Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arizona Governor Signs Useless Changes To Immigration Bill Into Law

I thought this was interesting.  According to a story from WCTV, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has signed some changes to the controversial immigration bill into law yesterday.
The new Arizona law requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect they are in the United States illegally.

Under the law, police would be able to detain an individual based merely on the suspicion that he or she entered the country illegally. But one of the changes -- which had been adopted by state lawmakers Thursday night -- says police could stop suspected illegal immigrants only while enforcing some other law or ordinance.
Brewer insists that this change should ease concerns over critics' concerns that the law would permit "racial profiling," but I believe this change to be pointless. It seems to be adding to the law what the lawmakers claimed to have been correcting in the first place. Officers cannot check immigration status unless there is something else they are enforcing.

The article points out that an officer can inquire one's immigration status during a traffic violation, or some other offense, but Dan Pochoda, legal director of the Arizona ACLU points out that officers could still racially profile and then find some other minor infraction to justify their profiling.

There is also a matter of this change:
Arizona's law originally said that the attorney general or a county attorney cannot investigate complaints based "solely" on factors such as a person's race, color or national origin. The changes enacted Friday remove the word "solely" to emphasize that prosecutors must have some reason other than an individual's race or national origin to investigate.
While University of Arizona law professor Gabriel Chin dismisses the change as not being significant, if you consider the implications of such a change, it would mean that the attorney general or county attorney could investigate based "solely" on factors such as a person's race, color, or national origin. It seems that while the governor wanted to focus on one aspect, the change that is supposedly intended to elliminate the risk of racial profiling, the legislators have put a "racial profiling" backdoor in their bill.

The article points out that these changes may have been made to try and ease criticism over the original bill that spurred a mass economic exodus from the state. It is my opinion that that probably played an important role, after all, the same people who wrote the bills are probably depending on those very same businesses to fund their campaigns...

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