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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Arizona Dust Storm

On April 23rd,  Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law, SB 1070, prohibiting the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes.  It requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien must verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government.

Groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws insist the law is unconstitutional.  However, the arguments  against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate, according to Kris W. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law and border security from 2001 to 2003. Let’s analyze the major objections:

1. It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them:

––It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents, but since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law merely adds a state penalty to what was  a federal crime.
––And most other countries have similar documentation requirements.

2. “Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that allows police misconduct:

––Federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words.
––The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion. When several such factors are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that result may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

3. The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling:

–– Section 2 of the Arizona Law provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status. Also, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling apply.
––The Arizona law reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.

Source: Kris W. Kobach, “Why Arizona Drew a Line,” New York Times, April 29, 2010.

For text: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/opinion/29kobach.html

One Response to “Arizona Dust Storm”

  1. DANIEL GARSHMAN Says:

    cheers for Arizona having passed a law to curb illegal immigrants. perhaps it is not a perfect law, but one that is needed, since the federal government has not seen fit to remedy a situation which is intolerable. it appears that Obama & company are looking forward to having as many illegals as possible to become citizens, so they may perpetually dominate politics in our beloved country.

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