Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2010

Arizona may crack down hard on illegal immigrants

April 15, 2010


— Civil rights activists Wednesday warned that Arizona is inviting rampant racial profiling and police-state tactics if it enacts what would be the toughest law in the nation against illegal immigrants.

The measure — on the verge of approval in the Legislature — would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It would also require local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal.

Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500.

“That is an unprecedented expansion of police power,” said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. “It’s giving police officers a green light to harass anyone who looks or sounds foreign.”

The ACLU and immigrant rights groups are demanding Republican Gov. Jan Brewer veto the measure if it reaches her. The Republican has not announced whether she will sign it, but said she is a strong supporter of pragmatic immigration laws.

Her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who is now President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security secretary, vetoed similar proposals.

Current law in Arizona and most states doesn’t require police to ask about the immigration status of those they encounter, and many police departments prohibit officers from inquiring out of fear immigrants won’t cooperate in other investigations.

The new measure would be just the latest crackdown of its kind in Arizona, which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.

State Sen. Russell Pearce, the bill’s sponsor, has been the driving force behind Arizona’s tough new measures, including a law copied in other states that punishes companies caught knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

“I believe handcuffs are a great tool, but you have to put them on the right people,” said Pearce, a former cop who can list the local officers killed or wounded by illegal immigrants. “Get them off the police officers and put them on the bad guys.”

Anger over the porous Mexican border mounted last month when an Arizona cattle rancher was shot to death. Investigators said he may have been killed by drug runners working for cartels based in Mexico.

The new measure is supported by police unions representing rank-and-file officers, who deny they would engage in profiling.

It is opposed by police chiefs, who worry that the law would be too costly, that it would distract them from dealing with more serious problems, and that it would sow such distrust among immigrants that they would not cooperate with officers investigating other crimes.

Legal immigrants fear that the law would give officers easy excuses to stop them, and that even U.S. citizens could find themselves detained if they can’t prove their legal status.

“When they come up with these things, it doesn’t matter if I’m here legally,” said Jose Melendez, a 55-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Guadalajara, Mexico. “If they see a Mexican face and a Mexican name, they’ll ask for papers.”

Anti-immigration activists say the larger goal is to discourage illegal immigration by making the U.S. inhospitable.

“Most illegals would leave on their own if they felt the U.S. was serious about our laws,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee.

House Republicans passed the bill on a party-line vote Tuesday. The Senate approved it in February but must vote on changes made in the House before sending it to the governor.

The law also would crack down on employment for illegal immigrants by prohibiting people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor on street corners.

Also, a judge could fine a city for not enforcing the immigration law vigorously enough.


SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years ago

"Anti-immigration activists say..."

Journalists who intentionally mislabel groups as "anti-immigrant" are as unworthy of my time as those reporters who label advocates for lower taxes as "anti-tax." Intelligent readers quickly identify the spin.

Why does the Journal World even print this?

cowboy 7 years ago

Misspelled the dateline , it's spelled Phoenix , moran (sic)

Having been raised in the Phoenix area if all the legal immigrants from Chicago , New York , and back east would all go home it would be a much nicer place

ivalueamerica 7 years ago

And yet once again, no call to demand the Americans who hire illegal immigrants be held accountable to American laws.

If you want illegal immigrants to stop coming, the quickest and cheapest way to do it is to hold those who hire them accountable, yet that never seems to be a significant part of the equasion.

HW 7 years ago

How about we hold the ILLEGAL immigrant and the employer accountable. They are both breaking the law and they should both face substantial penalties. I just read scott3460's comment below. What he said.

What I don't understand is that it is allready against the law to be in the country illegally. How about we enforce the laws that are already in place rather than make new laws.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Be legal or be gone, makes no difference if you come from Norway or Peru.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Do both! Expel the invaders and impose stiff criminal penalties on the cheats that employ them.

remember_username 7 years ago

Are you sure about these numbers? I think the largest contributor to loss of software jobs is the movement of the programing jobs overseas rather than foreign programmers working within the U.S. There are H1B visa laws that are intended to mitigate replacement of domestic engineers with foreign engineers, indicating they must be paid on the same scale etc. Some of these laws are abused but not to the extent of causing a 50% unemployment rate. If you were serious about shutting down the transfer of tech jobs overseas you would have to invent a time machine, go back about 20 years, and stop allowing foreign students into our universities. What's done is done - now how do you suggest we fix it? Or would you just rather blame everyone else.

kimmydarling 7 years ago

Right you read wrong. Having worked in HR at MS and then at Apple, I can promise you that they're not laying off that many people because they want to bring in foreign workers.

The fact is, they paid ridiculously high then a bubble burst and they've been scrambling to make up costs ever since

Graczyk 7 years ago

"Legal immigrants fear that the law would give officers easy excuses to stop them, and that even U.S. citizens could find themselves detained if they can’t prove their legal status."

I guess this legislation isn't much of a problem unless you are a particular shade of brown. There are tons of legal brown people down there that may soon be unjustly hassled. Arizona really needs to be careful with how it proceeds.

N_Trenched 7 years ago

Very simple. Carry your papers if you are legal. No different than a DL or registration for a car. Not much of a problem unless you are a particular shade of illegal!

Graczyk 7 years ago

Would you like to be asked for your papers? This isn't Nazi Germany.

Graczyk 7 years ago

There are also 2nd and 3rd generation that are as legal as you and me, but are still of Mexican. Those people do not deserved to be hassled. I think you missed the point of my post.

Graczyk 7 years ago

Um, that should be "of Mexican descent".

beatrice 7 years ago

Hey. You. Show me your papers.

Oh what a wonderful "land of the free" we live in.

Richard Payton 7 years ago

Are you refering to rolling papers?

50YearResident 7 years ago

The real problem is there are no penalties for an illegal when they are caught. Most are simply returned to Mexico to re-enter another day. Sooner or later they will escape being caught. If a bank robber was caught inside a bank and taken outside the bank and released with a slap on the wrist, do you think he would never try to rob another bank? There has to be penalties or it will never end.

50YearResident 7 years ago

Put them in the worst jail available and leave them there until they pay a $1000 fine, then deport them.

remember_username 7 years ago

How much will the "worst jail" available cost the U.S. taxpayer? Because they'll be there a long time to raise $1000. Assuming the penalty will deter half of the illegals and that current deportation numbers (350K) reflect multiple attempts, you'll fill about 5 jails the size of Leavenworth (pop 1600) in a year. If you want to stop illegal immigration by deterrence you'll need to enact penalties most of us couldn't stomach.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"The real problem is there are no penalties for an illegal when they are caught. Most are simply returned to Mexico to re-enter another day."

These people leave their homes and families with nothing but the shirts on their backs for a reason. They are dirt poor (often thanks to NAFTA) with no way out of that poverty, except maybe to work in the fields and factories for minimum wage or less, and certainly no benefits, so that the average American can get cheap goods at Wal-Mart and other retailers.

And their (mostly corporate) employers in the fields and factories actively seek them out in Mexico, encouraging them to illegally cross the border and go to work for them, occasionally allowing Immigration in to bust a few of them, but not enough to slow the production lines.

The ones who get caught are often thrown in jail without charges or access to legal counsel, and then deported to the same dire poverty they had attempted to flee. From their perspective, returning them there really isn't much better than sending them to prison.

somedude20 7 years ago

Lets penalize em hard!! Make em watch moves like Gili, Battlefield Earth, Freddy Got Fingered, Love Guru, The Postman, ect for a month straight and they will never come back (sidebar I would like to penalize Salma Hayek)

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

"ivalueamerica (anonymous) says… And yet once again, no call to demand the Americans who hire illegal immigrants be held accountable to American laws." Actually there are a lot of people demanding that. The politicians usually don't seem to hear them.

beatrice 7 years ago

To clarify, in AZ, a business must have on hand proof of citizenship of all its employees, and those who violate and knowingly hire undocumented workers face fines and can lose their business license.

beatrice 7 years ago

If signed, not only will the police be required to make arrests of people in the country illegally, using it as an excuse to stop anyone at any time (mostly people who are on the darker shade of beige), but they also must wonder who is carrying a weapon since a permit is no longer required.

Arizona is a beautiful state, run by some of the dumbest politicians ever.

Jay Keffer 7 years ago

Probable cause still applies, police can't just stop someone because of their color. Typical empty argument against enforcing the law.

Yes, this may cause some inconvenience, but it is a small issue compared with the one to be solved.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

This should be interesting, once it makes it to a federal court. In response to some of the earlier comments about businesses hiring illegals, the Reagan administration cured this in the mid-1980's. Employers know if the people they hire have a right to be here when they check their paperwork as they begin a job. There seems to be a bit of slippage in the system, however. I suspect many of the firms who complain about illegals also hire them and they tend to contribute to politician's campaign chests if they agree "it's OK to gripe about the system, just don't change it too much or my labor costs would increase."

greenworld 7 years ago

Jailed upto 6 months, so there going to need then a prison to keep the 20-30,000 a day that jump the border locked up. Yeah right. Good luck with that.

Tom Miller 7 years ago

" papers? But I only have a pipe..."

from "A Childs Garden of Grass", circa late '60s...

50YearResident 7 years ago

Greenworld says "Jailed upto 6 months, so there going to need then a prison to keep the 20-30,000 a day that jump the border locked up. Yeah right. Good luck with that"

I say if we have 20-30,000 a day then we have a much larger problem and need to close the borders completely.

Tom Miller 7 years ago

I say ship 'em to Gitmo, open a side gate, and give them to Raul...kinda like payback for that little thing his brother did to us a few years back. And, that 90 mile swim would take a bit longer than it takes to walk/swim across the Rio Grande...but what do I know, right?

Jaylee 7 years ago

My guess is they'll have town shooting competitions, now that anyone in AZ can conceal and carry, and the top percent of each town's shooters will be assigned badges by the local sheriff and assigned as Arizona Vigilante Border Patrol. When the cops can't get their hands dirty, the AVBP can!

Tom Miller 7 years ago

Good idea, even if you ARE being sarcastic...IMHO.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Bust the employers. They are the reason immigrants come across the border.

There are enough laws on the books.... not enough enforcers.

Bust the employers!

If people are so concerned why not notify immigration authorities on the whereabouts these folks are employed? This is the easy way... go for it!

Don't need more laws that will not be enforced!!!

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

If corporations are peole, why not a "death penalty" for more than one finding of employment of illegal immigrants. Multiple violations leads to the immediate and throrough liquidation of the business entity.

jaywalker 7 years ago

"They are dirt poor (often thanks to NAFTA)"

Right. 'Cuz all Mexicans were thriving and prosperous before NAFTA.

Both sides of the coin need to be severely punished. I can't blame these people for trying to get here; I'd probably do the exact same thing. Still has to stop, though. And Americans hiring illegals on the cheap needs to be stomped out as well.
But the thing that really makes me mad about all this is that D.C. hasn't done bupkiss. And over all the years since I started working, this is the ONE issue that has been at the top of the list the entire time. How can this not have been addressed and dealt with in its entirety by now?

cowboy 7 years ago

Arizona has to be one of the single most ignorant political arenas . Having been raised there for half of my life I'm embarrassed . This is the state that has given you Joe Arpaio , JD Hayworth , McCain. They aren't even close to the Goldwaters and Udalls that made the state proud. They are effing clowns. If you ship all the illegals out of arizona they are going to have a tough time getting anything done there.

jaywalker 7 years ago

By "stomped out" I mean 'stopped.' Heaven forbid porch person should read that post and then use it sadistically over the next several months to say I advocated killing Americans for hiring illegals.

UfoPilot 7 years ago

Enter Mexico illegally and see what happens to you...

pooter 7 years ago

What's the big deal.

We saw how Zero proved his citizenship so it shouldn't be hard for all the rest of them to do the same.


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