Blog Archive

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sweeping Immigration Bill Passes Senate; Bill Could Be Up For Debate In House In Weeks

By Elizabeth Erwin
February 17, 2010

PHOENIX -- A bill at the state Capitol is stirring up the immigration debate. It's a big one, and some are even calling it extreme. It's already passed the Senate and could be up for debate in the house in just a couple weeks.

The bill would allow police officers to ask about anyone's immigration status, even if they're not suspected of a crime. It would also make it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally, and make it a crime to transport or conceal an illegal immigrant. The bill would make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to solicit work in a public place, or for anyone to hire someone from a vehicle.

Those opposed said it's racial profiling, while those in favor said it protects police and citizens statewide.

Somos America president Lydia Guzman said, "According to some indicators from some law enforcement agencies, looking Hispanic, speaking Spanish, listening to Spanish music, those could be indicators that someone is here undocumented. Under that definition, I would be subject to that discrimination."

Phoenix Law Enforcement Association consultant Levi Bolton said, "To actually create a protected class of folks that are almost immune from enforcement action, that is problematic. When it translates at some future time to some tragic situation those things are highlighted."

CBS 5 News has spent the past few days trying to get a comment from the bill's sponsor, Russell Pearce, who has not returned phone calls.

Nevertheless, he has been mass e-mailing his supporters and constituents, asking them to bombard their representatives with calls in support of the bill.