The ink is barely dry on Arizona’s new immigration control law and President Obama has already threatened to take legal action against the measure even though it was adopted from the federal statute that’s rarely enforced.
Amid huge protests and cries of racism from the open-borders movement, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the law (SB1070) that bans “sanctuary city” policies and makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation. Some federal and state lawmakers claim the measure amounts to institutionalized discrimination and abuse that will lead to the arrest of seniors, kids and tourists.
Obama, who tried pressuring Brewer into vetoing the “misguided” law, assures that it threatens civil rights and undermines basic notions of fairness and trust between police and their communities. The commander-in-chief has ordered the Department of Justice to challenge its legality and vows to “closely monitor the situation” and examine the legislation’s civil rights implications.
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 hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are having on their state as the feds sit idly by and fail to secure the southern border.
When the measure goes into effect later this year 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 and all residents must provide evidence of their legal status in the U.S.
When Brewer signed the law last week she pointed out that the new state crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document was adopted verbatim from the federal statute. Furthermore, it will be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of the United States, the governor said.
“We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act,” Brewer said during a signing ceremony. “But decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation.” She added that the new law represents a much-needed tool to solve a crisis the state did not create and the federal government refuses to fix.