The new Arizona immigration law

by on May 1, 2010 at 7:10 am in Law | Permalink

Here is a perspective from Megan McArdle:

I'd be a lot more sympathetic to this law, in fact, if it required the police to check the immigration status of every single person they pulled over, without any gauzy "reason to believe" fig leaf to cover up what's really going on.

Raise your hand if you think that law could have passed in Arizona.

Now, anyone whose hand is raised, contact your psychiatrist immediately.  You need to check the dosage on those meds.

If you think that immigration is a pressing problem, then the place to enforce it is in areas of life that are already regulated pretty intrusively:  border crossings, employment, landlord/tenant relations.  These are places where enforcement can be stepped up quite dramatically without massive intrusion into the ordinary lives of law-abiding citizens.  But quasi-criminalizing looking different . . . well, it's not just wrong. It's un-American.

1 Bill May 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

The solution is a Social Security national identity card with biometric identification.

We identify each other to databases all the time, including airlines, car rental agencies, employers, etc. We shouldn’t be tearful about something that really means something.

This police state I can suspect you because you are brown stuff has to stop. Might as well ask Latino’s to wear a yellow star.

If we are to be non-discriminatory, we should apply the law to ourselves. We ask persons for identity for a job, an employer has to withhold and pay into SS, a bank needs identity to open a bank account or withdrawal, etc. So, deal with the problem directly: if you don’t have an identity card for transactions requiring identification because you are an illegal, too bad.

Here is one of the proposals offered by both a democrat and a republican.

“Two Senators, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, certainly seem to think so. They recently presented an immigration-bill blueprint to President Barack Obama that includes a proposal to issue a biometric ID card — one that would contain physical data such as fingerprints or retinal scans — to all working Americans. The “enhanced Social Security card” is being touted as a way to curb illegal immigration by giving employers the power to quickly and accurately determine who is eligible to work”

Read more:,8599,1974927,00.html#ixzz0mfxa0kSo

2 Andrew May 1, 2010 at 8:02 am

Maybe it wouldn’t pass because Arizonans are sane.

And yet, has McArdle been on a public airplane lately?

3 Andrew May 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

It’s difficult to enforce in employment or landlord/tenant relations. How is a small business owner or a small landlord expected to spot the difference between a real out-of-state identification document and a good quality fake? Even the proposed biometric card system only works if all employers have biometric card readers and retinal scanners ready to use.

Ultimately you’re trying to push the role of enforcement from government to business. It works for airports and banks because they are few in number (compared to small businesses or landlords) and because they are already heavily regulated. It doesn’t work for other types of business.

4 y81 May 1, 2010 at 9:07 am

As a landlord, I wouldn’t have a problem with a law that requires landlords to verify citizenship or lawful permanent residence. We already do credit checks and employment verification.

At present, as I understand, the law is the other way: to ask for evidence of immigration status would be illegal discrimination. This is in line with the general Megan McArdle policy where everything is either compulsory or prohibited.

5 Bill Woosley May 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

Do you people always drive alone?

Presumably, the police can check all of the passengers as well as the driver.

6 Andrew May 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

Yes, most “legal contacts” are bogus. The problem is that I rarely see any of these people come out of the woodwork about the harassment that cops already do to “true Amercans.”

Harassing two people is not better than harassing one person even if it is stupidity in the name of “fairness.”

Bill, are you talking to me?

7 Slocum May 1, 2010 at 9:58 am

Presumably, the police can check all of the passengers as well as the driver.

Legally, speaking — no. The driver is required to have and show a license. Other passengers aren’t required to have any ID with them (or to show ID if asked). But, of course, police DO ask. You can refuse, of course — but police have ways of making things difficult if you do.

This is not new to Arizona and checking for illegal immigrants, BTW. Police can’t legally search your vehicle without probable cause, but they often ask for permission anyway. If you know your rights, you can refuse, but is refusing a wise thing to do?

Routine, illegal police abuse of power is a real problem, and the Arizona law might make it worse. I *might* be persuaded to support it if it included, say:

1. Clear legal authorization for citizens to videotape police, and severe penalties for cops seizing cameras and other forms of intimidation).

2. Requirement for full time dash cam and personal video cam equipment for all cops.

3. Harsh, consistently enforced criminal penalties for cops exceeding/abusing their legal authority.

But fat chance of any of that happening.

8 POWinCA May 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

I raise my hand sky high. Every time a police officer has pulled me over and said, “Drivers license, registration, and insurance” he was checking my “immigration status.” It’s funny how many “no licensias” fail to get deported yet people think police officers are now going to go ape over this.

I had to prove my citizenship for my job. Why doesn’t everyone?

But let’s not confuse what we know from what we can prove through a cursory search based on probable cause: I can spot an illegal alien from an American born Hispanic from 100 yards away. Three seconds of conversacion is all it takes for complete confirmation.

They are here ILLEGALLY. They consume public goods and services. If they don’t pay taxes, they are thieves. If they do pay taxes, they are identity thieves. We are the ONLY country in the world (other than Israel) who takes heat for controlling it’s immigration.

The opponents of this law want nothing less than total amnesty, citizenship, bringing their entire extended families here, welfare, social security, health care, jobs, and voting rights. The leaders of the opposition have openly preached for reparations to Mexico to include ceding land back.

Opposition to this law is INSANE. The law is merely a restatement of EXISTING federal law, but it makes it a state crime. If the feds were doing their jobs, this wouldn’t be necessary.

9 mb May 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

Even without the new law, Border Patrol has for years been stopping motorists in the southern quarter of Arizona (i.e., within 100 miles of the Mexico border) to check immigration status.

I was stopped outside Tombstone last year (as well as outside Alamogordo, NM). I didn’t have to show paperwork, though; they made a big show of their assault rifles and then took my word that I am a US citizen.

10 joan May 1, 2010 at 11:41 am

Why is everyone assuming that the police will only ask about immigration status if people have been stopped for traffic violations when you must show the police your drivers licence. As I understand the law they can ask anyone they lawfully encounter, victims of crimes, people injured in traffic accidents, jay walkers, people in the vicinity of a crime or even when responding to complaints by neighbors about a noisy party.

11 Andrew May 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm

joan, I’m not assuming that. Cops already give everyone a hard time. One of their favorite ways to bust people is to investigate victims.

On our way to making everyone lick boots, it is a perfectly reasonable first step to make hispanics feel the constant public paranoia blacks have felt for so long.

12 KOR May 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

The SPLC’s Mark Potok on America’s demographic “evolution.”

“…at the end of the day, the biggest thing that is really changing in this country is the fact that we’re going through a major demographic evolution. This country will not be run by white people anymore. So for the first time we’re coming close to really being a genuine multi-racial democracy in which no one group predominates.”

White majority = EVIL

White minority = Utopia

13 Greg Ransom May 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm

“Libertarians” have nothing but dishonesty and false arguments whenever the topic is immigration — why is that?

And why do they imagine bullshitting people is a substitute for truthfull fact giving and reason giving?

There really is a serious bullshit problem from “libetarians” on the topic of immigration — and they need to face up to it.

14 Al Brown May 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

This law would not be necessary in a free society. Property owners can invite whoever they please to visit for however long they wish and for whatever purpose. Its only when public property is involved that there is a “problem”.

We would not even be viewing this as a significant problem if we didn’t hand out citizenship to the offspring of people who are here illegally.

It would also not be a problem if we hadn’t built our economy on so much debt. All of the borrowing government does and encourages with low interest rates creates inescapable pressure to purchase more than we produce and/or import to do so.

This problem is just a side effect of our government’s horrible habits.

15 John S. May 1, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Hey Ken, nice strawman. How embarrassed you must feel to actually read the legislation (posted a few comments below yours) and see that the reality has nothing to do with your kook scenario.

16 Slocum May 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

One positive development: ubiquitous phone and video cameras owned and operated by citizens are making police misconduct more visible.

Yes, videotaping has made a big difference in making it clear just how widespread the abuses are. But in response, in some states, people videotaping police are being charged with BS felony wiretap offenses. That’s what happened to this guy:

17 Al Brown May 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm

A little unclear above. I meant to say that we import labor because we borrow so much. That’s what immigration is. Wages are higher than they would be if we weren’t borrowing so much and that causes people to migrate here to work.

Once we can no longer borrow so much, workers will be leaving for greener pastures and there will be plenty of jobs at very low wages for those who stay. And lots of taxes to pay down that public debt and all the private debt the govt will have assumed (its very stupid, apparently)

18 Seth May 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Can non-citizens get drivers licenses?

19 Elliot May 2, 2010 at 6:22 am

Seriously people? Something that is essentially a first step towards Ingsoc is actually PASSED in a state, and what you talk about is implementation? The fact that a bill this blatantly racist can pass is a travesty, and a sign that we need to look at how we’re approaching immigration policy. The entire law revolves around racial profiling. Seriously, arizona/republicans, the best you can bring to the table is institutionalizing racial profiling?

In other fun, crazy Arizona news, take a gander at what other crazy shenanigans the arizona legislation is up to:
While they throw in classes “that promote overthrowing the US government” in for good measure, it’s relatively clear that this bill is designed to inhibit Latino/Latina people in the region from maintaining any sort of cultural independance from the mainstream white culture.

Oh, and speaking of the AZ. School system….

20 Ken May 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm

From John S.>>Hey Ken, nice strawman. How embarrassed you must feel to actually read the legislation (posted a few comments below yours) and see that the reality has nothing to do with your kook scenario.>>

Hey John, nice blinders. How embarrassed you must feel if you ever bother to read the entire legislation, instead of a few [incomplete] lines of text extracted from the new law (HB2162) passed in attempt to fix the stupidity in the original (SB1070) just a week earlier.

BTW, you might want to read the last paragraph by Mulp, which explains why the latest attempt eliminates only a fraction of the stupidity. My scenario, far from being kooky, is totally realistic. The alternative, of course, is simply to require every natural born U.S. citizen to carry a valid government-issued ID card verifying his citizenship.

As a matter of personal opinion, I would not be opposed to such a law, and it would certainly simplify a lot of other thorny problems. However, since that is not the law now, you might want to rethink your opinion of the latest version of the Arizona law, and recognize that there is still a “stupidity gap” about nine miles wide.

21 hibikir May 3, 2010 at 11:15 am

Urban, you were lucky if your state in ‘limbo’ was short. I have been an ‘applicant for adjustment of status’ for 3 years now. However, Since my application was sent while I had a regular visa, I can still work. The Missouri Solution, if you could call it that, is that an AOAS can just use one of the documents that you can get as an applicant that have a time limit: Yearly employment authorization cards, or parole documents(documents needed to leave the US without giving up the green card process). The problem is that said documents last for a year, and the application fee, even without an attorney involved, is about $500. In essence, it’s a yearly $500 tax, since Missouri will only give you a license until the last day of said parole documentation.

So why do legal immigrants hate this laws? Among other reasons, because they are a huge hassle for us, who have not done anything wrong. I’d be better off if I just showed a fake birth certificate to the DMV. That’s what some illegals with licenses do.

22 Erica August 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Let them all in. From anywhere. We are the land of the free. The sign at the statue of Liberty says give me your tired and such. Why not let them all in? Let them live here and work here. If I go to another country I would like to live there and work there without all this crap. Why is it a crime to come here? Check status only when using public funds. Love one another no matter what!

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