Judicial Watch • Arizona Makes Illegal Immigration State Offense

Arizona Makes Illegal Immigration State Offense

Arizona Makes Illegal Immigration State Offense

APRIL 14, 2010

 

In the absence of federal enforcement a Mexican border state blasted by an illegal immigration pandemic has passed legislation that bans “sanctuary city” policies and makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation.

The law marks an unprecedented effort by a state to take immigration matters into its own hands since immigration offenses are currently violations of federal law that cannot be enforced by local police. But lawmakers in Arizona are fed up with the enormous toll that illegal aliens are having on their state as the feds sit idly by and fail to secure the southern border.

In the past few years they’ve chipped away at the crisis with other measures, though this is by far the most hard-hitting and definitely among the country’s toughest immigration enforcement laws. The measure (SB1070), passed this week by the Arizona House and previously approved by the Senate, grants police the power to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone suspected of being illegal and requires foreign nationals to carry proof of legal residency.

Illegal aliens will be charged in state court with trespassing and anyone—documented or undocumented—seeking work from a road or sidewalk will also be criminally prosecuted. Drivers who pick up illegal alien day laborers will also be punished when the law kicks in.

Predictably, immigration advocates are incensed and have called on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto the measure which they assert is racist. The legal director of an influential national group that represents day laborers calls it an “unconstitutional, unwise and odious bill” created by “demagogue leaders” who have become folk heroes for “white supremacists” throughout the country.

Arizona lawmakers have long searched for ways to curb the colossal impact that illegal immigration has had on their state. A few years ago they enacted a law that punishes businesses that hire illegal immigrants, though the state has not penalized a single employer. Legislators allocated the sufficient funds (about $5 million) to enforce the law but a chunk of the money remains largely unspent by counties throughout the state.

 

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