mgk now on Twitter
Because you can’t spell A-R-I-Z-O-N-A without N-A-Z-I.
Wonder if Governor Brewer can spell U-N-C-O-N-S-T-I-T-U-T-I-O-N-A-L?
ACLU sues in 3… 2… 1…
Weez, is this new law initiated by recent security scares? As Arizona borders on Mexico, perhaps the new laws reflect an increase in illegal immigration. I’m not yet condoning what Governor Brewer is doing but I am just wondering WHY she is doing it?
Kathy, the AZ law appears to be based in both a long-term conservative bent in that state and the more recent beatups proffered by nutbaggery on Fox Noise and wackaloons from the teabagger contingent. The law language itself was drafted by dyed-in-the wool racists inclusive of neo-nazis. Brewer thinks there’s votes in it- and in AZ, she’s probably right.
However, the law violates several US Constitutional provisions, including the 4th Amendment (rights against unreasonable search and seizure) and 14th Amendment (equal protection under law). The AZ law also treads on the Federal power to control immigration.
The AZ law will stand until there’s a Supreme Court challenge, which will most likely be brought by the ACLU on behalf of some person whose Constitutional rights have been violated by the ill-considered AZ law.
Thanks weez. I made a point of researching the law and it really is quite ill-considered. I can understand why some countries (Australia included) would want to toughen up security checks, however, the idea of heavy on-the-spot fines and even jail sentences handed out to people who cannot produce valid immigration papers without notice is extremely heavy handed to say the least. Surely, the least one can expect is that a person is given at least fourteen (14) days notice to produce valid paperwork; I mean, really, how many people would cart such paperwork around with them as they go about the day to day routine of their normal lives. I really hope that the weight of the Supreme Court will process a strong challenge. These type of infringements against basic rights seem to be getting more and more prevalent, eg the laws on internet filtering in Australia. There seems to be a worrying trend spreading in Australia, the USA and other western countries of extreme (almost militant) right wing conservatism that is determined to undermine the liberties of individuals on the excuse of security issues. Once these freedoms are eroded by beaurocrats, they are extremely difficult to claw back.
There’s fundamental problems with the AZ law, Kathy. There’s no legal way in the USA for law enforcement to require someone to produce proof of immigration status or citizenship, at least if the only criminal activity they are suspected of is unlawful migration.
While this doesn’t apply specifically to your comment, but just to get this part out of the way, the US Constitution applies to all persons on US soil. The preamble to the Constitution is ‘We The People,’ not ‘We The Citizens;’ thus, even non-citizens and unlawful migrants can claim US Constitutional rights while in-country. This is the basis of the well-known ‘wet foot-dry foot’ distinction in US Border Protection policy.
Under the 4th Amendment, one has the right to be free of molestation by law enforcement unless suspected of a crime. This is why ‘Your Papers Please’ is anaethema in the USA. Under the 14th Amendment, one’s race cannot be used as a probable cause of suspicion of involvement in crime. Thusly, one cannot be forced to produce proof of citizenship or migration status solely on the basis of law enforcement officers’ guesses at the person’s apparent membership in an ethnic group. There’s plenty of Hispanic US citizens and lawful resident aliens; being Hispanic is thus not probable cause. Even if a brown person were apprehended wandering a few hundred steps from a section of US-Mexico border fence at 4am, a person could choose to not respond to querying of their migration status (5th Amendment prevents one having to make self-incriminating statements). One is not lawfully required to produce identification to law enforcement, either. Law enforcement would have no probable cause to suspect unlawful migration and would have to set the person free. In practical terms though, most unlawful migrants admit their status when apprehended and are duly deported. Those who withhold identification can be held for a while, but not indefinitely. Police must pursue identification involuntarily such as via fingerprint records- and of course, this takes as long as possible, so the person can in effect be punished without due process.
The only Constitutional way in the US that one may be forced to produce proof of citizenship or migration status is when one is applying for paid employment. Even I would have to produce my US passport or birth certificate upon applying for a job in the US.
There’s nothing ‘almost’ militant about teabaggers. They attend political protests armed. No question about how ‘militant’ they are.
Thanks, weez. Your comments are very informative. I really enjoy this site! Cheers, Kathy
No worries, Kathy, glad you like to stop in.
I’m a Belgian native, having lived in Belgium for decades. We never quite understood why the US had no state issues IDs, apart from a passport.
In Belgium, anyone in a public space/place must be able to show their state issued Belgian chip card ID. Even when walking the dog in front of your door. Police may “politely escort you home” to pick up your forgotten ID, but they can just as easily book you.
In problem areas (like Brussels, the capital) ID checks are being used to pick out “people with the wrong face” or (more legally correct) those exhibiting “unusual behaviour”.
Police in Belgium do not have to explain why someone is singled out.
Anyway, the Belgian “must carry ID” approach has been in effect for over 40y,
but with an “open EU borders” approach it has done absolutely nothing to stop rampant illegal immigration and has only annoyed most locals.
Conversely, Peter, being American born, I was quite shocked on my first overseas travel in 1984-5, coincidentally to Belgium, to have been asked for ‘my papers,’ which happened a grand total of once, in Brussels. And to be fair to the police, I was utterly soaked in beer because I got the typical tourist treatment of having to drink from one of those half-metre tall yard glasses which invariably spills on the inexperienced…
As to having the ‘wrong face,’ or the right one as it were, I am blonde and blue eyed. I crossed borders (back & forth from .be to .nl, .fr and .de) with customs officers only sighting the OUTSIDE of my US passport. Didn’t bother to stamp my passport- I had to ASK for a stamp! White guy? American? No problem, at least in the mid 1980s.
I found Peter’s comment about the ID laws in Belgium very interesting (particularly as I haved a brother living in Brussels at the moment – and loving it). Governments in Australia have been talking about the introductiion of ID cards in this country for a long time and it has met with a bit of resentment by the Australian public (I think because many people fear the “Big Brother” approach). However, in this age of rising crime and security issues, I think perhaps the introduction of ID cards, throughout the world, will be inevitable over time. Part of me believes that if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear … then I worry about how quickly things can get really ugly and “pear shaped” when police turn against the public (eg like the Nazi or Stasi police). You hope things like that won’t happen here (or in other western countries) but who knows what the future holds. If ID cards are to be regulated, then strict laws must be put in place about a person’s rights in presenting such information. When I read about weez’s comments about the American constitution in relation to ID cards, it appears that the laws in America are very just and fair in relation to ID cards but it is evident that Governor Brewer is manipulating those laws to her own ends. Isn’t it possible then for a citizen on the wrong side of an Arizona ID check to take it to a higher court?
This new law is the kind of law that the feds should be implementing in order to protect our borders. We either protect the borders or have no borders.
Dearest Christine, no person in the US is legally obligated to provide proof of citizenship- or even proof of identity. That includes brown people who may or may not speak English. I agree that the US has a right to protect its borders, however, the US also has a rather nice little Constitution and Bill of Rights, which they are also obligated to enforce. Arizona’s immigration law (drafted by John Birch Society wackjobs) violates the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Saddle up your dinosaur, point it toward your local library and read it for yourself.
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