As some may already be aware, a new bill (or amendment?) was passed on Friday, April 30, that changes the recently-passed Arizona immigration law. According to the L.A. Times,
Lawmakers on Thursday night changed the language to require scrutiny only of people who police stop, detain or arrest [while enforcing another law. The wording previously referred to a more ambiguous “lawful contact”.] They also changed a section of the bill that barred officers from ‘solely’ using race as grounds for suspecting someone is in the country illegally; opponents had argued that that would allow race to be a factor. The legislators removed the word ‘solely’ to bar race from being used by officers enforcing the law….
[They] also added a provision extending immigration enforcement to local ordinances [i.e, reasonable suspicion in such cases can also trigger questioning], which critics warned could permit police to check the immigration status of people guilty of nothing more than a poorly tended lawn.”
These improvements address many of the concerns, but there are still “issues” and most opponents are still complaining that it is not enough and that racial profiling will still be a big problem. (Some lawyers are filing suits on the grounds of the law being unconstitutional, but that’s baloney.)
Personally, I’m not so sure I like the idea of removing the word “solely” from the wording. In fact, it seems a backwards move to me. Here is the line in question:
…may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution”
With the word “solely” in there, it made sure that law enforcement couldn’t pick on Hispanics, for example, simply by virtue of being Hispanic. With “solely” removed, the case could be made that “race, color or national origin” can never even be factors under consideration (but for clearly constitutional allowances). The phrase that comes to mind is “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”.
What do you all think?
* On a lighter note, does anyone else find it humorous that Gov. Brewer‘s maiden name is Drinkwine?