- Posted April 26, 2010 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Arizona immigration showdown
AZ Immigration Law Threatens Civil Rights
Robert F. DiCello, Esq. April 25, 2010
How Can the Police "Reasonably Believe" Someone Is An Illegal Immigrant?
According to the Reuters News Agency, last year, approximately 1.1 million undocumented immigrants were arrested crossing over the Mexico border, almost half of them in southern Arizona. The state deals with drug trafficking and immigrant trafficking every day, and shooting deaths are common. Illegal Immigration is a serious and deadly business.
So, it was really no surprise that the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, signed a bill Friday April 24th that requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect that they're in the United States illegally. As expected, many people are concerned about this new law. And they wonder whether it can be fairly implemented.
Think about it. Who is likely to be the focus of this new law: fair skinned tourists from Germany visiting the grand canyon or dark skinned people who speak spanish? And consider: when does an officer have a reason to suspect a person is an illegal immigrant? When they're sitting in the back of a flat bed truck? When they're unable to read English? Racial profiling appears inevitable.
What might surprise you is that police chiefs are speaking out against the bill. As reported in The Arizona Republic and reprinted in an Arizona website, "Most professional law enforcement leaders around country are fairly united in their concerns about the impact that making immigration enforcement the primary function of local policing would have on resources, our ability to fight crime and our ability to work with various communities that may have significant representation of immigrants whether here with or without authority," he said. These guys want the Feds to run (and pay for) immigration enforcement. According to one chief, "To put our full attention to undocumented individuals that are not committing crimes . . . raises concerns." "I look to Washington to give us leadership here. Give us guidance, sit down with all the interest groups, and let's make some decisions that take this issue to the federal level."
And to add to this mess, consider the observation of the Governor of Arizona. When she was asked what criteria would be used to establish a reasonable suspicion of someone's illegal status, Brewer said, "I don't know. I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like."
As noted on the CNN website, the Virginia-based Hispanic Leadership Fund also criticized the law, saying, "Having to 'carry your papers' is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes -- not of the Constitutional Republic that our Founding Fathers wisely passed on to us. Arizonans and all Americans deserve an immigration system that works, not a draconian big government desecration of the Bill of Rights."
Americans, take note. Civil rights matter. They preserve freedom. And it is freedom that makes our country great.
Some of the most beautiful words in the English language are not found in Shakespeare. They are found in the Constitution. Specifically, the Bill of Rights. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." That is the language of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is the language of a free people, empowered by reason and protected by this declared prohibition against unreasonable governmental intrusion. But now, with the signing of this new law in Arizona, the promises and ideals secured by the Fourth Amendment are being challenged once more.
Let's hope that this new law is either repealed (and never copied in any other state) or that it is re-written in a way that honors the protections of the Fourth Amendment.
For more articles from Robert DiCello and Real Law Radio visit: http://reallawradio.net.
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