UPDATED 7/31/2010: Please also view more information on this topic in a recent post by clicking here.
UPDATED 6/28/2010: Please also consider my related post, “Hezbollah Terrorists Cross Into The U.S. Over Mexican Border” found by clicking here.
WANT PROOF that the government is at war with the states? View my post here that shows the proof.
Yes, I actually read SB 1070. In a nutshell, the state of Arizona has decided to enforce currently existing federal laws within its own territory. That’s right…existing…federal…laws.
So let’s get to those popular pundit questions on TV, the news and of course Obama claiming that taking your kids out to get ice cream means deportation…
The cops will just start profiling every Mexican they see!
“Show me your papers!”
An officer is not allowed to stop you and ask for proof of your immigration status, or identification without reasonable cause that you are involved in criminal activity. Such a request violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. An officer asking you for ID without a good reason is his assuming you are guilty, and then asking you to prove your innocence by providing ID. Luckily, we don’t work that way.
Twenty-four states have what is called, “stop-and-identify” statutes where you are required to show ID to an officer upon request if, again, he has reasonable cause. And yes, Arizona is one of them..but..Arizona’s code, 13-2412 clearly states an officer can only ask for ID, “based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.” So again, if you are just minding your own business or driving lawfully, an officer can not just stop you and ask for ID.
Some will argue that is not reality, and I am not saying there are not police that will abuse this. Nothing is perfect. What I am saying is that the person who is subjected to this unlawful search and seizure has rights that they can legally pursue. First off, anyone can refuse to provide ID. In such a case the officer must now ask himself if he has reasonable cause that would hold up in court. If he does not, then he has to honor your refusal. If he thinks he does not, or even thinks he does, you can bring him before a judge where he must explain his probable cause and the judge will dismiss your charges if the officer had no probable cause. It’s not perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than every other country, and I think we need to appreciate that. We are after all walking a fine line between securing an international border along a fairly unstable country, not just from illegal immigration but from terrorists, drug smugglers and violent criminals…and balancing that with civil rights.
So a violation of the law could include; a felony, a misdemeanor, a traffic accident, a traffic violation, or a petty crime. No different from an officer asking you for ID when your brake light is out.
Once they ask you for ID, the officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that you are here illegally. What is reasonable suspicion? According to SB 1070 it happens if you fail to produce a valid Arizona driver’s license, a valid Arizona ID card, a valid Tribal ID card, or a valid Federal, State or Local Government ID card (such as a different state’s driver’s license or a Resident Alien card).
In addition, SB 1070 states, “A law enforcement official or agency…may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the Unites States or Arizona Constitution.”
This statement puts everyone on notice that Arizona is aware of the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution that says federal laws always win over state laws. So let’s not kid ourselves, Arizona is aware and is not violating any federal or Constitutional laws.
“Arizona is communist! Arizona is like the Nazi’s!”
Arizona is following United States federal and Constitutional law.
Again, the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects everyone, unlike communist countries or Nazi Germany. However, assuming you are a legal alien, you must consider the following…
SB 1070 cites existing federal law, specifically 8 USC Section 1304(e) that clearly states, “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him…” This is a federal law.
Our own federal government already has a law on the books permitting law enforcement individuals and agencies to check someone’s immigration status and they must have proof on them at all times because they may be asked to show proof at any time.
Again, only upon being involved in the violation of a law. That darn Fourth Amendment again…protects you every time (no matter who you are)!
“Arizona’s law is unconstitutional!”
Also, SB 1070 cites several United States Codes (USC), which are federal laws already in existence including the fact that resident aliens must have their alien card on them (8 USC Section 1304), that only the federal law on how to determine an individuals immigration status can be used (8 USC Section 1373) that the legal proceedings to remove an illegal alien follow a federal law (8 USC Section 1229a) and that it is unconstitutional to require an individual to produce identification unless the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe they are involved in, or about to commit a crime (Fourth Amendment for the third time!).
Lastly, SB 1070, Section 12(c), “This act shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens.”
If our government tries to declare Arizona’s law unconstitutional, then they will have to declare their own laws unconstitutional as well since they are one and the same.
As far as the rest of SB 1070, the great majority of it is really about enforcing employers to verify their employees are legal residents and all the processes related to that. I didn’t get into that because it’s not what all the talking heads and fanatics on the news are screaming about. That said, I didn’t see anything amiss about their process for employee verifications either, again…they continued to cite federal laws.
The Take Away
The federal government is responsible for international border security and to that end already has dozens of laws on how to enforce national border security and protect against illegal immigration.
They are not doing their job.
That puts all the pressure and the cost to protect the other 49 states in the union on Arizona which is unlucky enough to be a state with an international border. That is not fair. That is why it is not supposed to be a state’s job to defend the country’s borders, but a federal one.
Arizona is simply enforcing currently existing federal laws to protect itself from drug cartel border battles, human trafficking and the higher taxes associated with crime fighting and social services to support Non-U.S. citizens.
We should be thanking Arizona for securing our border, not boycotting it.
What’s Obama think about it?
Not to let a crisis go wasted, Obama decided to ignore the facts and constitutionality of the law and just use this opportunity to lock up some votes and sway favor for himself among Latinos everywhere by saying, “But now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.”
That statement is irresponsible, and a lie.
A correct statement would have been, “But now suddenly, if you don’t have your papers your driver’s license and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed and violate the law, you’re going to be given a ticket, that’s something that could potentially happen.”
And let’s not forget, he is assuming you have “papers” to begin with (here legally), and merely forgot them, so the worst that could happen to you really is just getting a ticket or two.
But this is politics, and the first statement gets you votes, the second statement does not. Truth is irrelevant.
A useful website to review your rights when interacting with police can be found here.