Before critics of Arizona’s new immigration law make fools of themselves, they should really try to read the bill. And if those critics are officials of other states or cities, maybe they should take a quick tour of their own laws first, too. Kerry Picket at the Washington Times interviewed Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes, who said that he would need his passport to travel in Arizona, but she points out that the very same provisions to which Reyes objects exist in California’s own penal code:
The Los Angeles City Council’s vote to boycott Arizona caused more consternation than anything else. LA City Council members voted an overwhelming 13 – 1 to terminate any city contracts with Arizona (worth around $7.7 million) as did other American cities who have considered resolutions to protest the Arizona law or seek boycotts. Among these cities are San Francisco and Saint Paul, Minnesota. …
“I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport,” Los Angeles Councilman Ed Reyes, a Democrat, said before the vote. “If I come across an officer who’s had a bad day and feels the picture on my ID is not me, I could be summarily deported — no questions asked. That is not American.”
Kerry has plenty of audio within the Times article, but transcribes the key points:
PICKET: Where exactly in the law does it say that? Considering that it prohibits that? As I’m asking here, federal law which has been around for about seventy years has been saying that undocumented individuals have to be carrying papers, so what exactly has changed between federal law of the last seventy years and Arizona’s law?
REYES: What’s changed is you have a very active effort to round up people that look a certain way, and if you have proof you are an American citizen that let you go, and if you don’t they deport you. So now, that I look like a Mexican, and I am Mexican American, I become a target.(AUDIO)
PICKET: Why is this law considered any different than what has been around for the last seventy years…because it’s being enforced?
REYES: Why does a state have to call that out? Why can’t it just follow the federal law like you said for the past seventy years? (AUDIO)
Well, why does California have to call it out, Councilman Reyes? Kerry did a little digging and found this nugget in Section 834b in the California Penal Code:
(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.
Sounds very similar to the provisions of SB 1070, the bill that prompted LA’s City Council to launch its boycott of Arizona. Will they also now boycott their own state? They do seem to be conducting a boycott of common sense and legal scholarship at City Hall.