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    Posted April 26, 2010 by
    Phoenix, Arizona
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Arizona immigration showdown

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    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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