Arizona’s SB1070 has been rightfully dubbed the "show me your papers" immigration law. The law, which was signed Friday by Gov. Jan Brewer, requires law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion."
Which, of course, raises the question "what the hell is reasonable suspicion?" Besides seeing somebody sneaking over the border, there's not much you can observe that is illegal immigrant behavior... unless you think speaking Spanish is suspicious. Or being brown. Supporters of the law will say you have nothing to worry about, as long as you carry your birth certificate with you.
Are birth certificates some kind of wingnut fetish lately? I'm not sure I want to touch that issue right now.
But what we do know is that many Latino and black Americans see this as a civil rights issue and are mobilizing against this draconian law. That can't be good news for Republicans.
Also, you'd think the common "tough on crime" stance would win over law enforcement officials. Well, more bad news, not this time:
Mr. Ramakrishnan says police departments don’t like SB1070 for two reasons.And that two decade policing trend has brought a 19 percent drop in the violent crime rate in Arizona! See, the truth is that immigrants do not bring an epidemic of murder and mayhem with them. However, shifting the role of police officers may backfire and reverse this positive change.
One, it distracts police from their energies put into other crime and law and order. Two, immigrants are subsequently less likely to report crimes or serve as witnesses if their legal status is going to be questioned.
“The biggest trend in policing in the past two decades has been community policing in which cops walk the local beat and spend much time gaining the trust of the people,” says Ramakrishnan. “This puts that trend entirely in jeopardy – it is a very big deal for them, indeed.”
And since people seem to enjoy the chalkboard word games of Glenn Beck, let me close with one of my own: you can't spell "Arizona" without "Nazi."