News Flash: It's illegal to be illegal

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					Legal Daily News Feature

News Flash: It’s illegal to be illegal
If you spent last week climbing Mt Everest, on Safari in the middle of the jungle, or lost in the Gobi desert, it’s possible that you haven’t
heard the news yet, so let me bring you up to speed. The Arizona legislature passed a sweeping immigration bill and the Governor
signed it into law.

                              04/29/10                                   them at all times, and the immigration crisis isn’t justification
                                                                         for instituting a police state. Anti immigration laws that
                             The upshot of the new law is that           focus exclusively on enforcement may be good politics, but
                             it’s against the law to be an illegal       they’re bad policy. Under President Bush, Republicans and
                             immigrant in Arizona. Before you            Democrats in the Senate worked together to fashion a new
file this away with the department of redundancy department,             immigration policy that combined stricter enforcement with a
let’s take a second look. The nuts and bolts of this law                 path to citizenship for those already here. The bill, supported
require state law enforcement agencies to enforce federal                by members of both parties, also faced bipartisan opposition
immigration laws. Because immigration is a function of foreign           and died. Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Charles
affairs, it may be unconstitutional on its face. But beyond the          Schumer are working on a new bill that would address
initial federalism problem lurks some troubling civil rights             citizenship, a guest worker program, tighter border security,
implications as well.                                                    and biometric identification cards that employers could use
                                                                         to verify a person’s eligibility to work in the United States.
The law allows police to ask for proof of immigration status             But it’s an election year and immigration is a wedge issue so
from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally and allows          passing it will be an uphill battle.
them to detain without a warrant any person who does not
possess the proper papers. Although the law is ethnically                Furthermore, the bill does nothing to address the underlying
generic, it’s not much of a leap to assume the bill is targeted          problems that lead to widespread illegal immigration. Without
at illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America. If                political and economic reform in the countries south of our
being Hispanic is reason enough for a police officer to request          border, the motivation to come to the US illegally will remain
paperwork from someone, then we’ll have a genuine civil                  higher than the fear of being caught. Nobody wants to see
rights crisis on our hands - until the courts strike it down as a        American tax dollars used to prop up the economies of
broad abuse of police power.                                             other countries but the truth is we can spend the money on
                                                                         enforcement and continue to see illegal immigration expand in
Illegal immigration is a serious concern, particularly for the           spite of it, or we can buy a carrot to use along with the stick.
porous border states of the Southwest, and serious problems              If we’re going to spend the money, isn’t it better to spend
require serious solutions. The answer isn’t as simple as                 it effectively, even if that means some of it goes to other
requiring Americans of Hispanic origin to carry papers with              countries?

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Description: The Arizona legislature passed a sweeping immigration bill and the Governor signed it into law.
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