Alia Beard Rau at The Arizona Republic:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today signed into law an immigration bill that gives the state toughest law in the nation, making it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requiring local police to enforce federal immigration laws.
Brewer said she signed the bill in response to “the crisis the federal government has refused to fix.”
The new immigration law will require anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce “an alien registration document,” such as a green card, or other proof of citizenship such as a passport or Arizona driver’s license.
It also makes it illegal to impede the flow of traffic by picking up day laborers for work. A day laborer who gets picked up for work, thus impeding traffic, would also be committing a criminal act.
Here’s the text of the bill, by the way; the important stuff is on page 1. If statutory language isn’t your thing, try the legislative fact sheet instead. The media is telling me that this bill will do all sorts of draconian things, like require citizens to carry proof of citizenship at all times. After skimming the bill, I can’t find it. I think this is the money section:
B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
The alarmist theory, I guess, is that merely being Latino will be treated as “reasonable suspicion” and that if you don’t have a driver’s license or birth certificate with you when the cop asks for it, then it’s to jail you’ll be going. I don’t read it that way; Brewer said at today’s ceremony that she won’t tolerate racial profiling and issued an executive order authorizing the state police board to develop standards for “reasonable suspicion.” Article 8, Section F of the bill (on page 2) seems to say that cops can’t be prevented from checking your status, but that doesn’t mean “carry papers or go to jail.” It means they can run your name through a computer to confirm whether you’re here legally and no left-leaning municipal authority can stop them. There may be something in the bill requiring immigrants to keep proof of legal status with them, but I honestly can’t find it. Can anyone help?
Even before she signed the bill at a 4:30 p.m. news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it….
Saying the failure of officials in Washington to act on immigration would open the door to “irresponsibility by others,” he said the Arizona bill threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”
What is irresponsible and unfair about what Arizona did?
Arizona’s SB 1070, the legislation that would allow law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they find suspicious, is getting some clutch support from the local tea party movement.
From the Arizona Tea Party’s page on how to rally for the bill:
We are asking for you to spread the word to see if anyone is available to come down there… to show your support of the bill.They are meeting by the Arizona Flag on the House Lawn. Bring American Flags and signs if possible… Signs: We support “LEGAL” Immigration, In Mexico, You Must Be Legal… Why not here? – etc…The call for protesters is a response to the teeming anti-SB 1070 protests outside of the Capitol.
So, here is one effort to give government more power that tea partiers are not pounding the pavement to oppose.
Alex Altman at Swampland at Time:
It will be interesting to see how Congressional Democrats proceed. It’s too soon to book financial re-regulation in the win column, but with a cloture vote slated for late Monday afternoon, there’s been a lot of buzz over whether immigration reform will leapfrog energy legislation as the next item on the Democratic agenda. The sweeping nature of the Arizona legislation — the bill, which is sitting on Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday afternoon*, will require police to stop suspected illegal immigrants and arrest those who lack proper documentation — may have played a role in spurring Democrats to address an issue central to one of its core constituencies. And while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicates she will take up immigration reform if the Senate acts first, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the party’s point man on both issues, is urging Majority Leader Harry Reid to stick to the original script.
Audrey Singer at The New Republic:
Among its most stringent and divisive tactics is the provision that would grant police the authority to stop anyone suspected of being present in the country illegally. The act is intended to “discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” Critics, including President Obama, charge that it will encourage racial profiling while discouraging immigrants from asking for help from law enforcement when they need it.
Brewer’s signature demonstrates that Arizona–already well-known on this front due to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s law enforcement strategies–continues to lead the nation on tough immigration enforcement. Arizona’s immigrant population skyrocketed in the 1990s and 2000s until the recession struck. Now Phoenix, once one of the fastest growing destinations for immigrant newcomers, has seen a significant decline in its foreign-born population.
A veto might have been seen as a call for a widespread, strategic federal response, putting pressure on Congress to address immigration reform sensibly, responsibly, and very swiftly. Despite some recent jockeying on Capitol Hill, it remains to be seen whether politics will allow a bipartisan solution on this highly politicized and emotional issue in a rational way.
Governor Brewer has cracked the immigration reform debate wide open again. This time, it seems even more urgent for Congress to act to provide coherent and reasonable leadership on an issue that should be in the hands of federal lawmakers.
UPDATE: Byron York in The Washington Examiner
Rich Lowry at RealClearPolitics
John McCormack at The Weekly Standard
Damon Root at Reason
Blue Texan at Firedoglake
Scott Lemieux at Lawyers Guns and Money
UPDATE #2: George Will in WaPo
Julian Sanchez on Will
James Joyner on Will
Andrew Sullivan with a round-up