Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arizona House Amends Law, Controversy Remains

Late in the week, the Arizona House passed a bill (Download HB2162~2) that attempts to calm concerns with the Arizona immigration law through a couple of relatively minor changes.  For a description, click here.  According to Wonk RoomKris Kobach, the apparent author of the original bill and the architect of the recent changes, made the amendments in a way that arguably ensure sthat Arizona police can use the excuse of minor municipal housing code violations to inquire about immigration status.

I received the following response to the latest amendment to Senate Bill 1070 on behalf of UAgainst SB1070, a group made up of grad students from different colleges across the University of Arizona, from Doralina Skidmore a second year law student at the University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law. 

"HB2162 is not a victory for us. It is a defensive maneuver for anti-immigration advocates to strengthen the bill in court. The necessity of HB2162 shows that SB1070 was and remains flawed. The revisions of the bill are meant, as Pearce claims, to bolster the law, which remains motivated in hysterical nativism, racism and xenophobia. According to the AZStar: State Senator Pearce said that he does not believe the changes in the bill will make it harder for an officer to question someone who is suspected of being an illegal immigrant. "The reason we made these clarifications is to make it a stronger case in court," he said. "This is a tough bill. We didn't water it down."

Despite HB2162 UofA PD officers will still have the authority to enforce immigration violations on campus. Though they will not de jure be allowed to use race as a factor for determining legality, we don’t want legality to be being determined on campus at all. We don’t want students, staff or faculty to suffer the question of legality (of legal presence) on campus, a space that should be dedicated to liberty and active, unfettered intellectual pursuit.

Despite HB2162, UofA PD officers will still have the “authority to conduct warrantless arrests of persons for whom the officer has probable cause to believe have committed any public offense that makes those persons deportable.”

Specific facts constituting reasonable suspicion, for which officers may stop, detain or arrest potential illegal aliens include: “evasive, nervous, or erratic behavior; dress or speech indicating foreign citizenship; and presence in an area known to contain a concentration of illegal aliens.” Dress or speech indicating foreign citizenship? With the ability to enforce immigration crimes, UofA Police officers will be able to identify suspicion not by color or race but by dress or speech? The problem remains that our campus will be patrolled for violations which are inappropriately defined and enforced in a University environment.

Despite HB2162, the tensions between races, between documented and undocumented, will continue to foment, will continue to create an atmosphere of suspicion and xenophobia.

Despite HB2162, citizens and legal residents may still sue police officers for not fulfilling their duty of enforcing immigration violations.

Just today, as reported in the AZStar, fear remains escalated in Phoenix as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched his latest crime and immigration sweep on Thursday. The sweep was accomplished with 200 deputies and posse volunteers.

We do not want immigration officers or posse volunteers sweeping onto our campus. We want our campus to remain free of anxiety for all people, for all students, faculty, staff and visitors of all nations, races, ethnicites and backgrounds. We do not want UofA Police enforcing immigration crimes, no matter the pretexts. We continue to urge President Shelton to publicly condemn SB1070! As well as its new wrapping, HB 2162!

We will resist as long as SB1070/HB 2162 exist!"


It appears that Arizona does not want tio stay out of the news.  Its efforts at reassigning teachers with accents and new prohibition on teaching ethnic studies (here, here, and here) are just another round of pokes in the eye to the state's Latina/os.


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