When Hedgehogs start talking about what is “in our souls,” the Foxes should listen. In Arizona the Hedgehogs are seemingly in control, and it is unlikely they will be able to stop themselves without the intervention of a fair number of us who “know many things.”

The law passed in Arizona (located on the Southwestern border of the United States and the Mexican state of Sonora) will dramatically alter relations between the Latino and Gringo communities that live within its borders. The “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” better known by its former moniker, Senate Bill 1070, makes the federal crime of living in the United States without documentation a state crime, thus extending jurisdiction over immigration violations to state and local polices officers. Supporters of the law argue that this is not a profound change in the law, rather it is just “giving more tools” to state government to enforce currently existing law. This is both misleading and disingenuous.

It is misleading in that the law does far more than allow Arizona jurisdiction over what were formerly areas reserved for federal agents. Below is a short summary of a new legal framework devised to support this law:

● All officials in Arizona are now required to provide information that might determine an individual’s legal status, such as their eligibility for public benefits, services or licensing provided by any agency of the government. They must also provide names and addresses, if requested to do so pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in the state. Stated otherwise, it is now illegal to provide any form of legal “sanctuary” to undocumented workers in Arizona.

● The law indemnifies police officers from any consequences of legal action that might arise from their enforcement of this law. Thus, any officer charged with violations of civil liberties by, say, a U.S. citizen of Mexican heritage who was arrested and held in prison for failing to carry identification papers — something an American citizen is not legally required to do — could not be held financially responsible in a civil suit, unless it was shown that the officer had acted in “bad faith.”

● Any undocumented alien, or legal resident alien, apprehended without papers is guilty of misdemeanor or felony trespassing, depending on extenuating circumstances such as possession of drugs or a weapon, or previous immigration violations. This adds another charge, and a potentially serious one, that could result in significant jail time to legal and undocumented aliens alike, for failure to carry one’s papers.

● The law further stipulates that any individual arrested under this statute is ineligible for suspension or commutation of sentence, or “release of any kind,” until the sentence is served. Thus, the legal resident who forgot his papers in his gym locker will have to sit in stir for months or possibly years, before any chance of release. Further, anyone arrested under this law is responsible for any and all costs associated with his or her imprisonment in addition to a $500 to $1000 fine. It is clear that those fines for a sentence of several months could quickly build into the tens of thousands of dollars.

● It is now illegal in Arizona to hire people from your vehicle, or be hired by a person in a vehicle, if it “obstructs traffic flow.” Arrest under this section carries a fine of $1000 per person being hired and immediate impoundment of the vehicle. It is also now illegal for an undocumented alien to solicit work in any manner, or for anyone to “encourage or induce” an alien to come to Arizona. Moreover, it is now illegal for anyone to “transport or move” an undocumented alien in Arizona in any means of conveyance, and it is illegal for anyone to “conceal, harbor or shield” an undocumented alien in any building.

These are entirely new aspects of the Arizona penal law, and while they are clearly intended to sever the links between undocumented aliens and legal residents or citizens, the very wording is Orwellian. Personally, I can’t help but think of the grainy cover photo of Anne Frank when I read that it is illegal to “conceal, harbor or shield” another human being. These aspects of the law are, arguably, the cruelest, as they attempt to force citizens and legal residents to turn on their employees, friends or even family with whom they live or work. These crimes are all Class 1 misdemeanors in Arizona, where the range of punishment runs from probation with no time in jail, to up to six months in jail and a fine of $25,000, plus an 84% surcharge. Moreover, it appears to my reading that punishments under these sections of the law are also subject to the “no release of any kind” interpretation AND the absorption of all costs associated with imprisonment by the individual.  I’ll leave it to the lawyers to figure that one out.

  1. Crazy Yo. Crazy. I can’t even finish reading this.
    “we’re just saying that it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls.” Greed? Is that what he is saying? You have to have a greedy, lecherous soul in order to be an American? Sounds about right.
    So, his grandparents came to the United States before mine did. Whatever. Keep it.
    Posession is 9/10ths of the Law, right? So then – GIVE US BACK Mexico…meaning; Texas, California, Nevada, Utah.. Don’t forget most of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. there are more of US then there are of you.
    And please, don’t let us forget THIS guy and his ENTIRE family: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Salazar#Early_life_and_family

    Sank yew.
    oh yeah, and give us back our cholo, the freekin United States Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar….he should come with the deal. he is one of us.

  2. You thought that the economy was bad? Kick them out and see how fast this economy goes to shit. The services they provide to society are immense! Who do you think does all the farming, raising(nannies), cooking, and cleaning? They do. These low paying jobs are jobs that American’s never wanted and they had to fill that void with their own dreams of America. Lets see how fast your household products go up in price now that you don’t have “the amigos” working. Point being increase in prices are imminent and will probably happen over night if we continue pursuing action on this issue.

    Your great-grandparents or your grandparents were welcomed in the U.S. back in the industrial revolution ( or from whatever time period they came from) they were giving an opportunity to be a part of America. As Duncan Hunter stated that the children of immigrants should be kicked out, he should be first in line. We were all immigrants once. If thats the case then lets leave it to the Native Americans and lets all go back from where we came from!

  3. As usual a fine article Mike, although I had to Google GIITEM to make sure you were serious – unreal that anyone can be so crass as to come up with a name like that!

  4. Great article Mike. If the US wants less illegals then they should make the process for obtaining a work/resident Visa easier. At the very least. IMHO
    However, I do have to take issue with one of your points; “Consider this: if a crime is committed (a robbery, a mugging, a rape, gang activity in a neighborhood, human trafficking, et. al.) and a witness is without papers, does this law make it more or less likely that they will come forward?”
    Although it sounds good as a point, I would ASSUME that as is, illegal immigrants are very unlikely to come forward. I have zero facts to back this up, but that’s why I’m not publishing it as my opinion without knowing. Can you shed any light…?

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About the Author

Michael Tallon, Editor-in-Chief, head writer and delivery boy, of La Cuadra Magazine, expatriated from the States 11 years ago. After spending a year in Antigua gasbagging about wanting to start an English Language magazine, he hit the road and wandered about South America, India and Nepal before finding himself sipping tea in Darjeeling and realizing that maybe it was time to head home and pick up the career path. That ill-fated adventure in New York lasted about 6 weeks before he headed back to Antigua, Guatemala, where John Rexer had actually started the magazine in his absence.

After a few months, Mike took over the magazine and has been going slowly broke since. On that note, Mike would like to invite advertisers, readers and potential patrons to send him free money.
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