State Capitol News
8:56 am
Tue May 4, 2010

Last Minute Changes to Immigration Law Confuse Some

Phoenix, AZ – The law, set to take effect July 29, requires police to check
someone's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion
that person is in this country illegally. As originally enacted
it would have allowed police to consider race, ethnicity or
national origin in making that determination, as long as other
factors were also considered. Last week, however, the governor
signed changes which preclude those factors from entering into an
officer's decision of whether to inquire. But Victor Viramontes
of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
dismissed those as meaningless.

(It's just window dressing. The problem with this bill is that
there's no other way to make this sort of analysis but than to
rely on race, surname, appearance, accent and language. Just
saying that you're not going to do it does not change the
underlying problem that it's basically an invitation for police
to racially profile.)

That's not the assessment of the governor who said the changes,
coupled with existing constitutional protections, will ensure
police aren't singling out Hispanics. Aside from the invitation
for racial profiling, MALDEF contends the law is an
unconstitutional invasion by the state into the exclusive right
of the federal government to regulate immgration. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.