Arizona Senate Bill 1070

May 20, 2010
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The arguments people have raised about the Arizona Senate Bill 1070 are unjustifiable when compared to the actual text of the bill and federal laws the bill follows. The bill requires law enforcement officials to demand to see papers of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant and arresting the suspected person if he does not have his papers with him. The bill was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23; the revised version of the bill, House Bill 2162, was signed on April 30. It will be effective on July 29 of this year.

The bill requires law enforcement officials to ask to see identification papers and other documents of people who they have “reasonable” suspicion to believe are in the United States illegally. In the revised version of the bill, it prohibits police to base their suspicion on race, color, or origin. Also, the laws in the bill cannot be put into effect if it goes against federal immigration laws and the civil rights of all people.

One of the main problems many people have with the bill is that they believe it will cause racial profiling. To be exact, they believe that police will target any person who looks Mexican or Hispanic for immigration papers. On the contrary, the bill specifically says that police can only make an inquiry, “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien.” Also, in the revised version of the bill, it states that, “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color, or national origin,” in the determination of who is an illegal immigrant. The only way an officer can use race, color, or nationality as a determining factor is if it is within the legal boundaries of the Constitutions of Arizona and the United States. If people would read the bill before making assumptions about racism, many would realize that their fears of racial profiling are unfounded.

Another concern about the bill is the fear of immigrants’ civil rights being violated. However, what some people don’t realize is that in the bill it states that any of the measures in the bill can only be executed if they follow and maintain federal immigration laws, civil rights of all people, and privileges of American citizens. This specification guarantees that, in the process of obtaining immigration information from a person, their civil rights will remain intact; it would be illegal for an officer to compromise a person’s civil rights and liberties in any way while carrying out the laws in the bill.

Some people feel that it is unfair to ask illegal immigrants to carry identification with them at all times. It is not unfair to have this expectation; it is the law. United States Code, Title 8, Section 1304 (e) requires every illegal alien eighteen years old or over to carry a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card with him at all times. If an alien fails to have one of these documents, it is not only going against the Senate Bill 1070, but also against federal laws. The Arizona bill is not enforcing new laws; it is reiterating laws that are already in place by the US government.

Some people are also claiming that the bill is illegal and contradictory to the Constitution. Neither of these claims is true. The bill makes over a dozen references to the United States Code. These references ensure that while officers are carrying out the laws in the bill, they cannot be in discord with federal laws. In addition to this, racial profiling, which is illegal in this case, is strictly prohibited in the bill, unless it is, “to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.” As for the bill conflicting with the US Constitution, the bill does not restrict civil rights and liberties of citizens; it also does not restrict these same rights for illegal immigrants.

All over the country, people are making false assumptions about the bill because they have not read and understood what it contains; media representation of the bill is also leading people to misinterpret the bill. For example, in Chicago, the Highland Park High School girls’ basketball team was planning to go to Arizona for a tournament. The school’s administration cancelled the trip when Senate Bill 1070 was signed. Many people believe that this is an act of boycotting the state, as the city of Los Angeles has done. About the trip, assistant superintendent Suzan Hebson said that it “would not be aligned with our beliefs and values.” This statement does not make much sense, because the “beliefs and values” she means are in no way compromised in the bill. If she had read the bill, she would realize that her qualms are unjustifiable. The text of the bill, as well as the federal laws it includes, prohibit not racial profiling while also protecting the civil rights and liberties of every person.

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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

getmemadd said...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

If you were to go to Mexico, you would most definitely have rights because you're a human being. And just like those "illegals" im pretty sure your family wasn't established in the U.S. forever. Im Native American and my family HAS been here for generations. My family has been here before the United States was formed. If you think they should go back to Mexico, maybe you should go back across the ocean.

And about your tax dollars going to hospitals for these people to use- their tax do... (more »)

alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm
I know I would have basic human rights in Mexico, like illegal Mexicans do here. But, you could also make the argument that none of us have been here forever and that we're all immigrants. I am a legal American citizen (a minor, yes, but LEGAL nonetheless). If illegal immigrants want to be legalized, naturalized citizens, I have no problem with that. But the ones who are taking advantage of the system are the ones I do have a problem with. It's not fair for them to be reaping the same benefits t... (more »)
ewyatt said...
Jul. 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Since when did illegal immigrants get rights??? This idea is so rediculous to me. Do you think we'd have any sort of rights in Mexico? Absolutely not. I would really love my tax dollars not paying for these illegals to use my public schools, my hospitals, etc. etc. 


Come on people. Really think about this. This isn't their country! They are NOT citizens! If the Hispanic population in Arizona is THAT upset and concerned about racial profiling, then how about this....g... (more »)

Toughman637 replied...
Mar. 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm
First of all, Mexicans lived in Arizona way before America was built! Till Americans stole Texas, Arizona, N.Mex and Calif. from Mexico. They took atvantage right after the Mexicans just fought with France. So Shush
dancer13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm
hmm. I beg to disagree. See, the law/bill itself is not inherently racist, but people take things into their own hands, and it's very easily taken advantage of. in and of itself, it may not be racist, but people could interpret it and use it as backing for racist/prejudiced actions. racism is still very alive in this world. as a brown person, i would know. :) just saying.
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm
Read the bill!!! Please!! The Arizona House Bill 2162 is a revised version of the Senate Bill 1070. It explicitly says in several places that using race/color/origin is prohibited! Police officers CANNOT interpret the bill any way they choose or there will be consequences. So many people haven't read the bill and, being ignorant, are making ridiculous claims about it. Please don't be one of them!!
dancer13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm
That's true, but think about it. Would a white person really be stopped by anyone as a potential alien? I highly doubt it. I don't understand why this bill is even necessary. It's just a stepping stone back into Jim Crow laws of the past.
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm
Police must have reasonable suspicion to believe someone is here illegally. Also, the bill dovetails the existing US Code. It really doesn't create any new laws, it just expands on existing laws. To oppose the AZ Bill, you oppose national laws, and those aren't racist at all...and neither is the AZ Bill.
TxDragon said...
May 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm
I totally agree with you about the Arizona bill, and I'm getting so annoyed with people who say it creates racial profiling.  Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the bill, and later admitted he hadn't even read it yet!
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm
Thanks! And I think what Holder did is ridiculous. I wanted to work that in, but I couldn't find a place that worked.
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