Appraising Arizona
The experts examine the state's new immigration law.


I’m dreaming, I know, but it’d be nice if the national media stepped in and provided some context. We have a crisis in southern Arizona, especially along the Chiricahua corridor. American citizens are living under siege — burglaries, home invasions, intimidation, and recently a cold-blooded murder — from illegal aliens and drug smugglers.

Seventeen percent of the crossers arrested in the area have criminal records in the U.S. Most of the groups entering Arizona now have a gun behind them, because the drug cartels have taken over the people-smuggling operations.

Residents have been screaming for years. The feds’ response? Amnesty.

Criminals regularly go back and forth across our border, and Arizona’s new law might help police get some of them off the streets. Hispanic neighborhoods here are especially hard hit by crime. Republicans should talk about the right of these folks, and all Americans, to live in peace and safety.

Leo W. Banks writes from Tuscon.

No self-respecting conservative should support a law that allows the government to harass its own citizens, and that is exactly what the Arizona law does. Contrary to the claims by my friends at Fox News and some conservative commentators, the law does not merel
y allow individuals who have been stopped for suspicion of committing other crimes to be asked to prove their legal status; the law plainly says that government officials may in the course of “any lawful contact” require anyone to produce papers “where a reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present.”

If a group of Mexican-American men who happen to be speaking Spanish are looking at drywall at the local Home Depot and a cop walks down the aisle, this law entitles him to approach the men and ask for their legal documents. How many of you normally carry your birth certificate or passport with you when you go shopping? If you look Mexican and are in Arizona, you should be prepared to do so from now on.

Finally, the law makes it legal for the police to pull over “any person who is operating a motor vehicle if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is in violation of any civil traffic law and this section.” Notice, the law doesn’t require the person to have violated a traffic law, it merely requires the police to have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in violation of any civil traffic law or is illegally present in the U.S. So if you look like you might not have an Arizona driver’s license, or even if you simply look to this particular police officer like you might be in the country illegally, you can be pulled over and required to produce proof of citizenship or legal resident status.


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