Free Markets, Free People


Arizona’s Immigration Law

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a controversial immigration bill, the text of which you can find here (PDF).  Now, before getting into the bill itself, et me just say I’m not an open-borders guy.  The sheer mass of illegal immigration is a problem in the southern border states.  If you’re interested, I went into more detail a few years ago on the subject.

The law itself provides for the following:

  • Makes it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien to solicit work in any way shape or form, so no more hanging out around Home Depot.
  • Makes it a code violation to knowingly employ illegal aliens, and may subject the business to suspension or terminations of any and all licenses, i.e. business license, liquor license, etc.
  • No jurisdiction in the state can refuse to enforce immigration laws.
  • Illegal aliens are considered to be trespassing if found on any public or private property in the state of Arizona.  I.e., physically present anywhere in the state. It’s a class I misdemeanor.  If the illegal alien has drugs or money in his possession, that bumps the charge to a Class 3 felony.
  • A person may be arrested on the spot for this extended offense of trespassing if the officer has probable cause to believe the person is an illegal alien.
  • A peace officer may stop any person operating a motor vehicle if the officer reasonably believes the vehicle is being used to transport or smuggle illegal aliens.
  • A vehicle used to knowingly transport illegal aliens is subject to mandatory immobilization or impoundment.

I saw a statement by an Arizona police spokesman at Tucson PD that said, essentially, that this new law would never, ever be used by peace officers in racial profiling.  And you can believe as much of that as you please.  If you think the cops in AZ will be rounding up blue-eyed, blond-haired fellows who say “aboot” instead of “about”, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.  It connects Manhattan with Brooklyn.  It’s in great shape.  Worth every penny.

Essentially, if you’re a swarthy, dark-haired gentleman, the cops can stop you and ask for your papers.  You should probably obtain a copy of your birth certificate, Social Security card, and Sons of the American Revolution membership certificate, and keep them with you at all times. And lose the attractive Ricardo Montalban accent, because that’s certainly not going to be an asset when speaking to the nice officer.

And if you do pick up a few day workers at Lowe’s, don’t be surprised when the cops stop you, then laugh at your insistence that you just wanted some weeding done or  nice raised garden installed, and insist on calling you “Mr. Coyote” as they impound your vehicle and drag your ass off to jail.

I really don’t see how this law can pass Constitutional muster.  It practically requires racial profiling.  It will almost inevitably lead to civil rights violations of both lawful immigrants and American citizens, as police officers demand proof of citizenship, and subsequently arrest some poor sap who left his wallet at home. It’s just a disastrously bad law.

Now look, I understand that illegal immigration is a tough problem.  I believe that we do need to better secure the borders.  I know the Feds do little more than lip service at enforcing immigration laws. So, I understand why state government are frustrated, and grasping at something else they can do to ease the budgetary, law enforcement, and social service strains that illegal immigration puts on state and municipal budgets.

But this sort of state effort is so intrusive and far-reaching, and so ripe for abuse, that it can’t possibly be the right answer to the problem.  I see no way that it can be enforced in a manner consistent with basic civil rights.  It’s just a bad law.

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41 Responses to Arizona’s Immigration Law

  • Uh, folks, I am IN Arizona. I live here – in Scottsdale, just outside of Phoenix.

    And I can tell you the following: the situation here vis a vis illegals is far, far worse than the lamestream media will have you know. We have random shootings here, cops being gunned down, trucks loaded with illegals running stop signs and killing people, drug runners shooting people who get in their way, and we are in a wash of drugs and guns. Simply said, we are all warned here about a new and threatening deal: illegals ram your car from the rear, and when you get out to see what happened, they rob you at gunpoint.

    So what has the federal government done? Zip, nada, zilch.

    Something has to be done. If Hispanics don’t like it, tough luck. The law says that you cannot stop someone merely for being Hispanic; there has to be an underlying crime. Are you speeding? When pulled over, the police always ask for a driver’s license. An illegal won’t have one. They get arrested.

    I would like to know who died and made The Clown™ the head of some junta, running this country with a swipe of their hand to knock down any attempt to bring some semblance of order here when the feds are doing nothing. Your DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, was Governor here, and she let the situation spiral out of control the whole time (plus she blew the budget out of whack – but that is another story for another day).

    So, this law is needed – it is NECESSARY. Because if something isn’t done soon, there is going to be riots in the streets here. And I am not kidding.

    • I was watching protesters on the news this morning in Arizona. A woman was holding a sign that said ” We are all immigrants”
      OK … My family is from Ireland. They immigrated to the US. There are a few differences though. We did it legally ,  learned the language and didn’t destroy communities. Get real all of you politically correct crusaders. We can’t let people break laws because “we are all immigrants” 

    • You may be right on most points in your post, but on one you’re wrong.  The new law absolutely does not require an “underlying offense” to be enforced.  Read Section 2, par. E.  It’s right there.  That means the “underlying offense” could be trespassing in the US, i.e. being an illegal immigrant.
      You need to read the bill before you make claims about it.  Almost everything else in the bill is long overdue, but, yes, you can be stopped simply for being Hispanic.  Does that make it racist?  Not necessarily, but it’s impossible to objectively define “probable cause” in the case of international trespassing.
      I don’t feel bad for any illegal alien who gets deported.  That’s the risk they take.  But it would sure suck to get hassled relentlessly if you are here legally.

  • “Essentially, if you’re a swarthy, dark-haired gentleman, the cops can stop you and ask for your papers.”

    Wrong! This is not true! Stop listening to the crappola from the lamestream media!

    There has to be an UNDERLYING crime! They cannot just stop people for no reason other than being illegal!

    Correct this lie!

  • Like most of these sorts of laws, police treat them as an added tool, not a compulsory rule. It gives cops the ability to pull over people who have 8 mexicans packed in a car and are driving over the border, it allows cops to check out things they believe are suspicious. Its not going to turn into a witch hunt with cops just harassing people of hispanic descent – much of the state of Arizona falls into that category, to one degree or another. It just allows them to act on suspicions or hunches with a legal backbone.

  • “But this sort of state effort is so intrusive and far-reaching, and so ripe for abuse, that it can’t possibly be the right answer to the problem.”

    Reading this, I am so PO’d. If you don’t like what is being done to crack down on this problem, to save the lives of people, then come up with your own solution, for God’s sake. Stop joining Obama’s and his Junta and throwing the whole thing against the wall.

  • I have no problem with the law as described above.  Profiling is not a bad thing.  It is a valuable tool that can help people be more efficient.   I would guess 99% of illegal aliens in Arizona are from south of the border. Why wouldn’t you profile?!
    And at the bottom of this mess is the simple fact that the person this law is aimed at is here ILLEGALLY.
    The federal government has no intention whatsoever of doing anything about this invasion of illegals so it is up to the border states to protect themselves.  If the government had secured the border decades ago and set up a real temporary worker system, this wouldn’t be necessary now.
    I say “good for Arizona”!.

  • Thanks for actually reading the law before making a comment.  As for targeting Hispanics, if you live in the Tucson region and aren’t Hispanic, you’re in the minority.  The destruction of those crossing illegally hasn’t been reported by the so called main stream media.  They gloss over all the crimes.

  • Also the law doesn’t require proof of citizenship – only legal status.  A valid driver’s license is proof of legal status.  You have to prove your legal status when obtaining an Arizona Driver’s license.  The same holds true in many other states as well.

  • I use to deliver gasoline to most the cities around AZ,NV and Southern Cal. I ran the low road that runs next to the Mexico border. I could not believe the huge number of illegals I seen with drug packs crossing the border into AZ! I changed jobs away from the border, I looked down into car after car of illegals driving into Phoenix. Drop houses were raided every day and the illegals just kept coming. I stand behind Sheriff Joe and his men, he’s a real hero as are his men! It drove me out of the valley when a drop house was raided next to mine, I moved to Northern AZ to a small community of around 2000 retires and did just that. We’ve only had one bunch move into town and started filling up a single wide trailer with brown faces. It took around 3 weeks and they are gone. We have a great neighborhood watch!
    As for the new Arizona law the Govenor has signed, 95% of us stands behind the law and we’ll do all we can to have it enforced! Don’t sit and tear it down until you have to walk in our shoes!  

  • California here.
    Much of California’s fiscal (and social) distress is due to a cross-border invasion by Mexican nationals.  The fabric of life has been thoroughly shredded.
    The author’s airy disregard sounds quite unreal.

    • The author lives near San Diego, so I doubt he’s unaware of what’s going on there.

      • I lived in San Diego for several years.  There are areas there – just like in many other cities, where you do not have to deal with the problems faced by the vast majority of the citizens of the same city.  And – this guy’s a syndicated writer – so you can pretty much bet he’s not living in slumville.

  • The law itself provides for the following:

    Makes it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien to solicit work in any way shape or form, so no more hanging out around Home Depot.

    >>>>>> So?

    Makes it a code violation to knowingly employ illegal aliens, and may subject the business to suspension or terminations of any and all licenses, i.e. business license, liquor license, etc.

    >>>> Quelle horror!

    No jurisdiction in the state can refuse to enforce immigration laws.

    >>>> No objectionable

    Illegal aliens are considered to be trespassing if found on any public or private property in the state of Arizona.  I.e., physically present anywhere in the state. It’s a class I misdemeanor.  If the illegal alien has drugs or money in his possession, that bumps the charge to a Class 3 felony.

    >>>> Sounds like a good incentive for them to stay away then

    A person may be arrested on the spot for this extended offense of trespassing if the officer has probable cause to believe the person is an illegal alien.

    >>>> I understand concern over what is “probable cause” but this still doesn’t seem bad

    A peace officer may stop any person operating a motor vehicle if the officer reasonably believes the vehicle is being used to transport or smuggle illegal aliens.

    >>>> OK

    A vehicle used to knowingly transport illegal aliens is subject to mandatory immobilization or impoundment.

    >>>> Hardly objectionable
    I saw a statement by an Arizona police spokesman at Tucson PD that said, essentially, that this new law would never, ever be used by peace officers in racial profiling.  And you can believe as much of that as you please.  If you think the cops in AZ will be rounding up blue-eyed, blond-haired fellows who say “aboot” instead of “about”, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.  It connects Manhattan with Brooklyn.  It’s in great shape.  Worth every penny.

    >>>> But racial profiling is what we all want in the airports so we can better catch the terrorists, right? Good there, bad here? Bit of a disconnect it seems

  • If American people stopped for one minute and read the laws of other countries, Mexico for example… Americans would soon learn that those countries have much more stringent immigration laws than United States.
    The only problem that I read, see and completely understand is that Americans fail to understand that we are being used by non-citizens and illegal aliens, businesses, and our own government for greed, which in fact is the underlying reason that illegal aliens come to our country.
    This law is long overdue and if properly implemented and enforced will help stop (Can not actual stop the problem, until we stop giving money and services away) or bring to a slower flow of the problematic items that illegal aliens bring to our country.
    If foreign governments decry our laws, then they first must take a closer look at their own laws and stop being hypocrites and lairs.  They support the illegal protest only to keep their own corrupt policies and administrations in power by focusing trash-talk against America and our citizens.
    If it is so good in their countries, please take back their citizens, we don’t really want the problems caused by them here in United States of (North) America.

  • “Essentially, if you’re a swarthy, dark-haired gentleman, the cops can stop you and ask for your papers.”

    “Essentially” eh? That should probably be “To oversimplify,…”.

    I think that some of those cops are probably “swarthy, dark-haired gentlemen” themselves. Some probably even have accents. I also give the local police a little more credit than to think they are all bigoted aryan racists who just can’t wait to harass hispanic looking folks.
    Hispanics comprise a large minority, if not a majority, of voters in the southwest. I  can just imagine some police chief trying to justify his oficers harassing hispanics to a hispanic elected official who has received numerous complaints from his hispanic constituents.
    I also give the anglo population of AZ. a little more credit than you do. I doubt that they will tolerate seeing their friends, neighbors, and family members, or even strangers, harassed solely on the basis of their ethnicity.

    • timactualI also give the local police a little more credit than to think they are all bigoted aryan racists who just can’t wait to harass hispanic looking folks… I also give the anglo population of AZ. a little more credit than you do.

      I’m conflicted on this.  On the one hand, I agree: the southwestern states have large Latino populations and racial profiling down there will not go over too well.  Additionally, this is the year of Our Lord 2010, not 1963.  I suggest that law-abiding Hispanics will ultimately be no more troubled by this law that Italian immigrants and their descendents have been by laws targetting the Mafia.

      On the other hand, if people were angels, we would not need laws.  Because people – including police officers – are NOT angels, the laws must be as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible so that there is as little room for misunderstandings (read: abuse) as possible.

      At any rate, I applaud Arizonans for taking steps to get a handle on the illegal immigration problem, and more particularly the crime that accompanies it.  I also abhor the fact that they have to do this because they can’t count on the federal government to do its f*cking job.

      • “ the laws must be as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible so that there is as little room for misunderstandings (read: abuse) as possible”

        One good reason to take things out of the hands of the US congress, which has exhibited a decided inability to pass straightforward and uncomplicated laws.

    • I live in Tucson. Like the city itself, the Police have a VERY large groups of ‘Hispanic-Americans’. Do you seriously think they are going to pull their neighbors, friends, relatives and everybody else over just because they have dark skin? HELL NO. In part – because they do not have enough COPS as it is. This law requires that they cannot even check to see if they are dealing with an illegal alien until the person in question has:
      a) ALREADY broken another law and is being questioned about THAT violation;
      b) CANNOT produce valid ID – like a driver’s license.  Ever been pulled over ypourself?  Last time I was, I was asked for my Driver’s License.
      So – get the facts right, READ the damn bill BEFORE slamming it, and then take a fricking breath and realize that the vast majority of folks are NOT armed, knuckle-dragging, noose-totting, KKK-hugging retards who are only looking for yet another reason to ‘put a brother down’.  We have schools that are cutting Art, Sports and regular class teachers – while diverting money to provide teachers to schools with large ILLEGAL immigrants and their US born kids in areas where they have little/no tax income because it’s all done by cash-on-the-barrel-head (often at below min wage – - with NO SSN, MEDICAID, STATE TAX NOR FED TAX paid).  Meanwhile, the small biz owners (many of which are HISPANIC-AMERICANS) that have to compete with the sleazy folks willing to hire these illegals (for FINANCIAL GAIN) are losing jobs or barely getting by (further tax cuts).  We have 44% unemplloyment in Home Construction industries – which have more than a few illegals working in it.  We have Hospitals that no longer offer child birthing services – except in life-or-death situations – because they are in near bankruptcy because of the number of illegals that come in for “free” services or don’t pay their bills.  I have had several friends in Sierra Vista that have had to drive the 75 miles to tucson to have their babies – and they are native US citizens.  Most major Hospitals in Tucson (and the greater Pima and Cochise County area) are in terminal near-bankruptcy, with the Fed offiering little/no help – and Mexico damn sure isn’t stepping up either.  WE pay for that support – and again, citizens are losing services to pay for those that don’t.

      Nor has the FED ever levied a surtax on wired money going from the States down into Latin Amaerican countries to help pay these bills – so that we CAN get the services, keep the teachers, pave our roads, hire more cops/firemen, etc.  And – a GREAT NUMBER of the illegals coming into AZ DO NOT STAY HERE.  They go to CA, GA, MD, NY, IL, etc…

      Then there’s the “dark side” you don’t hear about.  We have had running gun battles by drug cartels and gangs down I-19.  We have illegal aliens paying for drivers licenses – and voting  (BTW – THEY won’t get caught by this bill – THEY have a VALID ID…).  During the last national election, they found over 400 illegal votes in Tucson alone.  And now, we have folks physically threatening anybody that DARES to support this bill – they beat up an old man at a rally for this bill, and ran off several others.  So much for FREEDOM OF SPEACH…UNLESS you are here ILLEGALLY….

      We have had large amounts of trash/discraded clothes and three major fires this year that have wiped out large wildlife areas – from fires illegal alien groups didn’t put out.  The law itself was drafted when we had a series of murders and rapes by illegal aliens that had been arrested and turned out on bail by police in “Progressive” Cities that had passes ordinances that police CANNOT ask for proof of citizenship DURING an arrest.  Had they done so, the murdered victims would be alive – and at least six young girls (11-13) would not be trying to rebuild their lives after being raped. 

      For THOSE reasons, this bill is backed by almost everybody I know (including many LEGAL MEXICAN, PAKISTANI, AND INDIAN ALIENS working at Ft Huachuca and Davis Monthan Air Force Base.) – and by over 75% of the voters in this state.  That’s the TRUTH of what is behind this – and their support is NOT GOING TO CHANGE BY MEDIA HYPE AND LIES.  

      So SHUT UP, READ the bill, and go back and THINK…because we frankly do NOT give a shit if you don’t like it or if it makes the illegal alien populace worry.  The LEGAL residents have NOTHING to fear – and MOST support this bill.  Get over it.

      • I’ve been pulled over before.

        Ever been pulled over for swerving in your lane? Oh yeah, that’s a legit stop. Heh … and what’s the first question you’re asked after the cop explains why he pulled you over? Complies with the law yet really violates its intent, doesn’t it?

        That’s the point.

      • Several typos above.  There were over 4000 votes cast by poeple positively identified as being illegal aliens – and a large percentage of them were in an area which had a tight race; the pro-illegal candidate won, barely. 

        The “Fix” is relatively easy – and cannot be done by a single bill in AZ:
        1) If we have 12 million illegals, why do we only have ~600,000 blue collar worker visas?  Incerase the number – and let the STATES issue them, based upon local businesses/farmers’ requests.
        2) Put up the fences – ESPECIALLY in remote wildlife zones, which are being overrun and deforested.
        3) Arrest and fine the crap out of anybody thta hires an illegal alien.  If they didn’t pay taxes on them, hit them for tax evasion as well.  If it adds up to more than $1000 in unpaid taxes, let them sit in jail for a year/more.
        4) Put a surtax on all money transfers out of the country – based upon the State’s recording of the prior year’s costs by aliens.  Reimburse states for unpaid helath and educational costs.
        5) Use any illegal aliens caught AFTER the above provisions are emplaced to help pick up the trash and clothes dumped on ranches and in wildlife areas for a day/two – and THEN return them to their country (at the farthest possibile point/city from our border).
        6) Require a National ID Card or Passport for entry/exiting the USA -and to vote in elections with any FEDERAL elective positions in them.
        7) Repulsicans – SHUT UP and LET the vast majority of the otherwise-law-abiding illegal aliens apply for an receive the Visas from #1.  There’s no way on earth we can pick up and ship home 12 million (or MORE) folks - which means: feed them, move them, shelter them during movement, provide care, provide police/fire/other safety-critical services, route them to their countries – while keeping families togteher and not having mass disruption of our cities, roads, etc.  Nor could we afford it.  Get over YOURSELVES.  Besides, if they are LEGAL, they pay their fair share of taxes – to include MEDICAID/OBAMACARE/SOCIAL SECURITY – all of which are going deep in the hole.

  • “But racial profiling is what we all want in the airports so we can better catch the terrorists, right? Good there, bad here? Bit of a disconnect it seems”

    Don’t forget wanted posters for criminals. They should probably all be in a neutral shade of gray, with no mention of race or other suspect identifying characteristics. I am not sure if photos should be retouched to eliminate physical features typical of  certain ethnic or racial groups.

    • Yeah – no charge of moral equivalence comparing terrorists to illegal aliens, is there?

      • If you lived in Laredo, you would realize the gap isn’t as large as your smug quip would imply.

      • Nice reposte McQ.

        I appreciate the thought- the idea I may have pulled an Erb disgusts me- but it does serve to raise the question then, at what point is it appropriate? If we accept that profiling is a potentially useful law enforcement or national security tool (and we have) then I’d like to know where you draw the line on it’s use.  I’m not opposed to that idea – after all, we think SWAT has it’s uses but we don’t want them used on routine traffic stops – but where do we draw the line? Because I think that a good case can be made that unchecked illegal immigration is both a national security threat (you think AQ is above coming over the Mexican border?) and an existential threat as well.

        • You draw the line at trying to apprehend those that are a threat to others, shark.

          • Illegal immigrants aren’t a threat to others?

          • Not as “illegal immigrants”, no. The fact that criminals and terrorists may enter illegally doesn’t make the vast majority of illegal immigrants here looking to better themselves a threat.

          • What if you believe unchecked illegal immigration represents an existential threat?

          • Unchecked where – everywhere? That could conceivably involve all races. How do you racially profile that?

            I think where you’re leading is “unchecked illegal immigration involving Mexican nationals”. Or Hispanics if you prefer. Obviously if all illegal immigration involving Mexican nationals was proven to be an actual, real, honest to goodnesss existential threat, I’d have no problem with profiling them anymore than I have a problem now with profiling Arab nationals seeking to travel by air.

          • McQ,
            We are losing forest lands, health services, voting rights, jobs, personal property, personal identities – and now our lives.  What doesn’t seem to be a threat to you is a VERY real one to us.  And the Law only comes into play if the ILLEGAL alien first BREAKS a Law, is seen by the police to do so, and ALSO cannot produce valid ID (which many actually DO have).  There IS a threat – and the Law (which is based upon FED Law) gives clear cut and logical set of non-profile-based implementation rules.  If a cop doesn’t follow the rules, they lose the case in court.  And – we don’t have enough cops to be randomly pulling people over to look for illegals anyway.

          • Buzz – I’ve said any number of times I understand the frustration and don’t necessarily disagree with the state taking measures to stem the tide of illegals. But, assuming this is your first visit here, this is a libertarian blog that believes strongly in certain libertarian principles. I agree with many of your points below. In fact, if you’ll read my post “Immigration, open borders and reality” you’ll see many of them listed in that post.

            Where you and I would differ is in things like national IDs and arresting employers (fining works fine and hits them where it hurts the most). I certainly feel that it is both necessary and desirous that the border be secured. I certainly recognize that the government entity which has that Constitutional mandate has wilfully refused to do that. And I understand that, with the fact that there is a new GOP governor, the chance to pass something that would address the problem and highlight it at the same time was finally made law.

            The point of most of us here is there are areas of the law that are vague and need to be tightened up. If that’s criticism you guys can’t take, I think I’d be looking in the mirror instead of telling others to butt out.

  • How about we let the states be the laboratories?  I always liked that concept, not sure where I heard it, but it seems like a good place for it, and maybe we’ll all learn something.

  • Is there any immigration law thats not considered racist.  I mean, oddly enough, our souther border is with Mexico, and oddly enough, Mexico is occupied by Mexicans, hence, any policy is racist, because it primary will target the people who are the major source of the illegal immigration, with in the case are the descendants of the Iberian Europe.

  • Good, thoughtful insite being shared by all for the most part. Yes, the author may live a safe distance from Arizona’s concerns, yet the resistance to this article’ assertions provided lift to elevate more of the facts of life about immigration gone wild.

  • If the feds had done their job, instead of making voters of illegals, the states would be fine. To those that say it won’t pass a legal test. What’s that got to do with anything. this is a state law and not subject to federal rules. The feds have made it, every state for itself.

  • Children are Watching
    by stopdainsanity2
    When I entered kindergarten – I was put into a class for the mentally retarded. Because my skin was brown my teacher assumed I did not speak English and required special bilingual support which was not available at the time. Yes – I was a Mexican-American citizen child AND I spoke English.
    It literally took 2 weeks for my parents to force the school to place me in the mainstream kindergarten class — even though I could respond to questions in English. At the time if was easier for frustrated- overworked teachers (not bad people) to send me to the special needs class – no questions asked – based on my skin color. Although the error was corrected, as a child I never lost the feeling I was not welcomed and somehow my rights as a citizen were not equal to those of white americans. Be careful – children are watching.