On Thursday, Republican Sen. Gary Nodler met with Missouri Southern students to talk politics. During the question and answer period, one woman asked Nodler his opinion on the Arizona immigration bill.
Twenty-three year old student Echo Essary brought up the issue of discrimination. However, Nodler dismissed the idea that the law advocates “racial profiling.”
But does Arizona HB 1070 indeed promote prejudice law enforcement?
Here are the more controversial exerts from the bill:
FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE 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.
A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.
It should be noted that HB 1070 was amended on Friday in an attempt to make the bill constitutionally correct. The amending legislation, HB 2162, changed the phrase “lawful contact” to “lawful stop, detention or arrest.”
However, HB 2162 only clarifies what constitutes legal contact. A “stop” can be legal — all that is needed is probable cause. As every person residing legally in the United States knows, probable cause can be anything from mud on your license plate to jaywalking.
So the problem has not been put to rest. The real controversy is that surrounding the phrase “REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN.” Arizona lawmakers have yet to clearly define what exactly would make a person suspect of being an “alien.”
So a person is lawfully stopped with probable cause present. What then suggests to the officer(s) the person is undocumented?
What Nodler and others refuse to recognize is that the Arizona law makes racial profiling nearly unavoidable. Both the plight and reaction of Arizonans is understandable. But let us be honest about the consequences their new legislation.