Between this and The One’s baffling new amnesty push, looks like we’re headed for a full-blown immigration clusterfark just in time for the midterms. Sweet! Obama will use this to mobilize Latinos against the GOP’s nativistically nativist nativism and the GOP will use it as an object lesson in why Congress needs to ratchet border enforcement waaaay up so that states don’t have to take this into their own hands. Let’s get it on.
Here’s the text of the bill, by the way; the important stuff is on page 1. If statutory language isn’t your thing, try the legislative fact sheet instead. The media is telling me that this bill will do all sorts of draconian things, like require citizens to carry proof of citizenship at all times. After skimming the bill, I can’t find it. I think this is the money section:
B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
The alarmist theory, I guess, is that merely being Latino will be treated as “reasonable suspicion” and that if you don’t have a driver’s license or birth certificate with you when the cop asks for it, then it’s to jail you’ll be going. I don’t read it that way; Brewer said at today’s ceremony that she won’t tolerate racial profiling and issued an executive order authorizing the state police board to develop standards for “reasonable suspicion.” Article 8, Section F of the bill (on page 2) seems to say that cops can’t be prevented from checking your status, but that doesn’t mean “carry papers or go to jail.” It means they can run your name through a computer to confirm whether you’re here legally and no left-leaning municipal authority can stop them. There may be something in the bill requiring immigrants to keep proof of legal status with them, but I honestly can’t find it. Can anyone help?
Update (2/25): Mea culpa — looks like I was reading the wrong version of the bill. You’ll find my thoughts on the final version here.