Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SB 1070, not as bad as it could have been

SB 1070, which could be called the Russell Pearce Omnibus, was sent to the Governor's office this Monday.

The bill:
  • Requires, without regard for limited resources, that police spend time determining--or attempting to determine--the immigration status of anyone arrested.
  • Makes employ of illegal aliens by private business, or even hiring an illegal immigrant to mow one's lawn, a State issue.
  • Criminalizes hiring of day laborers if picking one up momentarily disrupts the traffic flow.
  • Criminalizes transporting an illegal immigrant in one's vehicle with no exception. Driving a bleeding illegal immigrant to the hospital would be an offense. Extreme cases aside, this is mandatory social ostracism.

Moreover, whether or not the bill requires police to prioritize immigration enforcement is ambiguous. It does allow Arizonans to bring action against any governmental subdivision which restricts immigration enforcement below the "full extent permitted by Federal law". That could be taken to mean that any police force authorized to enforce immigration laws (the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department lost that power!) would have to spend all of its time doing so.

It could have been worse: early versions of the bill changed trespass statutes to make those without the Federal visas guilty of a state offense of "trespassing".

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