Archive for Friday, July 2, 2010

Arizona cops expect intense, nationwide scrutiny of immigration enforcement

July 2, 2010


— Police enforcing Arizona’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law are allowed to consider if a person speaks poor English, looks nervous or is traveling in an overcrowded vehicle.

They can even take into account whether someone is wearing several layers of clothing in a hot climate, or hanging out in an area where illegal immigrants are known to look for work.

But top police officials issued a stern warning to officers Thursday, telling them in a training video not to consider race or ethnicity and emphasizing that “the entire country is watching.”

The officials cautioned that opponents of the law may secretly videotape police making traffic stops in an effort to prove that they are racially profiling Hispanics.

“Without a doubt, we’re going to be accused of racial profiling no matter what we do on this,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor tells officers on the video, which was posted online. The recording demonstrates how officers should determine when they can ask someone for proof they are in the country legally.

Arizona’s law, sparked by anger over a surging population of illegal immigrants in the border state, generally requires officers enforcing another law — like speeding or jaywalking — to question a person’s immigration status if there’s a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

Under the law, officers are also allowed to consider if a person does not have identification or tried to run away. But the stakes for making a mistake are high: Officers can be fired if they start asking questions because of a person’s race, then lie about it later, the video warns.

“It is also clear that the actions of Arizona officers will never come under this level of scrutiny again,” said Lyle Mann, executive director of the state agency that trains police. “Each and every one of you will now carry the reputation for the entire Arizona law enforcement community with you every day.”

The law applies only to a traffic stop, a person who is detained or an arrest — not when a person flags down an officer. Police are not required to ask crime victims or witnesses about their immigration status, and anyone who shows a valid Arizona driver’s license is presumed to be in the country legally.

“The entire country is watching to see how Arizona and in particular Arizona law enforcement responds,” Mann said.

The law restricts the use of race, color or national origin as the basis for triggering immigration questions. But civil rights groups and some police officials argue that officers will still assume that illegal immigrants look Hispanic.

Arizona’s 460,000 illegal immigrants are almost all Hispanic. Yet Arizona also has nearly 2 million Hispanics who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, about 30 percent of the state’s population.

In the training video, an expert advises officers to ask themselves whether they would reach the same conclusion about a Hispanic person’s immigration status if the subject were white or black.

“If any officer goes into a situation with a previous mindset that one race or one ethnicity is not equal to another’s, then they have no business being a law enforcement officer in this state,” Arizona Police Association President Brian Livingston said in the video.

To determine whether the person is legally in the United States, officers dealing with a suspected illegal immigrant are told to call the Border Patrol, a police officer certified to enforce immigration laws or a federal immigration hot line.

The instructional video and supporting paperwork will be sent to all 170 Arizona police agencies.

Police departments will decide the best way to teach their forces. There is no requirement that all 15,000 Arizona police officers complete the training before the law takes effect July 29.


kubacker 7 years, 11 months ago

LaRaza can film all they want from 50+ feet away because police dashboard cameras and shoulder microphones will be running wide open and clearly documenting that the illegal Mexicans are taken into custody in 100% compliance with the new law and using irrefutably correct police procedures for the arrest of any suspected lawbreaker. If the LaRaza filmers obstruct in any way they will also be arrested.

Majestic42 7 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, kubacker. This is 100% correct. People against the law have never read it, and therefore they do not realize that this is in line with the current law, and is just the same as pulling someone over for a busted taillight and discovering they have weed in the car. Breaking the law is breaking the law, no matter what race you are.

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm against the law. I've read it. It will lead to racial profiling.

Majestic42 7 years, 11 months ago

Ah. So it's just stupid profiling when cops write tickets for no seatbelts, right? It's just druggie profiling when cops write tickets for drug paraphernalia in the car, right? And I'm sure the LEOs in Arizona really appreciate your vote of confidence. Wait, lemme guess, they're probably racist. The way liberals operate is that everyone else is racist except for them.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 11 months ago

the failure of your comment is the 2 issues are not connected.

I think illegal immigrants should not be allowed into the country and should be addressed.

However, unlike you, I value America and so I am not willing to spit on the Constitution to do so. America is better than that and I an confident we can fight illegal immigration without betraying the Constitution. Not only can we, we MUST, or we are no longer America.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Be legal or be gone. Doesn't matter if you are from Iceland or Peru.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

How many died in the drug war 12 miles from Arizona border today?

Jim Phillips 7 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone realize that the "controversial" Arizona law actually mirrors the federal immigration law? All the Arizona law does is allow the state to enforce the laws, at the state level, that the federal government refused to enforce at its level. Since the federal law passes Constitutional muster (without Liberal flack), then there should be no controversy over the state law. But let's not throw logic into the equation.

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