Arizona law doesn't change much

-A A +A
By The Staff

"Our view," (The News' editorial) May 10 is a good example of why with this upcoming election in November people need to read and listen to several sources to get a complete story.   The editorial repeats several distortions that have come out of the opposition to Arizona's new law on illegal immigration. Even President Obama falls into this trap as he ignores the fact that the law mirrors federal law so his criticism of Arizona is really a criticism of our national law. The editorial states "the law will require police to detain people they 'reasonably' suspect are in the country, without authorization." The paper leaves out that the police can only stop someone if they are breaking a current law.   In other words, people will only be asked about immigration status if when stopped for speeding they don't show a valid driver's license. Then and only then can they and their passengers be asked about immigration status. Every one of us stopped by the police for some infraction of the law are asked for our ID.  Are we required to carry our papers or is this just a reasonable request for ID? I would say it is reasonable for the police to ask for ID and asking a person without official ID if they have papers for legal residence is the job of the police.  We can go to jail for giving false ID so how is it any different if someone is an illegal alien? The editorial states "There is also a little clause that makes it a state crime not to carry immigration papers." Remember that you will only be asked if you are breaking a law and even legal citizens have to show ID in that case. It is not what the paper is implying, they are implying people will be stopped on the streets and asked for their papers; but just as we aren't stopped and asked for our ID unless a law is broken, illegals won't be asked either unless they are breaking a law. The editorial also states "this allows people to sue the government if they believe the law isn't being enforced." For example, if a clerk helping people file for food stamps determines a person is an illegal alien but doesn't act on that information then they can be sued for not doing their job of reporting on the illegal status of the person. The other major issue the editorial brought up was "what does a suspicious illegal immigrant look like" is misleading at best.  No one will be stopped for being a "suspicious illegal immigrant" and in fact the law requires police to not stop people for illegal immigrant status. Illegal immigrants will only be determined if they are stopped in the act of breaking a law. They will not be determined to be illegals unless they don't have an official ID such as a driver's licenses. The truth of the matter is that no one in Arizona will be stopped today for anything that they wouldn't have been stopped for last month. The difference is that employers and government officials will now be required to report illegal aliens when in the course of processing their applications they determine they are illegal.  Then and only then will illegal aliens be asked for their papers by the police, social services or employers. What the paper doesn't say is it also sets up procedures to prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. As Shakespeare might say - this uproar is much ado about nothing.  The Arizona law follows the federal law, it does not let police stop anyone on the street, and puts the burden on government employees and employers, not on the illegal immigrants.  You can read this law for yourself, as I have, because it is an easy-to-read 16-page document. Don't let others tell you what it does but read for yourself.  Google Arizona illegal-alien law and decide for yourself just as you need to do with all issues in this upcoming election in November.   

Newlin lives in Tell City.