Law Firm, said they already see the trend with employers worried about raids from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Seiden and Pace said they have clients calling them about the new immigration law expecting that measure to result in more raids and scrutiny.

They don’t want to run the risk of being targeted by the sheriff or anyone else. They don’t want the hassle,” said Pace.

Anyone who looks and sounds foreign is a concern to some employers. They want to avoid some of the things they see in the paper,” she said. [my emphasis]
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