by CARA on 4.6.2010

In Arizona, the legislature looks set to pass a truly terrifying anti-immigration bill that would, among other thing, allow police to arrest undocumented immigrants on the charge of trespassing simply for being in the state:

The Arizona Legislature gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposal that would allow the police to arrest illegal immigrants on trespassing charges simply for being in the state.

The provision, which opponents and proponents call a first in the nation, is part of a wide-ranging bill whose sponsors say they hope will make life tougher for illegal immigrants.

The House bill must be reconciled with a version passed by the Senate, something that may be done within the next week or two. Both include measures to outlaw the hiring of day laborers off the street; prohibit anyone from knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant, even a relative, anywhere in the state; and compel local police to check the status of people they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally.

Immigrant advocates call the bill some of the harshest legislation they have seen in a state where battles over immigration are particularly sharp edged.

Allow me to repeat that, because it’s important. The bill would, among other things, force police to check the status of people they “reasonably suspect” are undocumented.

Tell me, who exactly do you think the people police might “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented might be? Because as a white woman, I don’t think that in the event of this bill passing, I’d exactly have to fear being stopped. What this bill would essentially do is not only legalize but require racial profiling and harassment against Latin@s.

Truthdig has more on the bill. It originally passed the Senate back in February — Google searches indicate the issue was being discussed for a couple months prior to now, though it only recently hit my radar — and the most recent news seems to be that an amended version has passed committee in the House. Though the amended version changes the language about “trespassing,” some immigrants rights advocates worry that the new language is even worse. Not only does the rewording potentially criminalize legal residents who fail to carry their documentation, it also “eliminates the requirement that an individual must be in the midst of committing another crime in order to also be charged with transporting, concealing or harboring an illegal immigrant” and contains no exception for humanitarian efforts.

I’m unsure what kind of effect voter action may have at this stage in the game. The ACLU has called the bill unconstitutional, and the best bet may be a legal challenge. Nevertheless, if my searching has failed and you have action alerts or information about organizations that are combating the bill, please leave the information in the comments and I’ll update the post.

Source: Feministe

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