Disappointed with federal enforcement of immigration laws, Arizona has taken on the issue at the state level. State legislators have approved a bill which would give police the authority to arrest people in the state for failing to carry their immigration documents on them.
Fox News reports:
The bill contains several provisions. Among them, it would create a new state misdemeanor crime for failing to carry alien registration documents; allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving their legal residence; allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders immigration enforcement; prohibit people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor services on street corners; and make it illegal for people to knowingly transport illegal immigrants.
If Governor Jan Brewer signs the bill, Arizona will become the first state to criminalize the failure to carry immigration paperwork. Many civil libertarians are criticizing the proposed law for violating individual rights.
Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese likened the bill to practices historically employed by totalitarian dictators, comparing the rule to “German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques” on his blog.
Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez said:
The lunacy of rounding up people because they look a certain way, or are suspected of being in violation of immigration statutes, can only lead to one thing – violations of people’s basic, fundamental civil rights. Profiling.
With millions of people in the United States illegally, the need for immigration reform is clear. However, adopting policies that turn police against residents and require people to carry paperwork establishing their legal residency violates individual rights and will damage Arizona’s already ailing economy.