LETTER: Grinfeld paints wrong picture of Arizona's new immigration law

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 1:05 p.m. CDT; updated 3:47 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After reading Mr. Grinfeld's commentary about the new Arizona immigration law, then seeing that he is a Missouri School of Journalism professor, the reason for the sad state of the newspaper industry became very clear.

Mr. Grinfeld paints a fearsome image of a very repressive country using the words Holocaust, Stalin, SS, KGB, and Gestapo. I suppose his flair for the dramatic inspires his students but it doesn't come remotely close to the truth.

Arizona's new law only authorizes police to check for legal status within the confines of existing police contact. Will there be a cop somewhere in Scottsdale who oversteps his authority? Sure, this is not a perfect world, but that will be a rare exception.

The real issue, that I'm pretty sure Mr. Grinfeld doesn't want to address, is how the U.S. can secure our borders and what to do with the millions of folks here illegally already. This isn't racism, it's keeping control of our borders.

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Ellis Smith April 28, 2010 | 1:39 p.m.

I can't resist: I feel compelled to say it again. The real issue here is not the Arizona law! The real issue is that the federal government has failed miserably to address immigration/border security.

If meaningful federal legislation were already in force on this issue, would Arizona bother passing ANY law on the subject?

I've worked in the Republic of Mexico and in other Latin American countries and I have no problem with Hispanics, but my contempt for our federal government grows daily.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 28, 2010 | 2:00 p.m.

Mr. Duff,
I think your reading of the law is exceedingly narrow so as to dismiss the concerns of the law's detractors.
Specifically you state that:
"Arizona's new law only authorizes police to check for legal status within the confines of existing police contact." This suggests that the police will not stop any individuals solely to ascertain their immigration status.

Here's the actual law as written:
"Sec. 3 Title 13 1509: Trespassing by illegal aliens...
A. In addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of trespassing if the person is both:
1. Present on any PUBLIC or private land in this state.
2. In violation of 8 United States code section 1304 (e) or 1306 (a)."

Therefore, if an officer believes a person is an illegal immigrant they are by definition breaking the law by being on public or private land, thus allowing for lawful contact, absent any other actions by the "offending" individual. The law allows police to search individuals for simply walking down the street, if the officer believes the individual is an illegal immigrant. I do not understand how conservatives who purportedly uphold the constitution can support this legislation as it certainly violates the spirit of the fourth amendment. I suppose we'll have to wait until the Supreme Court weighs in on whether it does in fact violate the 4th amendment. Unfortunately, the exceedingly partisan make-up of this activist Supreme Court does not bode well for liberty's defense.

(Report Comment)

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