It Could Soon Be Illegal To Be In Arizona Without The Proper Paperwork

April 20, 2010 9:57 am ET

If Arizona Governor Brewer signs the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act, police will be authorized to demand residency paperwork from anyone they suspect to be in the state illegally, even if that suspicion is based on the color of their skin and nothing else.

The Bill Makes It A Crime To Be In Arizona Without Proper Paperwork

AZ Bill "Requires Police" To Determine A "Person's Immigration Status."  The Los Angeles Times reported that the newly passed Arizona immigration "bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a 'reasonable suspicion' that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person's immigration status." The legislation passed 35 to 21. [Los Angeles Times, 4/14/10, emphasis added]

Those "Unable To Produce Documents Showing They Are Allowed To Be In The United States Could Be Arrested, Jailed For Up To Six Months And Fined $2,500."  According to the Seattle Times, under the Arizona immigration bill "the police would be authorized to arrest immigrants unable to show documents allowing them to be in the country and the legislation would leave drivers open to sanctions, in some cases for knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant, even a relative. Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the United States could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. Currently, officers can inquire about someone's immigration status only if the person is a suspect in another crime. The bill would allow officers to avoid the immigration issue if it would be impractical or hinder another investigation." [Seattle Times, 4/14/10, emphasis added]

AZ Bill "Makes It Illegal For Anyone To Transport An Illegal Immigrant, Even A Family Member." ABC News reported that the Arizona immigration "measure allows police to detain people on the suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, outlaws citizens from employing day laborers, and makes it illegal for anyone to transport an illegal immigrant, even a family member, anywhere in the state." [ABC News, 3/26/10, emphasis added]

The bill passed along party lines.

SB 1070 Passed AZ Senate With A Party Line Vote.  According to the Washington Independent: "The Arizona Senate just passed the controversial Senate bill 1070 ('Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act'), one of the toughest immigration bills in the country, by a vote of 17-11. All Republicans voted for passage, while all Democrats present were opposed." [Washington Independent, 4/19/10]

All 35 Republicans Voted For SB 1070; 21 Democrats Voted Against.  According to Time Magazine: "All 35 Republicans in the lower Arizona house voted for [SB 1070], while 21 Democrats voted against it. The bill passed the state senate earlier." [Time, 4/16/10]

Some Republicans Complained About SB 1070, But Voted For It Because It's An Election Year.  According to the Los Angeles Times: "Some Republicans have privately complained about the bill [SB 1070], which [State Sen. Russell] Pearce has been pushing for several years, but were loath to vote against it in an election year." [Los Angeles Times, 4/13/10]

Drafting Of SB 1070 Accomplished With Help From FAIR Legal Team And Former Ashcroft Counsel

FAIR Legal Affiliate "Assisted Senator Pearce In Drafting The Language Of SB 1070." According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), "FAIR's legal affiliate, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) assisted Senator Pearce in drafting the language of SB1070.  IRLI, the nation's leader in developing immigration enforcement legislation at the state level, has counseled lawmakers across the country on every innovative approach in the field of cooperative state immigration enforcement law since 2001." [FAIR, 4/14/10]

Former Counsel To John Ashcroft Helped Write SB 1070.  According to Time Magazine: "Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law professor...helped write the legislation [SB 1070]. He believes it will withstand constitutional challenge...'There are some things that states can do and some that states can't do, but this law threads the needle perfectly...In the bill, Arizona only penalizes what is already a crime under federal law,' says Kobach, a Yale Law School graduate and onetime counsel to former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. 'That constitutes concurrent enforcement in legal terms, which the courts have said is permissible.'" [Time, 4/16/10]

Supporters Of The Bill Have Spewed Hateful Rhetoric To Encourage Its Passage

AZ Rep. Kavanagh: "Illegal Immigration Brings Crime, Kidnapping, Drugs."  The Los Angeles Times reported that Arizona Republican Rep. John Kavanagh said of the immigration bill: "Illegal immigration brings crime, kidnapping, drugs -- drains our government services...Nobody can stand on the sidelines and not take part in this battle." [Los Angeles Times, 4/14/10]

AZ Rep. Kavanagh: "Illegal Immigrants" Will Become "Larger, Stronger, And More Destructive" As The Economy Rebounds.  From Phoenix KPHO: "'We've moved forward with a comprehensive immigration enforcement bill that addresses the concerns of our communities, constituents and colleagues,' said Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills. Arizona's struggling economy has driven many illegal immigrants from the state. But as the economy rebounds, 'so too will the illegal immigrants -- larger, stronger and more destructive than they were several years ago,' Kavanagh said." [, 4/13/10]

Krikorian: AZ Bill "Gives Police And Prosecutors Another Tool" To Fight "Illegal Immigration." According to the Los Angeles Times, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies said of the Arizona law: "'It makes sense that they would be the first to do it since they're ground zero for illegal immigration,' ...Krikorian added that he doubted the law would be used much. 'Obviously, their prosecutors aren't going to go out and prosecute every illegal alien,' he said. 'It gives police and prosecutors another tool should they need it.'" [Los Angeles Times, 4/14/10]

FAIR President: AZ Bill Will Encourage Self-Deportation.  According to FAIR:

"It's no surprise that the State of Arizona, one of the hardest hit by illegal immigration, now has one of the toughest laws," said Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  "SB 1070 is a no-nonsense, common-sense example of a state acting where the federal government is failing, a reaction to the inaction in Washington.  There is a leadership vacuum on this issue. Arizonans and their lawmakers like Senator Russell Pearce are filling it." [...]

"SB1070 embodies the concept of 'attrition through enforcement," continued Stein, "Making it tough for illegal aliens to live and work in Arizona means that those illegal aliens already living in the state are more likely to self-deport, and it certainly reduces the incentive to come.  Arizona will soon have a law that both represents the interests of legal Arizonians and serves as model legislation for other states." [FAIR, 4/14/10, italics original]

Many Arizonans Are Opposed To This Restrictive Legislation

Arizona Law Enforcement Is "Split" Over SB 1070. According to Time Magazine: "Law enforcement in the state is split over the legislation [SB 1070], with rank and file supporting the measure and the Association of Chiefs of Police in opposition, saying it could hinder investigations by making the immigrant community hesitant to speak with police." [Time, 4/16/10, emphasis added]

Phoenix Attorney: "The Bill Will Result In Racial Profiling."  According to "The attorney for a day-laborer group in Phoenix says he is outraged. Chris Newman, with the Day Laborer Organizing Network, says, 'It takes anti-immigrant hysteria to a level the country has not yet seen. It's designed to make life miserable for immigrants and families so they self-deport.'...Critics say all immigrants will feel the effects since police forces statewide will now be on the look-out for illegal immigrants. Newman says, 'The bill will result in racial profiling of particularly Latinos in the state.'" [, 4/13/10]

AZ Democrat Rep. Tom Chabin: SB 1070 "Terrorizes The People We Profit From." According to the Los Angeles Times, Arizona State Rep. Tom Chabin, a Democrat, said: "This bill, whether we intend it or not, terrorizes the people we profit from." [Los Angeles Times, 4/13/10, emphasis added]

Former AZ Senator Called SB 1070 Unconstitutional. According to the Arizona Republic: "Alfredo Gutierrez, a former [Arizona] state senator, said it would be unconstitutional to charge people in the country illegally with trespassing. 'These are people who aren't even jaywalking,' he said. 'It is merely their presence and their status of being undocumented that will make them criminals.'" [Arizona Republic, 3/11/10, emphasis added]

State Rep. Sinema: Bill Could Allow Abusers To Sue Police For Failing To Check Status Of Their Victim.  The Washington Independent reported: "State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who voted against the bill, said it does nothing to target criminal and violent immigrants, instead jeopardizing the safety of Arizona communities. She brought up an interesting point: If an undocumented immigrant who is being assaulted or mistreated (think domestic violence, mistreatment of working immigrants) were to call the police to report an incident, that immigrant would be forced into custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would be deported for merely reporting abuse. In fact, the abuser could sue a law enforcement office for failing to check the legal status of the victim. Sinema said this creates fear among immigrant communities and limits the ability of officers to catch real criminals." [Washington Independent, 4/15/10; italics and parentheses original]

The Bill's Author Has A Long History With The Anti-Immigrant Movement

Pearce on the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act"

Sen. Pearce: We Are "Absolutely" Sending The Message That "Illegal Immigrants" Are "Not Welcome In Arizona."  According to the Seattle Times, "The chief sponsor of the legislation, state Sen. Russell Pearce, said he hoped the legislation, and other measures, would send the message to illegal immigrants that they were not welcome in Arizona. 'That absolutely is what we are doing here,' he said." [Seattle Times, 4/14/10]

Pearce: SB 1070 "Takes The Handcuffs Off Of Law Enforcement And Lets Them Do Their Job." According to the Los Angeles Times, "[SB 1070's] author, State Sen. Russell Pearce, said it simply 'takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement and lets them do their job.'" [Los Angeles Times, 4/13/10]

Pearce: Without "Federal Law Against Noncitizens...Citizens Are Denied Equal Protection." According to Time Magazine, "state senator Russell Pearce, a Republican, says his bill 'will not change a thing for lawful citizens...Our legal citizens have a constitutional right to expect protection of federal law against noncitizens. When those laws are not enforced, our citizens are denied equal protection." [Time, 4/16/10]

Pearce Cited Violence Along Arizona-Mexico Border As A Reason For SB 1070. According to a Time Magazine article about SB 1070, Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce said: "'Enough is enough,'...speaking about the increased violence along the Arizona border with Mexico. 'One family has been burglarized 18 times and a number of officers have been killed and maimed in the line of duty dealing with illegal immigrants who are criminals.'" [Time, 4/16/10]

Pearce: "Illegal Aliens Should Find Another State Besides Arizona To Visit." According to Time Magazine, State Sen. Russell Pearce said, "Our message is very clear...Illegal aliens should find another state besides Arizona to visit." [Time, 4/16/10]

Pearce's past with immigration

AZ Sen. Pearce: "I Will Not Back Off Until We Solve The Problem Of This Illegal Invasion... Invaders, That's What They Are."  According to NPR, Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce said: "I will not back off until we solve the problem of this illegal invasion...Invaders, that's what they are. Invaders on the American sovereignty and it can't be tolerated." [NPR, 3/12/08]

Pearce Supported Legislation That "Restricted Illegal Immigrants' Access To State Services" And "MayIntroduceLegislation To Challenge The 14th Amendment To The Constitution."  NPR reported: "As the chairman of the Arizona House Appropriations Committee, [Sen. Russell Pearce] is in a choice position to try to push through the laws that he sees fit. He co-wrote Prop 200, which restricted illegal immigrants' access to state services and sponsored Arizona's employer sanction law, which suspends or revokes business licenses if employers knowingly hire illegal immigrants. He also says he may introduce legislation to challenge the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, meaning a child born in the U.S. would no longer automatically become a citizen." [NPR, 3/12/08]

Pearce: Arizonans' Problems With Immigrants Is "Because The Culture Is Different."  NPR reported: "Pearce claims illegal immigrants are responsible for much of Arizona's crime and he admits to feeling uncomfortable with the way society is changing in Arizona. He attributes it partly to Mexicans' and Central Americans' 'way of doing business.' 'Drive around parts of Phoenix. I get calls all the time and it's not that they're Hispanic, it's because the culture is different. The gangs are bigger. There's more violence, kidnappings are way up,' he says." [NPR, 3/12/08]

Pearce Forwarded Article Proclaiming White Supremacy And Holocaust Denial. reported that Rep. Russell Pearce forwarded an article "titled 'Who Rules America? The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken,' the article criticized the media for promoting multiculturalism and racial equality, for portraying 'any racially conscious White Person' as a bigot and for presenting the Jewish Holocaust as fact. The media presents a 'single view of the world - a world in which every voice proclaims the equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish 'Holocaust' tale, the wickedness of attempting to halt the flood of non-White aliens pouring across our borders, the danger of permitting citizens to keep and bear arms, the moral equivalence of all sexual orientations, and the desirability of a 'pluralistic,' cosmopolitan society rather than a homogeneous, White one,' the article says." [, 10/10/06]

  • Pearce Denied Having Read The Article Before Sending It To Supporters. According to "Pearce said he sent the e-mail and the article to a few dozen supporters in his Mesa legislative district. The subject line of the e-mail implored supporters to put out yard signs and get people they know out to vote. He insists that he does not agree with the sentiments in the article, but that the title and the first paragraphs about media bias appealed to him. He said the article had been forwarded to him by someone else and he would not have sent it if he had read it in its entirety." [, 10/10/06]