State Senators Send Sweeping Immigration Mesaure to Governor Brewer

Phoenix, AZ – The main point of debate surrounds language that requires police,
when practicable, to check the immigration status of those with
whom they come in contact as part of any investigation. And it
also makes it illegal for any community to have a practice or
policy that keeps its officers from enforcing federal immigration
laws. Sen. Ron Gould said the the move is necessary because the
federal government isn't doing its job of securing the border.

(Essentially, we've given up American territory 60 miles from the
border. People are living in no-man's land. They're being
attacked by foreign invaders. They're being killed by drug
smugglers. Arizona needs to do something. Arizona needs to act.)

No one during the debate disputed that the border between Arizona
and Mexico has been porous. But Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor said
having police go after individual illegal immigrants is not the

(This bill does nothing to address human smuggling, the drug
cartels, the arms smuggling. My concern is, it creates a lot of
negative effects that none of us here want, doesn't address the
bigger issue. And, yes, I believe it will create somewhat of a
police state.)

But Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the measure, said
police already have inherent authority to enforce federal
immigration law.

(In this bill, we made sure that we're not expanding police
powers. We simply want to uncuff them and let them do their job.
I've spent most of my career in law enforcement. And I believe in
handcuffs. But I believe they ought to be on the right people.
Get them off from law enforcement.)

Sen. Linda Lopez, however, said the bill would legalize racial
profiling. Lopez acknowledged the measure says police can ask
someone's immigration status if they have -- quote -- reasonable
suspicion -- unquote -- the person is in this country illegally.

(To me, that's giving a defense to law enforcement to stop
whoever they want. Because they can always say I had reasonable
suspicion that this person was here illegally.)

But Sen. John Huppenthal said that sort of thinking presumes that
police are out to get Hispanics.

(Now, is there officer error? Let me assure you, you don't have
to have a brown skin to be the victim of officer error, police
enforcement error. Undoubtedly there is. And that should be,
there's a proper role for the media to cover that. And it's not

Sen. Paula Aboud said history shows Hispanics have a right to be
fearful of legislation which would allow race to be a factor in
stopping and questioning someone.

(We've been celebration Holocaust Remembrance Week. And folks
were remembering that a lot of the tactics that will now be
employed because of this piece of legislation were the tactics
that were used in Nazi Germany.)

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said the fears of foes are

(It's not unusual for police to ask people for ID. And I don't
think you're going to see, I really don't believe for a minute
you're going to see the kind of response that a lot of the
histrionics suggested might be out there, that police are just
going to become wholesale, 'Who are you, what are you doing
here?' investigators.'')

But the Arizona Association of Police Chiefs fears a provision
that allows individuals to sue if they believe cities are doing
anything to interfere with the ability of officers to enforce
federal immigration law. Gov. Jan Brewer has through Saturday to
decide what to do with the bill. But if she signs it, Thomas
Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Education Fund promises to sue, saying the bill both allows
illegal racial profiling and illegally puts the state in the
business of enforcing federal immigration law. For Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.