Senate Bill 1070 basically gives local law enforcement throughout the state the job of enforcing federal immigration law inside Arizona. The law's text begins in pretty straightforward language, "No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may adopt a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law."
In other words, Arizona says, federal law regarding lawful presence in the United States cannot be treated as if it's something else by agencies of the government of this state. Our law is federal law, and we're going to enforce it. Members of the state legislature who gave the bill heavy majorities in the house and senate have said since the law's passage in the spring that it's really not a big deal: Arizona has been working alongside federal agencies to enforce immigration law for years... all the new law does is clear up some of the ambiguity by making illegal residence in Arizona trespassing.
The state's sizable Latino population, about 30 percent of the total, legally and illegally here in the United States, has said all along it's not so simple. Far from it. Leaders of civil rights organizations, many churches, immigration activists, and even some police officers have been saying for months that the law taking effect this week means nothing less than open season on Latinos in a state that's been becoming less and less hospitable over the years.
Without the law in effect, it's hard to know whose version of the truth is closer to the truth. Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu straddles Indian reservations and active corridors for smuggling people and drugs from Mexico, passionately insists the law can be enforced without racial profiling. All it will take is good training and police behavior that follows the guidelines set out in the law. Day laborer advocate Salvador Reza just as passionately... [continues]
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