APRIL 30, 2008
Arizona’s Democratic governor vetoed legislation this week that would have allowed all of the state’s local law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal immigration, even though the bill had strong bipartisan support.
The measure (HB 2807) would have required local police and governments to cooperate and assist federal authorities in enforcement of immigration laws by sharing, compiling and tracking information related to illegal immigration, including smuggling rings and crime syndicates. It also would have made it illegal for any city or county employee to be prohibited from exchanging information on an individual’s immigration status with federal authorities.
Numerous local police departments throughout the nation have official policies forbidding officers from inquiring about a suspect’s immigration status and several so-called sanctuary cities specifically prohibit public employees from cooperating with federal authorities in immigration cases. Among the police departments that have don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policies are Los Angeles, Chicago and the District of Columbia. San Francisco, New Haven and Minneapolis are among the municipalities with official sanctuary policies.
Had Arizona’s law passed, police departments throughout the state would have been required to implement a program to address violations of federal immigration laws by training officers, embedding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and establishing operational relationships with the federal agency. Gov. Napolitano said the legislation was unnecessary because state law doesn’t preclude local police from entering into such agreements with the federal government.
However, one news report points out that Napolitano simply caved in to pressure from the state’s powerful Hispanic advocates who have repeatedly denounced the sheriff in one Arizona county (Maricopa) for cracking down on illegal immigration. They told the governor that racial profiling based on race, color of skin and national origin will only multiply if a statewide measure like HB 2807 became law.
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