AZ to Criminalize Undocumented Presence in State

The Arizona House has passed a bill similar to one passed by the state Senate criminalizing undocumented presence in the state. With some minor reconciliation changes, it will go to the Governor for signing into law. Included in the bill are provisions that:

  • Create a new state misdemeanor crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document.
  • Allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they're legally in the country.
  • Ban so-called soft immigration policies at local police agencies and allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders the enforcement of illegal immigration laws.
  • Prohibit people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on street corners.
  • Make it illegal for people to transport illegal immigrants if the drivers of vehicles know their passengers are in the country illegally and if the transportation furthers their illegal presence in the country.

This bill gives cops the power to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being undocumented. What a mandate for racial profiling. I hope people boycott Arizona and products made there if this bill gets signed into law. Let their tourism industry suffer the consequences. Visit New Mexico or Colorado instead. [More...]

Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, suggested the House bill is the work of racists.

"Arizona has long been a laboratory for anti-immigrant experimentation, and its demagogue leaders have become folk heroes for white supremacists throughout the United States," Newman said. "But this bill ushers in a new chapter of disgrace for the state that resisted celebrating the life of Martin Luther King."

Your papers please? The Wall St. Journal reports under the bill, "Foreign nationals are required to carry proof of legal residency."

Where is Governor Jan Brewer on the bill? It needs a swift veto. She hasn't said, but she's a Republican who favors strong immigration laws.

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    Time to Profile Employers (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:37:43 AM EST

    Wouldn't it make more sense to impose tough penalties on employers who hire illegals, or would
    that kind of measure force the McCains to have to cut back on the "help" crew at their various abodes?

    Better... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:48:43 AM EST
    but I think it makes the most sense to decriminalize looking for a job and looking for a hire.  At least getting the criminalization out of it would likely reduce worker exploitation when workers don't have to fear for their freedom if they complain or organize.

    What are the powerful (2.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 02:17:49 PM EST
    core beliefs on the Wal Mort (French spelling) board, concerning the hiring of illegals and the sponsorship of the poor vs poor race to the bottom?

    Anyone up on those strong core principals, who can give us the lowdown?

    please don't (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 12:10:41 AM EST
    call people "illegals" here. No human being is illegal and it's offensive.

    If not racism... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:25:44 AM EST
    then certainly law-n-order extremism gone wild, our love affair with chains and cages.  All too common human failings.

    I'll never understand how such people think...occupying space allocated to you by the creator should never ever be a crime. Same for not carrying a stupid piece of paper.  

    A human being "belongs" where ever his/her pursuit of happiness leads them.

    Of course (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 02:24:09 PM EST
    some are going to say that another person bringing down his wages interferes with his pursuit of happiness, in a serious way. Even if it gives a shot in the arm to the major shareholders pursuit.

    I'd be hard-pressed.... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 02:39:44 PM EST
    not to accuse such a person of kicking the dog.

    I'm thinking if we remove the legal/illegal prefixes from "worker", all of a sudden we're on the same team regardless of where the birth lottery decided to drop us.


    On the same team (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 02:53:21 PM EST
    moving toward a third world economy until all the anti-organizing laws designed to defang and wage war on those who "impede the flow of commerce", like Taft Hartly etc are disassembled.



    Perhaps... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:09:49 PM EST
    or on the same team with the numbers and solidarity to finally scare the pants off those who like us as is, divided and conquered...ya never know.

    That's the the best part.. (none / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:13:41 PM EST
    you never DO know. If the mercury can go down, it can go up. No reason why not.

    maybe (none / 0) (#6)
    by CST on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:53:20 AM EST
    Taking janet napolitano away from az wasn't such a good idea after all.

    We seriously need some national immigration policy overhaul.  Individual states dealing with enforcement is clearly not an acceptable way forward.

    It would be nice... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:00:49 AM EST
    but I don't want this congress doing it, I can only  imagine how pro-business owner and anti-laborer it would be.  Or the next congress, or the one after that:)

    At least at the state/local level some aren't so barbaric...many locales don't allow local law enforcement to act like ICE or what is proposed in AZ.


    I dunno (none / 0) (#12)
    by CST on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:38:50 AM EST
    I trust this congress more than the border states.  Any bill that gets people on the books has to be a net benefit since at least then they are recognized as people and have some protection under the law.

    The problem is the states with the biggest issues are border states, and that's where a huge chunk of the immigrants live.  It's a lot harder to go directly to NY from south of the border than AZ - not that Ny doesn't have it's share of immigrants, but you know what I mean.

    Obviously these areas have had to deal with the criminal activity and gang wars as well.  It's like anything else, decriminalize it and you won't have criminals running the show any more.  But it's federal law that needs to be updated to prevent states from implementing their own laws defining enforcement of the federal law.  If all immigrants had papers of some form or another this would be a non-issue and the law would never come into being.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 01:35:36 PM EST
    I'm just not convinced the feds wouldn't just make things worse for the paperless.

    You think so? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:20:08 PM EST
    Under JN, there was a ban on state services put in place. Teachers, EMT's, etc. were at risk of being criminally charged if they helped an undocumented person.

    Arizona's turning point came last November when it became the first state since California in 1994 to adopt a ballot initiative, Proposition 200, that barred social services to illegal immigrants.

    Link to 2005 article


    Couldn't this backfire? (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:08:59 AM EST
    There are a great deal of people with various shades of brown skin living in Arizona - gonna take a lot of time and resources to check them all at some point, whether it be through a traffic stop or other means.  When the state gets the bill and sees how ineffective this is, maybe they will reconsider.

    When they get the bill... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:20:25 AM EST
    they'll just cut human services in AZ, not reconsider the policy.

    And the police are gonna love to have another reason to stop people and get in their pockets.


    Have you been to AZ? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:09:45 PM EST
    I was amazed at how limited the diversity in that state was when I lived there just a few years ago.

    AZ - Mexico border (none / 0) (#10)
    by polizeros on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:23:28 AM EST
    Things are getting tense at the border there now. A rancher was recently killed on his own land by someone crossing over. Phoenix police say they are out-gunned by the drug cartels who have better weapons and technology than they do.

    Driving from CA to AZ along I-15 there are generally multiple Border Police checkpoints.

    Human smuggling is a multi-million dollar business in AZ. Western Union just got a $95 million fine for letting huge amounts of drugs and human trafficking money go from AZ to Mexico.

    This new law targets the wrong people, absolutely. But the cartel violence and corruption are an increasing problem.

    OTOH, I just spoke to someone in Arivaca AZ, right by the border who hikes the area a lot. Never had a problem, he said, just be careful you don't get run over by Border Patrol, he grinned.

    It's a different world there, folks!

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio (none / 0) (#11)
    by Saul on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:05:52 AM EST
    is just licking his chops in anticipation of this being made a crime.

    I wait for the day that this guy is gone.

    Federalism (none / 0) (#22)
    by Trickster on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 06:40:00 PM EST
    Don't the feds occupy the field on this one?  Any immigration lawyers out there?

    Yes, Trickster. Prediction: (none / 0) (#23)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 08:29:46 PM EST
    If the law passes:  The ACLU and MALDEF will get an injunction from the federal court before it ever goes into effect, and the Ninth Circuit will uphold the injunction.

    It who must not be named? (none / 0) (#24)
    by diogenes on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:04:01 PM EST
    If the only legal ways for a person to be in the US are by crossing regulated border crossings with a green card, student visa, citizenship, valid tourist visa, or up to three month tourist stay from certain countries that we do not require visas from, then is it not illegal to be in the US under any other circumstances (i.e undocumented, or having entered the US without going through border crossings)?

    "Illegal" or not "illegal" (none / 0) (#26)
    by Peter G on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:48:54 AM EST
    ... is not the point here.  Immigration policy, including enforcement policy and priorities, is expressly assigned under the U.S. Constitution to the federal government, not the states, to regulate.  When the states try to get into the act, they interfere with the balance of objectives and priorities in that federal policy.  That violates the Supremacy Clause, and invites a federal court to enjoin the state's attempted interference with an area of federal control.  In addition, as pointed out in earlier comments, laws like this invite discrimination and profiling against citizens of Hispanic descent, and against legal noncitizen immigrants, by police with no sophisticated understanding of immigration rules,  and no ability to investigate and research before arresting.  Such laws also invites landlords, employers, etc., to discriminate, in order to avoid prosecution for harboring and aiding/abetting offenses.  

    Such draconian actions need to be addressed (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:20:28 PM EST
    on many levels. Economic boycotts are often the most effective  but the Federal government needs to make it clear that it will not cooperate in any way.  Leadership is needed in this case, and it does not look like it will come from the governor.