The Arizona legislature has passed the nation's toughest law on illegal immigration, making it a crime to be in the state without proper papers. Immigrants who can't prove they're here legally could be arrested, fined $2,500, and jailed for up to six months. Opponents of the plan say it's an "unprecedented expansion of police power," while a lawmaker behind the bill says it's necessary to keep citizens safe from crime. Is this sensible policy, or will it turn Arizona into a police state? (Watch a report about Arizona's clampdown on illegal immigrants)
Say good-bye to civil rights in Arizona: Once the governor signs this bill, says Alex Pareene in Gawker, police will be able to "stop literally anyone on the 'reasonable suspicion' that they just might be an illegal immigrant," and demand to see their papers. Apparently the state's lawmakers think it's more efficient to trample rights and "deport people without bothering to obtain warrants" than it is to actually fight crime.
"Arizona's new immigration policy: Ask every brown person for papers"
But the state had to do something: Arizona is "a Mexican border state blasted by an illegal immigration pandemic," say the editors of Judicial Watch's Corruption Chronicles blog. Lawmakers in the state "are fed up with the enormous toll that illegal aliens are having on their state as the Feds sit idly by and fail to secure the southern border." You can hardly blame them for taking matters into their own hands.
"Arizona makes illegal immigration state offense"
Not even the cops will be helped by this law: The new rules "create two classes of human being in Arizona," says Michel Marizco in BorderReporter.com, "and God help you if a cop thinks you might fit into the second class." But those cops are going to have their own problems. Under this law, they'll be sued if they don't use the new enforcement powers, and "sued for racial profiling" if they do.
"Papeles, por favor"