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Future Murky For Arizona’s Immigration Law

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
June 26, 2012

As Arizona officials prepare to apply the one provision of the state’s immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, some local authorities doubt they can properly enforce it.

“We will do our best to enforce the law. But we are in uncharted territory on this issue,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a statement released by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit organization of police chiefs. The group says the law “will seriously undermine local law enforcement.”

The court’s 5-3 decision struck down three key provisions of the law, but the justices unanimously sustained the most controversial part, which requires police to verify the immigration status of anyone stopped for a crime if police have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person might be in the country illegally.

Potential Legal Challenges

Many law enforcement authorities say the law doesn’t clearly define “reasonable suspicion,” potentially exposing police to lawsuits alleging misconduct such as racial profiling.

The Justice Department, which sued to block the Arizona law, has set up a telephone hotline and email for the public to report potential civil rights violations as the state enacts the so-called “show me your papers” provision.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a national lightning rod for aggressively enforcing the law, has said he expects the court ruling to foment criticism that he and other agencies continue to racially profile suspected illegal immigrants.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit accusing Arpaio’s department of racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio denies the claim. He told NPR’s Ted Robbins that he’s “happy” about the ruling because it “just confirms or affirms what we’ve been doing anyway.”

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who opposes the law and has refused to enforce it, told NPR that the ruling is “not going to change the way we’ve operated.” Dupnik’s territory covers Tucson and much of southern Arizona.

Weakened Arrest Powers

The court threw out the portions of the Arizona law that would charge people with a misdemeanor for failing to carry immigration documents; criminalize the act of an illegal immigrant applying for a job; and authorize officers to arrest people believed to have committed a crime that makes them eligible for deportation.

Despite their weakened arrest powers, police will be required to contact federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to determine the immigration status of people they stop if officers suspect that they are in the country illegally.

The law also says police will check immigration status if it’s practical to do so. But authorities say they have no clarity about the factors that establish such circumstances.

Police also could face legal challenges from supporters of the law, through language that allows people to sue police for failing to enforce “show me your papers.”

“We’re going to see lawsuits on both sides of this,” says Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

And, Wexler says, police checks of immigration status will damage relationships between officers and illegal immigrants, who will be “less likely to report crimes, to serve as witnesses.”

Arizona’s Governor Stands Firm

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who signed the bill into law in 2010, defended the ruling as a reinforcement of “Arizona’s and every other state’s inherent authority to protect and defend its people.” Brewer has said the law won’t lead to racial profiling.

But, ultimately, the effectiveness of the law could depend on whether ICE agents cooperate with local police in helping to verify people’s status.

It appears that cooperation could be scaled back: The Obama administration has announced that it was revoking so-called 287(g) agreements with Arizona police agencies that authorized local officers to act as immigration agents.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has restated its priority of deporting criminals and halting action against otherwise law-abiding young people.

Charles Foster, a prominent Houston immigration lawyer and former adviser to President George W. Bush and then to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, says he believes federal officials are sending a clear message to Arizona that they won’t aggressively pursue “show your papers” violations.

Criminals “are the ones they want to arrest and place in deportation procedures,” says Foster, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Justice Department’s challenge of the Arizona law. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

One Response to “Future Murky For Arizona’s Immigration Law”

  1. Brittanicus says:

    We are looking at a President that has added trillions of dollars to the 16 trillion deficits. With Hillary Clinton going overseas and giving $2 billion of taxpayers’ money to some obscure organization in these administrations push for green energy. Not satisfied with this, the Democrats are selling Americas rights of the oceans; with ‘The Treaty of the Sea’.

    We should not be looking from either the Obama Government or the Mitt Romney potential administration, but the TEA PARTY. IT is the Time of the PEOPLE’S PARTY. It is the time for the TEA PARTY, which is complimented by man/women; African, White, Hispanic, Asian and other Americans of different nationalities. The TEA PARTY is a wealth of different religions, faiths, gay and ordinary people of every walk of life. Remember a large Majority who votes for President Obama for a second term could be non citizens or American citizens who spend their days watching TV, selling drugs, collecting public assistance and living off the rest of us as parasites. The exception is the sick and true disabled human beings, so think of their dilemma who taxpayers should be assisting, instead of foreigners. If you are frustrated with feeding the rest of the world, unable to get a decent job then join the TEA PARTY. The controversial immigration debate and the problems it has brought; it is a theft of your taxes.

    Obama’s new the rules and regulations have been forced on American with its so called ‘Political Correctness’ along with its growing taint of Socialism philosophies impregnating our young in the schools and universities. President Obama has placed obstacles to halt the extraction of valuable energy resources in our time of urgent need. This administration has squashed efforts to extract oil, natural gas and coal; that we could lower the costs from transportation, but sell residual amounts to friendly foreign countries. The progressive’s zealots in the environmentalist world have stopped the laying of oil pipelines from Canada to Texas, and in Utah the Prairie dog has more dominion over townsfolk people through the absolute fanatical ‘Endangered Species’ law. I wonder how long it will be before the Obama Administration taxes us even more, because we actually have a pulse.

    Two of the most controversial issue, that we must be imposed at once, so no more foreign invaders are encouraged to break the immigration ‘Rule of Law’. ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT’ (E-VERIFY) must be passed and advanced, so illegal aliens can no longer steal jobs from the millions of Americans unemployed. The ‘BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT (H.R.140) must be compulsory so un born babies smuggled into America, so that parents cannot take benefit from welfare, once the child become an immediate citizen. Half a million pregnant women enter the United States looking for handouts annually, for their children.

    This is the time when every American who believes in the ‘Rule of Law’ and steps forward to let their Senator or Congress person knows how you will vote. Tell the politician’s aide (screener) and that you want them to sponsor E-Verify and the Birthright Citizenship bills. Citizen voters should phone Congress at the central Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Insist YOUR CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN TO fulfill their obligation to the oath of office and stop pandering to the businesses that use cheap labor or the pro-illegal alien lawmakers that you are only voting for those who favor the TEA PARTY ideology. Use the power of your VOTE to demand they sponsor these to policies or we are destined to become like Europe, overwhelmed by the poverty of other nations.

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