Friday, April 30, 2010

Your Papers, Please, Phoenix and Flagstaff, Part 8

Wonk Room's Andrea Nill drops something on a bombshell: an email from one the the legal eagles behind Arizona's immigration law that strongly suggests the entire point of the law is to build a legal framework that effectively allows racial profiling of Latinos.
Yesterday, Arizona lawmakers made a handful of changes to the immigration bill Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) recently signed into effect that appear to be in response to many of the criticisms aimed at the bill. One of those changes replaces the phrase “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest” to “apparently clarify that officers don’t need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.” However, the legislature also implemented a third change that some call “frightening.” As part of the amended bill, a police officer responding to city ordinance violations would also be required to determine the immigration status of an individual they have reasonable suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant. 
Now keep in mind, this law was considered "carefully crafted" and "legal from the get go".  The reality is that Arizona's legislature quietly amended the law because it was legally shaky the whole time.  It was a lie...otherwise, why the need to amend it just days after passing it?

So who's the genius behind this?  His name is Kris Kobach.  Remember the name.
(More after the jump...)

Wonk Room recently obtained an email written by Kris Kobach, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute — the group which credits itself with writing the bill — to Arizona state Sen. Russell Pierce (R), urging him to include language that will allow police to use city ordinance violations such as “cars on blocks in the yard” as an excuse to “initiate quieries” in light of the “lawful contact” deletion:

To begin with, Kobach’s correspondence affirms that though the bill was proposed and passed in Arizona, the shots are being called by a small group of lawyers whose office is based in Washington, DC. It also indicates that after vigorously defending his bill and its “lawful contact provision” in the New York Times, Kobach may have had second thoughts about the constitutionality of the bill he prides himself with writing.
Whoa whoa whoa.  Wait a minute here.  I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that this guy Kobach snaps his fingers and Arizona Republicans are now amending laws because he says so.  Second of all, changing the law to allow any county or municipal ordinance violation as a lawful reason to ask for citizenship identification?  Neighbors too loud?  They might be illegal immigrants!  Call the cops on them!  County or city noise laws?  Hey, papers please!

Man, you thought Joe Arpaio's sweeps through Maricopa County were bad enough before?  Under this law, if you're say, I dunno, littering?  Cops can ask for your papers.  Got cats out in the yard?  Cops can ask for your papers.  Jaywalking?  Loitering?  Posting handbills?  Bang, papers please!

Third issue:  Kobach clearly knew his law wasn't going to pass he has Arizona amend it so it actually becomes far worse effectively.  Man, I want this guy as my lawyer...if I'm on the other legal team.  He'll shoot himself in the foot.
More importantly, Kobach is basically admitting to Pearce that by allowing police to use the violation of “any county or municipal ordinance” as a basis for inquiring about a person’s immigration status, the bill will still cast a wide enough net to help offset the effect of omitting the “lawful contact” language which would’ve allowed police to ask just about anyone they encounter about their immigration status. The examples Kobach provides, “cars on blocks in the yard” or “too many occupants of a rental accommodation,” suggest that net will mostly end up being cast over the poor.
Ahh, but that's the point now, isn't it.  Kobach wants to get rid of those brown people, and under this law getting busted for city codes means you'd better have your papers in order, or it's off to jail you go...or worse.

There's no hiding what the law is supposed to do at this point:  serve as a legal cover for racial profiling and mass deportations of Latinos in Arizona.  And keep in mind, they eventually want to nationalize this law.  This is a coordinated effort to go after millions of people as "undesirables".

But that's how Republicans roll.  If there's any justice on Earth, Kobach's middle name is Kevin, and he has things monogrammed.

Your papers, please...

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