By now, the only people who haven't heard of SB 1070, Arizona's Immigration Bill, are the acephalous. Because, you know, this feckin' thing has been teh Talking Point of every rightwing nutjob windbag since the first of them crawled back into the slime from which the rest of us fled.
While we would never incinerate that you, dear visitor, might be one of the impaired, we will, nevertheless, post a link to that foul piece of legislation, just so you can cast your seasoned and cynical eyeball over it.
One of the major talking points bandied about by the aforementioned RWNJs (Right-Wing Nut Jobs, for those of you who were not paying attention) is that the Arizona legislation is Teh Good and Totally Not Stinky Because It's Exactly Teh Same as Teh Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo Federal Legislation, So Suck It Lib H8ers.
Yeah, right. Here for your perusal is the Federal legislation, also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, Title 8 of the U.S.C.
While the Arizona law refers extensively to Federal law, it goes way beyond what Federal law envisioned as appropriate in criminalizing the presence of undocumented migrant workers.
And it is a great danger to the civil liberties of American citizens and especially to American taxpayers.
For example, Title II, Chapter 7, Article 8 G states:
G. A PERSON WHO IS A LEGAL RESIDENT OF THIS STATE MAY BRING AN ACTIONPardon the formattage, it's from a PDF and this is just what Blogger does to it.
37 IN SUPERIOR COURT TO CHALLENGE ANY OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A
38 COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE THAT ADOPTS
39 OR IMPLEMENTS A POLICY OR PRACTICE THAT LIMITS OR RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT
40 OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL
41 LAW. IF THERE IS A JUDICIAL FINDING THAT AN ENTITY HAS VIOLATED THIS
42 SECTION, THE COURT SHALL ORDER THAT THE ENTITY PAY A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT
43 LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR
44 EACH DAY THAT THE POLICY HAS REMAINED IN EFFECT AFTER THE FILING OF AN ACTION
45 PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION.
What does this section do? It allows any fucking nutbag who is a citizen *or resident* of Arizona to sue any police officer and any police department if they think such officer/department is not enforcing this law stringently enough.
I don't recall Federal law containing any such provision. Note that since police departments are funded by taxpayers, it is the taxpayers who must pay all costs associated with such lawsuits. Now why would the legislators of Arizona want to screw the citizens because they get a woody from h8n' on "teh illegalz"?
And how many cities are so wealthy that they can afford to cough up between $1K and $5K per day, if successfully sued?
It also permits the same mentally deficient RWNJs to sue any city or other state-level entity that adopts a "sanctuary" policy. Which, frankly, sucks. But what the abovementioned language means for the law enforcement personnel who have to put it into practice in the streets is that if you call the cops because, oh, I dunno, you're being raped or murdered? And someone else calls reporting a suspected "illegal alien"? You're shit outa luck, because the PD won't get sued if it doesn't immediately show up to save your injured ass. It will fershure get sued if some litigious asshole made the "illegal alien" call and found out that the police failed to respond or did not respond swiftly enough.
Arizona, you sure you want this shitty law?
And that's just the peripheral stuff.
Here's the real reason why this law seriously sucks hind end:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.This, boyz'ngurlz, is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It is part of what is called The Bill of Rights.
For decades now, the courts have chipped away at various provisions of the Bill of Rights, but none so brutally and continually as the Fourth Amendment. See, the Fourth Amendment prevents the government from violating its citizens rights to a great degree. It says "... no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, ..." et cetera. This means the cops can't haul your ass to jail for looking, or dressing, or even acting funny without swearing under oath that they have a good reason to believe that you're a dangerous criminal. They can't bust down your door, they can't enter your home, they can't stop you when you walk down the street, they can't do shit to you without that little piece of paper signed by a judge and sworn to under oath. So if the cops lie to get that little piece of paper, they're guilty of perjury and you have the right to sue their asses off.
However, this law amends Section 13-3883 of the Arizona Revised Statutes to permit the police to arrest without a warrant, not just for dangerous felonies and suspected terrorism, which we would probably all agree is justified by the demands of public safety, but also for mere misdemeanors. Under this law, the cops can come into your house and demand to see everyone's papers if there's too many people in your house, or you're violating some noise ordinance, or there's a car on blocks in your yard.
The po-pos can impound your vehicle if you give someone a ride without inquiring for evidence of their immigration status. Isn't that nice? Give your elderly neighbour a ride to church? Bam! Go to jail, do not collect, etc. Give your friend's kids a ride home from school? Tough shit for you if they were born someplace else and are "undocumented." Wifey in the car had a little nip of alcohol? If she's under 21, off you go to teh jailhouse. What's even worse, the law specifies that your insurance company has no duty to pay any charges that you might rack up during this period. What, not even while you're pleading your innocence and wrongful arrest through the courts? Nice.
This law also shifts the burden of proof regarding entrapment charges to the defendant. If the cops entrap you into doing something illegal (we all know the honourable po-pos would never do that, right?), this law says it is up to you the citizen to prove that they entrapped you. As a rule, the burden of proof has been on the prosecution because the Government has vast resources and power, compared to the average citizen. It is less costly for the Government to prove that it has clean hands than for you, joe citizen, to prove that it does not.
Nowhere in the Constitution or in Title 8 of the USC does it say that an American citizen must carry identification on their person at all times. But SB 1070, the Aryanzona law (as it's popularly known among the bright sparks of the InnerTubes) says that if the cops stop your ass for, I dunno, crossing against a light? Walking your dog off leash? Parking in the wrong zone? — they can ask you for ID, and if you don't have any, it's off to the hoosegow with you, buddy.
Don't take my word for it. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ, has done this several times. In his opinion, it's totally cool to throw all the brown people in jail and release the US citizens later. Does this sound like the Fourth Amendment is being respected and obeyed at all in Aryanzona?
And when did AZ flatfoots become experts in determining the ethnicity of a brown person, let alone their possible immigration status? Because, you know, stuff like this happens all the time.
By now you're probably sick of hearing about this. I'm certainly sick of writing about it. In honour of the humongous fucking headache this issue has given me, I'd like to leave you with this very enjoyable video clip.
And for the last word, we turn to the Native inhabitants of this land:
We'll be blogging on this issue regularly. Stay tuned. Stumble It!