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Criminal Law on Illegal Immigration

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Criminal Law & Immigration

SB1070 is a law that is enforced in Arizona. This law gives the right and the power to officers to stop any person suspicious of being an illegal alien. It also punishes those that provide shelter, jobs, or any form of assistance to illegal persons. After the law SB 1070 was passed and signed by Governor Jan Brewer on April 29 2010 in Arizona, minorities and especially Hispanics were stopped by law enforcement officers with the pretext of believing that the person was suspicious of being an undocumented person. The discriminatory impact that this law had on minorities was devastating. After the law was in function the migrants’ community got together and began protesting against this law, claiming that it was a discriminatory and racial policy.

The discriminatory impact that SB1070 had is that people that didn’t have legal documentation were not cooperating with law enforcement to report crimes. The reason that crimes were not reported was because these people were afraid that the police would ask them for their legal status. Another negative impact is that law enforcement was using SB1070 as a pretext of having reasonable suspicion to search the person. An organization named Friendly House and a national council of La Raza, whose purpose is to assist immigrants by offering services like, immigration lawyers, citizenship, patriotism and English language skills, submitted a case law. In the Friendly House Vs. Whiting Supreme court case (Arizona SB1070 Case), argument was made that in effect, SB1070 makes unlawful presence in the United States a state crime, something not under federal law, and that SB 1070 targets the Arizona Latino-immigrant community. It also argues that many Latinos feel their presence in the state is criminalized by SB 1070. Friendly House also complains that SB 1070 is unconstitutional because it violates the supremacy clause, the first amendment, the fourth amendment, the Due process clause and the equal protection clause.

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After the Friendly House Vs. Whiting case, Arizona, in December 2011, approves the law HB 2162. This law prohibits law enforcement officers from using race, color or national origins as reasonable suspicion to stop a person and ask for legal documentation. With this new policy law enforcement officers are not allowed to stop a person suspicious of being illegal. The only time that police officers can ask for legal status documentation is during a lawful stop, detention or arrest. The impact that HB 2162 on border searches is that officers can be lead to arrest more Latinos than other ethnic groups. Officers can stop any person for a traffic violation or any other type of minor offense and then ask for legal documentation. Even with this change SB1070 still promotes racial discrimination against minorities. Law enforcement racism is not only taking place in Arizona but in other cities and states in The United States. According to the Bureau of justice black and Latino people are being stopped more than white people. Arizona is one of the places with a high number of Hispanic communities, therefore Police officers in Arizona are still going to be stopping people according to their race or ethnicity as a result of SB1070.

The purpose of this law is to reduce illegal immigration and to make communities safer for U.S. citizens, but it’s also increasing racism against legal U.S. citizens. SB1070 is not providing equal protection to Arizona residents, instead this law encourages law enforcement officials to suspect Hispanics of being undocumented. The impact that this law has on law enforcement officials is that they will focus more of their attention towards Latinos and that they will abuse their power against minorities (Nadra Kareem Nittle 2012). Racial profiling, unlawful detainment, and Stalking, are some of the inappropriate and illegal behaviors that officers in Arizona have allegedly engaged in, according to a 2012 complaint filed through the U.S. Justice department against the Maricopa County sheriff’s Office. Since Arizona enacted the HB 2162, border officials had started looking for new ways to detain suspicious illegal persons and then report them back to their home country. Border officials are not following the due process clause and are violating the first and fourth amendment of the people. People that are not in favor of this law argue that this will lead police officers to abuse their power and because of that crime will increase in Arizona Communities. Not only will reported crime increase, but also unreported crimes. Lawmakers said that this policy will help reduce human trafficking and will make their neighborhoods much safer. According to the CNS news the SB1070 has already lead to thousands of self-deportation, lowered crime rates and 13 schools closed. Pearce Said, “We have a violent crime rate drop by three times that of the national average,” (2012). According to the people in support of this law, the prison population declines making the community of Arizona to pay less money in taxes.

SB1070 is built to target any person that has characteristics of being an illegal alien in the U.S. It would seem that the majority of the criminals in Arizona were Latinos. Some of the procedures followed by law enforcement under this law violated the due process clause of people residing in Arizona. Many people that are Hispanic and were legally living in the U.S. had been stopped by police officers many times with no reasonable cause and asked for legal documentation. I believe that the laws are meant to protect us and respect our rights and not to disturb our citizens. I’m Hispanic and I feel discriminated because of this law, I feel that if I were to visit Arizona I will be harassed by its police officers. I thought, Julio Cesar Chaves, Martin Luther king, Dolores Werta had already fought for our rights as minorities.


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