Ok people, here's the deal
- I am not racist
- I am not a white supremacist
- I am not against immigration
- I am not against treating people fairly, regardless of color or country of origin
- I am not an advocate of giving police officers the power to un-duly badger people.
With that understood, let's discuss this new immigration law in Arizona. Or more specifically, the opposition thereof. You people are ALL IDIOTS. Jeez! I've seen every kind of protest against this thing that I can think of. And I really have to wonder if you people even know what this law is about. Have you even READ it?
For real. As far as I can gather from the law itself, as well as the discussions about it that I have been privy to, this law is hardly even necessary. All it is, is a statement declaring that the state of Arizona is going to try harder to enforce the ALREADY EXISTING federal immigration laws.
Someone explain to me why this is a bad thing... Go ahead. Anyone. Please.
The point is, people, that we're talking about people who are breaking the law. It's a law against people who have broken the law... They're already committing a crime. It's not like we're picking on some innocent group who hasn't done anything. Why complain about a law that makes it illegal to enter the country illegally? Hello. Being free doesn't mean doing whatever you want. Even if you're Mexican.
People keep saying all sorts of crazy stuff about how it's an allowance for police to go and arrest anyone who they think might be illegal, or to start spotting people who look mexican so they can go pull them over on purpose. They say lots of other stuff like that. None of it's in this law. Anywhere. If that ever happens, it's a police officer being a butt, but it's not the law's fault.
I looked at the law myself here: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf
This is what I learned.
My personal summary of the actual text of the law:
- The first sentence declares the intent of the law to be to further enforce federal law. In other words, it's just a state law that re-says the stuff that's ALREADY illegal to do by the country's laws. It also makes it illegal to make laws that over-rule the federal immigration laws. Which makes sense to me.
- The law doesn't say that the officers have the right to just stop people and accuse them of being illegal. In fact, it specifically says "FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c)." What does that mean? It means that the police officers are going about their normal jobs. And if they pull someone over, detain them at the scene of a crime, or any other such normal police activity, they might occasionally find someone who they have a suspicion of being illegal. If they have this suspicion, they are allowed to ask for proof of citizenship/legal entry. Not only that, but it says they have to ask nicely.
- If, in the course of these events, the police happen to find someone who IS illegal, they turn them over to immigration services. Which, again, was ALREADY the law. Not a new thing.
- The next several sections just talk about what police are allowed to do in the case of an arrest. And get this... they're the same things they do for citizens. Gasp! Imagine that.
- Page two starts with things like benefits, licenses, services, etc. Guess what it says... that a person must provide proof of who they are in order to qualify. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we've ALL had to do that for a really long time. Citizens have to provide proof to get a drivers license or insurance, or whatever. Why should anyone else be different? It was already the way things were done.
- After giving a lengthy description of how people can bring court action if someone tries to pass a policy that negates the federal immigration laws, they get into what actually constitutes an illegal alien. They are 1. Present in any private or public land of the United States, and 2. are not there according to the laws that are present in the United States code. This I like also, because it is clearly pointing out that no one is making new immigration laws. They are just making sure that people who already aren't supposed to be here aren't.
- The rest of page three just talks about fines, penalties, and what exactly kind of charge it would be if someone were caught illegally. Page 4 goes on about what kind of charges you can have if you help people enter illegally, and what exactly constitutes help. Pages 5 -16 talk about transporting or hiring illegal people, and what you are not allowed to do. (None of this is new stuff, people. Old news.) And also what rights you have if you are accidentally involved in these things.
- At the very end, the law sets aside some funds for helping the enforcement teams that work against gangs and illegal immigration. They already exist. It's just a money assignment.
And that's the law. The whole law. I saw NOTHING in it that supported, allowed, or excused racism, violence, or for that matter anything that wasn't already federal law. Like really, it was all old news, except that it made it official on a state level.
So here's what is supposed to happen based on this law.
- If someone gets pulled over or arrested, the police officer makes sure they're at least here legally. (Illegally being the same rules that already exist in the federal laws.)
- If they are, they just go about the normal fine/court/jail process. (whatever they were stopped for in the first place).
- If they are not, they get turned over to immigration. (Again, according to already existing federal laws).
- People are not allowed to help immigrants cross the border illegally. (Wow, that's a rocket science statement. People aren't allowed to break the law. What a novel concept.)
- People are not allowed to hire immigrants who have crossed the border illegally. (At least they're not supposed to hire them on purpose. They're supposed to check to make sure, though.)
Do you people really have a problem with that? Really? If so, do explain. I'd really like to hear what's so wrong with making sure people are following the laws.