Ok, since I really enjoyed the video below, I thought to read the short (16 page) Arizona immigration bill (PDF) myself and see what all the hubub is about. Even though I am politically conservative, I do believe we need a compromise solution that enforces our borders and has compassion on people fleeing the poverty and corruption of Mexico (though the current administration is trying hard to shut down the drug cartels).
Summary? I think the law is a little too harsh, but only a little. Even 'worse,' AZ Senator Russel Pierce argued on The O'Reilly Factor last night (also below) that giving citizenship to the children of illegals born in the US is NOT covered by the Fourteenth Amendment, nor by court cases since. His argument is very interesting, and not out of the question.
Here's my summary (DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A LAWYER, SO I MAY BE INCORRECT) of the AZ Immigration Bill:
11-1051. Cooperation and assistance in enforcement of immigration laws
This statute seems to allow Enforcement Officials to stop people for merely the *suspicion* that they are illegals – they do not seem to have to be breaking any other laws to be stopped. Here's the legaleze:
B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY
21 OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS
22 STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
23 UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON.
13-1509. Trespassing by illegal aliens
This statute seems to merely raise or define the penalties for incarceration, including increased penalties for felonies like possessing weapons, drugs, etc. Not a big deal for otherwise law abiding illegals.
This is essentially targeted at coyotes and people that would profit from illegal labor – you can't transport people to work if you make money off of the transport (does that mean that bus drivers are guitly? ;). Relevant text:
3 A. It is unlawful for a person to intentionally engage in the
4 smuggling of human beings for profit or commercial purpose.
However, this section MAY give police the power to stop people merely on the suspicion of transporting aliens:
NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A PEACE OFFICER MAY LAWFULLY STOP
21 ANY PERSON WHO IS OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IF THE OFFICER HAS REASONABLE
22 SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THE PERSON IS IN VIOLATION OF ANY CIVIL TRAFFIC LAW AND
23 THIS SECTION.
See that AND I highlighted? I'm not sure if that means that they must first be guilty of a civil traffic law OTHER than being illegal.
13-2928. Unlawful stopping to hire and pick up passengers for work
This is targeted at employers who knowingly hire illegals, and illegals who pose as citizens in order to obtain employment. Nothing hidden here, but interesting verbiage on the illegal communication used in hiring – the infamous 'nod'
20 1. "SOLICIT" MEANS VERBAL OR NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION BY A GESTURE OR A
21 NOD THAT WOULD INDICATE TO A REASONABLE PERSON THAT A PERSON IS WILLING TO BE
13-2929. Unlawful transporting, moving, concealing, harboring or shielding of unlawful aliens
This is where it gets dangerous. This statute seems to say that if you knowingly transport an illegal anywhere, even if you are not profiting from it, you are committing a crime. I guess that might include any of your illegal friends, family, or hitchhikers (I have all three). They can immediately impound your car.
29 A. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON WHO IS IN VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL
30 OFFENSE TO:
31 1. TRANSPORT OR MOVE OR ATTEMPT TO TRANSPORT OR MOVE AN ALIEN IN THIS
32 STATE IN A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY
33 DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE
34 UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF LAW.
35 2. CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD OR ATTEMPT TO CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD
36 AN ALIEN FROM DETECTION IN ANY PLACE IN THIS STATE, INCLUDING ANY BUILDING OR
37 ANY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE
38 FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES
39 IN VIOLATION OF LAW.
23-212. Knowingly employing unauthorized aliens
No surprises here. This section specifies a process where complaints can be made to the Attorneys General. I'm glad that frivolous or false complaints also seem to carry a penalty. Penalties start with probation and progress, after multiple violations, to suspension of business licences.
There are two more following sections that apply to employers, including mandatory use of the e-verify system for all new employees.
28-3511. Removal and immobilization or impoundment of vehicle
This section doesn't contain any whoppers, but does give one interesting exception for impoundment. IF the vehicle is properly registered and the driver's SPOUSE is in the car and legal, not intoxicated, and if less than 21, has NO alcohol in them, the spouse can drive the car home and avoid impounding of the car.
How generous. Anyway, you can go read the verbiage on that one yourself.
CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
I'd say that critics of this bill have a little something to complain about – if officers were required to look into citizenship AFTER pulling someone over for another reason, like speeding, and AFTER they failed to produce a valid driver's licence, that would be cool. To me, this otherwise reasonable bill seems to lack the safeguards to prevent racial profiling, which in principle, I am not against – except when it leads to bothering a significant number of law-abiding citizens.
What say ye?