Arizona Trying to Pass a Very Interesting Immigration Bill

By Michael J. Spychalski

Arizona, a state with an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants, is trying to pass a tough anti-immigration bill. The original bill used the wording “trespassing” for any illegal immigrant in Arizona. A recent amendment to that bill changes the language to “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document.” The question that is going to have to be answered if this bill passes is how the police are going to charge someone for violating the new law. Can the police just stop someone because they think that person is an illegal immigrant? How will the police determine if you are an illegal immigrant? 

The bill has pro-immigrant groups up in arms, and it does seem to open the door to discrimination. Opponents of the bill state that it is unconstitutional, will scare immigrants from cooperating with criminal investigations and reporting crimes, and is a waste of police resources. The bill does seem to make immigration a state issue rather than a federal issue and is sure to get a constitutional challenge. It will also force everyone in Arizona to carry proof of citizenship with them.

The Arizona Senate recently passed a bill that outlaws the hiring of day laborers off the street, prohibits anyone from knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant and forces police to check the residency status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

Arizona has always been a hotbed for illegal immigration issues. In my opinion, this bill will not survive a constitutional challenge. Currently, the Arizona House is looking at the bill. If it does pass, we will have to see if other border states follow suit.

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