Repeat after me the liberal mantra: Never let the truth get in the way of a good victimization narrative. If you listen to liberals, the new immigration law has turned Arizona into a sun tanned version of Nazi Germany. "The police will be able to stop every Latino just for being Latino!" they wail.
What nonsense. The Arizona immigration law DOES NO SUCH THING.
What it does allow is if the police detain someone because they have violated some other law, they could then inquire as to the person's legal status.
Walking down the street and not committing a crime? Then the police cannot stop you under the Arizona law. But if you walk down the street and mug someone? If the police detain you for the mugging, than they have the right to ask about your legal status.
When you see they way they react, doesn't it seem like liberals are incapable of telling the truth?
But you don't have to believe me on this. Check out Byron York who talked to Professor Kris Kobach. And Kobach knows what the law permits. Why? Because he helped draft it:
The law requires police to check with federal authorities on a person's immigration status, if officers have stopped that person for some legitimate reason and come to suspect that he or she might be in the U.S. illegally. The heart of the law is this provision: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…"
Critics have focused on the term "reasonable suspicion" to suggest that the law would give police the power to pick anyone out of a crowd for any reason and force them to prove they are in the U.S. legally. Some foresee mass civil rights violations targeting Hispanics.
What fewer people have noticed is the phrase "lawful contact," which defines what must be going on before police even think about checking immigration status. "That means the officer is already engaged in some detention of an individual because he's violated some other law," says Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri Kansas City Law School professor who helped draft the measure. "The most likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop."
As far as "reasonable suspicion" is concerned, there is a great deal of case law dealing with the idea, but in immigration matters, it means a combination of circumstances that, taken together, cause the officer to suspect lawbreaking. It's not race -- Arizona's new law specifically says race and ethnicity cannot be the sole factors in determining a reasonable suspicion.
For example: "Arizona already has a state law on human smuggling," says Kobach. "An officer stops a group of people in a car that is speeding. The car is overloaded. Nobody had identification. The driver acts evasively. They are on a known smuggling corridor." That is a not uncommon occurrence in Arizona, and any officer would reasonably suspect that the people in the car were illegal. Under the new law, the officer would get in touch with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to check on their status.
But what if the driver of the car had shown the officer his driver's license? The law clearly says that if someone produces a valid Arizona driver's license, or other state-issued identification, they are presumed to be here legally. There's no reasonable suspicion.