In an effort to crack down on the hiring of undocumented workers, county attorneys in Arizona are now empowered to conduct confidential investigations into employers who may have violated the statute. The law shields any proceedings arising from those investigations from “open meeting laws.” Further, law enforcement officials are specifically given the legal authority to conceal their identities, or otherwise “by ruse” to determine if employers are hiring undocumented workers, without being accused of entrapment. Violations under this section of the law are considered Class 3 felonies and punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison and, again by my reading, such sentences are subject to the same additional punishments specific to this law.

● Finally, the law grants standing to any individual or group in Arizona to bring suit against any agency in the government, law enforcement or otherwise, if they believe the law is being applied with less than maximal force. If a judge finds in favor of the individual or group that brought the case, two things happen. First, the agency is to be fined between $1000 and $5000 dollars per day, since the time the suit was filed. Second, the individual or group that brought the suit can recover attorney and court fees if their case is successful. The money raised in this manner would be allocated to the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM – an acronym pronounced in Southwester dialect as: “Get’em”), a police agency that gathers intelligence on the transnational gangs that bring so much violence to the border region.

● A separate bill currently under consideration is designed to reallocate $200,000 from the GIITEM budget for the creation and maintenance of a volunteer vigilante force, organized through the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, for civilian border protection.

All of the legal sanctions listed above are entirely new, and put the lie to the claim that Senate Bill 1070 “only applies federal law to state jurisdiction.”

Supporters of Senate Bill 1070, at whom we’ll take a closer look in a moment, are also being disingenuous when they claim that this is not a “show me your papers” law. It has been widely commented upon that this law gives police the power, and demands they use that power or face the sanction of the courts, to arrest anyone whom they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the United States illegally, and there is the well-founded fear that the law would lead, inexorably, to racial profiling. “Not so,” say the law’s supporters. They claim that police would only be able to confront a suspect with questions about their residency status after otherwise making lawful contact with the individual. After an arrest for burglary, for example.

The original language of the bill was ambiguous in this regard. It was subsequently clarified by an amendment signed into law a few days after the original bill received the governor’s signature. The new language is more explicit, and it expands the power of law enforcement significantly. Officers are now required to determine the residency status of any individual of whom they have reasonable suspicion of being an undocumented alien after every “lawful stop, detention, or arrest.”

There are two problems with the argument this is not a “papers please” law that will be used to racially profile Latinos. First, a “legal stop” is, literally, any stop made by a law enforcement officer. Say there’s a noise complaint, or a report that “that family” is housing illegal aliens, or a lawn is overgrown, or a group of men are standing on a street corner laughing too loudly, or a vehicle has a broken tail light, or there’s mud on the license plate or a thousand other reasons that might lead to contact initiated by an officer of the law, the officer is then compelled – if he has reasonable suspicion – to ask to see identity papers.

Second, by this very law, it is an illegal act, enforceable by state and local law enforcement agents, to be in Arizona without documentation. Hence, a police officer with “reasonable suspicion” that this is the case, is compelled to approach the individual or group to determine if a crime is being committed – in this case, the crime of “being illegal.” And recall, if the officer arrests the wrong person, he is immunized from sanction. If he doesn’t act, he puts his department in jeopardy of serious fines for not enforcing the law once anyone in the state brings suit. Like, say, the individual who called in that noise violation or reported that there were illegal immigrants living in “that house.”

Make no mistake about it; this law empowers the police to demand to see your papers. And, despite protestations that the law specifically forbids racial profiling by its supporters, if you’re White, you’re probably fine – but if you are Latino, you may be targeted.

  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:

    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.