When the Police Stop Absolutely Everybody

With the U.S. Justice Department filing suit against Arizona's immigration law last week, the debate over its legality and impact is just beginning. Supporters say the law is necessary to keep Arizona safe, while detractors worry that police will be empowered to harass anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Those who are skeptical that the law would actually inconvenience innocent Americans should study the stark example of Brownsville, Brookyln. Since 2006, the residents of this neighborhood of just eight blocks have endured 52,000 police stops, according to The New York Times. Statistically speaking, that's nearly one stop per resident per year:

In some instances, people were stopped because the police said they fit the description of a suspect. But the data show that fewer than 9 percent of stops were made based on “fit description.” Far more — nearly 26,000 times — the police listed either “furtive movement,” a catch-all category that critics say can mean anything, or “other” as the only reason for the stop. Many of the stops, the data show, were driven by the police’s ability to enforce seemingly minor violations of rules governing who can come and go in the city’s public housing.

What's this, now? Contrary to what the apologists for Arizona's law are claiming, police already stop people without good reasons for doing so. But at least all these stops must result in some weighty crime-busting, right? Not so, says the Times:

The encounters — most urgently meant to get guns off the streets — yield few arrests. Across the city, 6 percent of stops result in arrests. In these roughly eight square blocks of Brownsville, the arrest rate is less than 1 percent. The 13,200 stops the police made in this neighborhood last year resulted in arrests of 109 people. In the more than 50,000 stops since 2006, the police recovered 25 guns.

Far from making the community safer, these authoritarian tactics may actually undermine their own goal. Brownsville residents cited feeling "violated, degraded and resentful" toward the police because of the over-the-top frequency of the stops. Residents are irritated that the police department often tasks rookie officers with patrolling the area. These cops aren't as skilled as veteran officers at distinguishing between law-abiding citizens and potential threats. The result is a community where law enforcement has made a mockery of itself. As the Times reports:

There is Jonathan Guity, a 26-year-old legal assistant with no criminal record, who, when asked how many times he had been stopped in the neighborhood where he grew up, said, “Honestly, I’d say 30 to 40 times. I’m serious.”

Young black men get stopped so often that a few years ago, Gus Cyrus, coach of the football team at nearby Thomas Jefferson High School, started letting his players leave practice with their bright orange helmets so the police would not confuse them with gang members.

New York City isn't the American southwest, but Brownsville provides an important lesson for supporters of the Arizona law: Increased policing will harm the innocent, whether or not it deters any criminals. But more importantly, when interactions with the police become increasingly random, fruitless, and prone to racial bias, the real loser is respect for the rule of law in society.

Read Senior Editor Radley Balko on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies here.

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  • ||

    those are interesting and unsurprising statistics. Of course this kind of horseshit goes on in every jurisdiction in the country. There is nothing unique about Arizona sadly.

    I understand the objection to these widespread stops by police. I share the objection. But, I fail to see how they have anything to do with the Arizona immigration law. The stops are no more or less objectionable regardless of whether they are done to check immigration status or to "get guns off the streets".

  • Abdul||

    Young black men get stopped so often that a few years ago, Gus Cyrus, coach of the football team at nearby Thomas Jefferson High School, started letting his players leave practice with their bright orange helmets so the police would not confuse them with gang members.

    Problem solved! Everyone carries a helmet.

  • ||

    Increased policing will harm the innocent, whether or not it deters any criminals.

    Perhaps. But since they won't be stopping those who immigrated to Arizona from the north and east, the "innocents" who actually vote for these sorts of policies get off scot-free!

  • Awww...!||

    Illegal immigrants might actually get treated like CRIMINALS!!! How horrible!

    Meanwhile, innocents who actually voted for these reasonable enforcements of the federal law that this lawless leftard regime is refusing to enforce might get off scot-free! Horrible, horrible! Law might actually rule instead of anarchy! We can't have that!

    Radical Butthole, you and all the other bashers of Arizona's law can go fuck yourselves. Your bullshit gave this lawless administration its powers, and I bet you're just another member of JournoList like that treasonous Weigel bastard.

    You and all your kind should be made a prison bitches for these violent and rapacious illegal invaders who are such wonderful "citizens" that Mexico didn't want them either.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Two words:
    Comedy.
    Gold.

  • ||

    You dumbass. Radical Butthole didn't write this post, Rico Suave did.

  • ||

    Uh, its not that Mexico didn't want them, they didn't want Mexico.

    And I live in southern AZ, just a few miles from the border. I'm the only white guy in my whole town (probably) and funnily enough there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of crime. Nor are these people known for preying on the citizens of the nearby city.

  • Gummy Bears||

    i fail to see how this is connected to the Arizona law.

    The police are stopping people too often and for frivolous reasons so we shouldnt allow them to enforce immigration law?

  • ||

    Exactly. So true it is worth saying twice.

  • ||

    i fail to see how this is connected to the Arizona law.

    The police are stopping people too often and for frivolous reasons so we shouldnt allow them to enforce immigration law?

    i fail to see how this is connected to the Arizona law.

    The police are stopping people too often and for frivolous reasons so we shouldnt allow them to enforce immigration law?

  • Sidd Finch||

    More rookies will be assigned to Arizona.

  • Gummy Bears||

    i fail to see how this is connected to the Arizona law.

    The police are stopping people too often and for frivolous reasons so we shouldnt allow them to enforce immigration law?

  • ||

    1. The more reasons there are to stop people, the more such abuse we can expect.

    2. The Arizona law invites anyone who wishes to sue law enforcement officials for not stopping people. Is that not a formula for abuse?

  • ||

    "2. The Arizona law invites anyone who wishes to sue law enforcement officials for not stopping people. Is that not a formula for abuse?"

    What section of the law does that? What is the exact language you are referring to?

  • ||

    Arizona Revised Statute 11-1051

    H. A person who is a legal resident of this state may bring an action in superior court to challenge any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state that adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws, INCLUDING 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTIONS 1373 AND 1644, to less than the full extent permitted by federal law. If there is a judicial finding that an entity has violated this section, the court shall order that the entity pay a civil penalty of not less than FIVE HUNDRED dollars and not more than five thousand dollars for each day that the policy has remained in effect after the filing of an action pursuant to this subsection.

    ...

    K. Except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith, a law enforcement officer is indemnified by the law enforcement officer's agency against reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred by the officer in connection with any action, suit or proceeding brought pursuant to this section in which the officer may be a defendant by reason of the officer being or having been a member of the law enforcement agency.

  • Sidd Finch||

    So it encourages people to sue cities, but not officers. Just to be clear, this is supposed to evidence for 2?

    "2. The Arizona law invites anyone who wishes to sue law enforcement officials for not stopping people. Is that not a formula for abuse?"

  • ||

    A person who is a legal resident of this state may bring an action in superior court to challenge any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state that adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws, INCLUDING 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTIONS 1373 AND 1644, to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.

    Except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith, a law enforcement officer is indemnified by the law enforcement officer's agency...

  • Sidd Finch||

    adopts or implements a policy

  • ||

    Exactly. It is written to prevent cities from ignoring the law. It does not allow you to sue any cop you think didn't stop the proper number of Mexicans.

  • ||

    ...unless he is acting in bad faith with respect to the policy of his agency.

  • Sidd Finch||

    This is a different standard?

  • ||

    A different standard from what? In this case the reasoning "He was harmless and the reason I stopped him had nothing to do with crime or immigration" is prima facie "acting in bad faith".

    Can officials be sued by the public for not enforcing other laws? What happens when a speeder isn't pulled over?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Qualified immunity. I guess your "this case" is the NYC story, but I don't see how that would be a lawful stop, detention, or arrest in Arizona.

    I don't know, but there's surely consequences for cops who refuse to enforce some laws for political reasons.

  • ||

    No, my "this case" is the Arizona law.

    If an officer who makes a truly lawful stop doesn't question the stopped person's immigration status when he should have had reasonable suspicion to, then he brings himself and his agency under threat of suit.

    Is there any other law, anywhere -- a misdemeanor, at that! -- whose lack of vigorous enforcement faces such a threat?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Only if he's acting in bad faith. Even then the money goes to a state fund, so there really isn't much incentive for a private citizen to do all the investigative and legal work.

  • ||

    No incentive but spite.

  • Sidd Finch||

    But that investment would be more efficient at the city level.

  • ||

    You're worrying about a problem that doesn't exist, and if it does manifest itself, will be minor and easily dealt with.

  • idle bags||

    1. the law isnt another reason to stop people. The law only affects people who have already been stopped.

    2. See # 1. Now i keep hearing this argument and its about it being illegal for law enforcement to not enforce the law. So i guess in theory this means people could sue the state if they new of an example of an illegal who was stopped and was known to be illegal(or should have known? reaonable suspicion?) and didnt pursue immigration status. How this ever would play out in practice is beyond me.(I saw the police pull someone over who was obviously an illegal and they didnt deport him!?)

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    #1. Sure it is, for folks like Joe Arpaio. Read the entry about how phony most of the reasons for stops are. If you make it more likely that the LEO can send some Mexicans away, the more likely it is that that goal, in and of itself, will be the reason to make the stop, whatever figleaf it may be covered in. How many stops will we start seeing of hispanics for having their pants too low, listening to music too loud, or “furtive movements” that wouldn’t have happened? Hard to say, but I really doubt the number will be zero. If the number is greater than zero then the law itself is the real reason (not the justification) for the stop.

  • idle bags||

    fair enough, but you could make that same claim about any and every law.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    I don't think so. Murder laws, for instance, are primary cause to arrest. In general you don’t need to make up phony things when your real reason is to try to enforce laws against murder. Similarly, if you’re trying to capture a rapist, you don’t make up a phony excuse about “furtive movements” or something like that.

  • ||

    See "furtive movement” or “other.”

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    Exactly. The Arizona law provides a figleaf for those who want to make enforcement of the immigration law a primary goal of police work (see the dictionary, s.v. Arpaio, Joseph) for whatever reason. You can bet that some of them are going to start looking a lot harder for excuses to stop brown folks so they can check their status. If “Gummy Bears” and “John” really believe that this law won’t have an impact on police priorities that results in more Hispanics getting stopped on a regular basis, I have a bridge to sell them.

    I think that the most telling thing about this is that Arizona LEO groups by and large don’t want this law because of points like #2 and because it gets in their way of being able to fight much more serious crime.

    But hey, why let things like that get in the way of a law to fight the Horde from the Border?

  • Henry||

    So what your saying is that you are against our sovereign nation enforcing immigration laws because their are more important laws to enforce.

    Thats a perfectly reasonable stance, but shouldnt you be arguing for open borders and against the Federal immigration laws. Instead of simply opposing Arizona's law?

  • ||

    Well, I do. At the same time I consider this law, which will impede the investigations of crimes I consider vastly more important, to be a more urgent priority.

  • Sidd Finch||

    But there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of crime in your area. Which is it?

  • ||

    Which is what? The bit about my neighbors being law abiding is in response to claims that illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapacious and predatory. My own experience from growing up in the SW is that they're as law-abiding as anyone else.

    As such a law intended to help thin them out is counter-productive if it drives these people away from helping law enforcement investigate serious crimes.

  • Sidd Finch||

    So there's not many serious crimes in your area, but your primary complaint with the law is that beat cops having one more page of paperwork will hinder those investigations?

  • ||

    No, my complaint is that witnesses, being faced with the hassle of proving their immigration status and possible deportation if found here illegally, will be unwilling to cooperate or that victims will not report crimes in the first place.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    I would argue for that as well. But in the order of things, I would rather have LEOs focused on other things than trying to find illegal immigrants. I'd also be against our nation making a priority our of enforcing any number of other sorts of laws if that action made enforcing other laws more difficult, created a significant sense of distrust towards the police in those communities that led toward truly serious crime being unreported, and so forth. Even if I wanted closed borders, I could oppose this law on the practical grounds made clear in the original article: it would create a barrier of mistrust with immigrant communities (who would be reasonably afraid of what they perceive as harassment, as is the situation in the article) that would lead them to avoid the police in contexts where contact would be desirable. If a rapist or murderer is on the loose and the local communities won't talk to the police it can create a significant barrier to solving a much more serious crime. (I'd rather have illegals running around than having murderers running loose.)

    So you don't need to argue for open borders to believe that this law creates a lot of harm. Again, when the LEO groups oppose it (excepting Arpaio), it probably isn't because they want open borders, but because they see the law as actively harmful to their core mission.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I generally agree with this, but I don't understand how this law gets so many libertarians especially riled up. It's just another damn law that will probably do little to achieve it's goals while having a host of unintended consequences like the bajillionty others.

    As for liberals who want endless workplace regulation but find checking immigration status abhorrent and socially unjust ...

  • The Gobbler||

    "I have a bridge to sell them"

    Delighted to see you favor the privatization of roads.

  • ¢||

    The AZ law isn't a stop-and-frisk law, and compared to Arizona, NYC is shockingly racist. But hey.

  • ||

    One thing that confuses me about your article. Where in SB 1070 does it say the cops have to stop everybody?

    Many counties and states around the country have been enforcing federal law for years (Rhode Island comes to mind), and I have not seen any hard evidence that it increases harassment or the number of random police stops.

    Generally, the checking on immigration status happens after the person is already in custody. That seems to be the primary gist of the Arizona law as well, by my reading.

    This article is just a more subtly rendered version of the leftist "racial profiling" argument against the bill. It presumes, without any real evidence, that the law will be abusively and unfairly used to stop people. It uses this as a strawman argument in order to discredit the law itself, which, so far as I can tell, goes exactly as far as federal law does, and not a step further, with the sole exception of adding state trespassing charges to the mix. There has been no serious constitutional challenge to current federal immigration law.

    If, and when, an agency begins enforcing what is otherwise just a reiteration of current law in a discriminatory fashion, we should jump up and down all over their faces. The mere possibility should not be enough to challenge Arizona's attempt to enforce a law that the Feds have deliberately failed to enforce, for blatant political reasons.

    Nor should you, or anyone else, get to substitute your ideology in the place of a popular, constitutional, and reasonable law, without being bothered to engage in the politics and convince the rest of us.

    But the way so many folks seem to think is that instead we can just go talk about vague, possible, not currently existing threats to a judge, right? And if that doesn't work, because the law clearly is constitutional, we can file 20 or 30 more suits and shop for a judge who will listen to us! That's what freedom is all about, right? RIGHT?

    The folks supporting 1070 aren't right wing fascists. And they aren't even the least freedom-minded people in the argument.

    The irony is that many of us who support the bill would also support many of the immigration proposals Reason and others put forth regarding worker programs, and the reform of an inefficient and hostile immigration system..... if we saw enforcement in place first.

    As we saw in the Reagan era amnesty, you are just increasing the problem until there is real enforcement in place. And promises that "we'll do it later" are never fulfilled by the government.

    You'd do better to court the people like me by compromising on this issue. Give us honest attempts at enforcement, and we'll consider fixing the rest of it.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    It uses this as a strawman argument

    I wasn’t aware that the term should be read as “Arpaio argument”… Seriously though, there actually are folks who are looking for this as an excuse. Maybe not everybody. But if the goal isn’t to send the undocumented immigrants packing, what is it?

    The irony is that many of us who support the bill would also support many of the immigration proposals Reason and others put forth regarding worker programs, and the reform of an inefficient and hostile immigration system..... if we saw enforcement in place first.

    That may be true of you, but there are a number of groups (talked about in recent Reason posts) that are actually opposed to virtually all immigration. Also, if the things you say that you would support are good things, why would you not support them in the first place since they would help alleviate the problems you say need to be solved first?

  • ||

    "Also, if the things you say that you would support are good things, why would you not support them in the first place since they would help alleviate the problems you say need to be solved first?"

    I said they were things I would consider, not that they would, by themselves, alleviate the problem. It is my opinion that none of these things work without proper enforcement as a first step. Then and only then do they make sense.

  • Tman||

    But if the goal isn’t to send the undocumented immigrants packing, what is it?

    That IS the intent of the AZ law. Confirm that the people you have ALREADY stopped for a potential law violation are in fact here legally. If they aren't, then they've already broken the law and should be sent home. The AZ law enforcement community can alert the feds and ICE who will then do precisely nothing to enforce the law.

    there are a number of groups (talked about in recent Reason posts) that are actually opposed to virtually all immigration.

    Probably, but no one in Congress or otherwise is seriously proposing we "close" the borders. Immigration is what built the country. We understand that.

    if the things you say that you would support are good things, why would you not support them in the first place since they would help alleviate the problems you say need to be solved first?

    Because if we don't have the Federal law enforced in the first place then there is no point in reforming the current laws.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    Because if we don't have the Federal law enforced in the first place then there is no point in reforming the current laws.

    I’m going to disagree with that one rather strenuously. That would be the rationale that says that a law sucks, but we need to enforce that bad law before we can replace it with a better law. To which I would always reply that fixing the bad law should take the priority.

  • Tman||

    That would be the rationale that says that a law sucks, but we need to enforce that bad law before we can replace it with a better law.

    That's not what I said. The law is fine-if you are here illegally you should be sent back home until you can come here legally. This is a pretty standard international law for immigration which isn't really that complicated.

    I have plenty of problems with the unrealistic quotas set that hinder those who do wish to come here legally, and this is the big reason why we have this many illegals to begin with, but that has nothing to with the law. The problem is that the Federal government isn't enforcing a reasonably clear immigration law, and the states are left to deal with their failure to enforce the law.

  • ||

    The second sentence of your last paragraph is a non sequitur. If the problem is that realistic quotas would make fewer immigrants illegal and more legal, how does that in any way imply that federal failure to enforce such bad law requires states to deal with it?

  • Tman||

    If the problem is that realistic quotas would make fewer immigrants illegal and more legal, how does that in any way imply that federal failure to enforce such bad law requires states to deal with it?

    The problem is definitely that we have too small a limit for letting people in to the country legally. But that doesn't change the fact that the Federal government is not enforcing the laws that we currently have, which means that the states are trying to fill the gap.

    The argument that we should raise immigration quotas won't change the fact that the federal government isn't enforcing the laws that are supposed to be preventing people from being here illegally in the first place.

  • ||

    But that doesn't change the fact that the Federal government is not enforcing the laws that we currently have, which means that the states are trying to fill the gap.

    1. Why?

    2. Why is this in any way desirable?

    If a proper law would effectively turn these illegals into legals, why should Arizona take it upon itself treat them as illegals qua Arizona if they are otherwise harmless?

  • Tman||

    1.) Why? Because the AZ state government is over-burdened in trying to deal with the costs of illegal immigration both financially and otherwise.

    2.) Why is this in any way desirable? It's not desirable. But apparently AZ is out of options.

    If a proper law would effectively turn these illegals into legals, why should Arizona take it upon itself treat them as illegals qua Arizona if they are otherwise harmless?

    That wouldn't be a "proper" law. You're talking amnesty. I don't believe that's the answer either. It was tried before and all it did was increase illegal immigration. I am saying they have to go back home and come here legally, and if you raise the quotas there will be room for them to do so.

    Ideally.

    But either way, the federal government will STILL be responsible for enforcing the law which clearly says you cannot immigrate here illegally. I would have higher hopes for success if there were less people here illegally, but the bottom line is that the Federal government has left this problem for the states to deal with, and that's why we have this Arizona law.

  • ||

    ...but the bottom line is that the Federal government has left this problem for the states to deal with, and that's why we have this Arizona law.

    Now I would have have said the Federal government has left this nonproblem for the states to not deal with.

    But that's just me ... and the three nonpsycho border states.

  • Tman||

    So you think that there isn't any problems related to illegal immigration that needs to be addressed?

    Arizona is just being all crazy?

  • ||

    Sure there are problems with illegal immigration that need to be dealt with. But, as with any other victimless crime, I believe greater use of police powers is almost certainly the worst way to handle them.

    Frankly, the bigger problem with Arizona is the legal immigration of voters from out of state who don't like the de facto border arrangements Arizona has maintained for the last century and a half.

  • ||

    Because if we don't have the Federal law enforced in the first place then there is no point in reforming the current laws.

    Fugitive Slave laws. Discuss.

  • The Gobbler||

    I think it is somewhat analogous to this:

    "[A]n imaginary Islamic student is not entitled to a heckler's veto on a teacher's passive, popular or unpopular expression about God's place in the history of the United States."

    - Judge Roger Benitez

    Until someone is actually harassed, it's all just make-believe.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    Wait a minute. Did you actually, you know, read the blog post? A professional getting stopped thirty or forty times in his own neighborhood for phony reasons doesn’t sound like make-believe. But maybe you have a different definition of make-believe. But as for me, I’d say that’s a pretty good and relevant example to suggest that this isn’t make-believe. But hey, why care about historical examples. This time it will be different, right?

  • Pip||

    Wait a minute. Did you actually, you know, read the blog Gobbler's post?

    Please note the word "analogous". That means he is talking about the AZ law, not the people getting harassed in the NYC. As of yet, there is no proof of harassment in AZ.

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    Yes, I read it, and I considered it pretty analogous. So either you or I are begging the question, and I think that it isn't me...

  • Rahm Emmanuel’s kippah||

    I do see your point, but we are already talking about the likely outcome, and in all cases of making laws, you have to look at what the likely outcome is, otherwise you'll just cook up bad laws (which is what legislatures do for the most part anyway)... If we can't talk about similar cases elsewhere and must wait for bad outcomes here before we can discuss them, then we are doomed to ignorance and repeating avoidable mistakes. Of course, or merdiful overlords -- that's not a typo -- will be ignorant and make avoidable mistakes every time, given the chance.

  • Guns for babies||

    Yo Intern, you include a picture like that and fail to accompany it with alt-text!?! Welch, take care or this kid won't cha?

  • ||

    The cops, everywhere, already have all the authoritay they need to hassle anyone they don't like the looks of. I fail to see how a law like the new AZ law makes this deplorable situation any worse.

    I'm also not entirely clear on exactly how AZ's new law is going to help, really, reduce illegal immigration.

    So, basically, as I see it, both sides of this argument are losers.

    But the extra-special losers are the politicians trying to whip up racial resentment to preserve and expand their power.

  • ||

    +1--if AZ really wants to enforce this law all they have to do is set up more roadblocks (sadly legal, as you noted) and ask every motorist who passes by for their license, as illegals cannot get a valid license.

    Politicians whipping up resentment among different groups? Whoda thunk?

  • Henry||

    "as illegals cannot get a valid license."

    I dont beleive this is true in every state

  • ||

    Young black men get stopped so often that a few years ago, Gus Cyrus, coach of the football team at nearby Thomas Jefferson High School, started letting his players leave practice with their bright orange helmets so the police would not confuse them with gang members.

    Good thing no one else has thought of that.

  • Tman||

    So does this mean we need to start boycotting New York?

    I hate the Yankees so maybe we can just boycott them.

  • Carter||

    Stop policing Brownsville altogether and allow order there to arise spontaneously.

  • ||

    In the more than 50,000 stops since 2006, the police recovered 25 guns.

    "Recovered"? I believe the word you are looking for is "confiscated".

    You're welcome, asshole.

  • Pip||

    "In the more than 50,000 stops since 2006, the police recovered 25 guns."

    In other words, they have a 99.95% failure rate.

  • Neu Mejican||

    1. the law isnt another reason to stop people. The law only affects people who have already been stopped.

    Various versions of this floating around...but the text of the law says differently. The law requires immigration status to be determined during any "lawful contact" whenever "practicable." That means that it requires the LEO to make an effort to determine immigration status for everyone they interact with...including victims of crimes.

    And it is here that the negative effects of the law will be most clearly felt as illegal immigrants are far more likely to victims of crime than they are to be perpetrators of crimes against others.

  • Sidd Finch||

    2162

  • Neu Mejican||

    Indeed, that is correct... the updated language includes

    "For any lawful contact STOP, DETENTION OR ARREST made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF ANY OTHER LAW OR ORDINANCE OF A COUNTY, CITY OR TOWN OR THIS STATE where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who AND is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. "

    Not sure how they define a "lawful contact stop" but it does seem to get away from the requirement to check status of victims...although a witness who was "lawfully stopped" might fall under the requirement.

    Cop: excuse me, I need to talk to you... did you see anything?
    Witness: no habla Ingles.

    Cop: I suspect you are here illegally and am required to determine if that is the case.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Where I read it, lawful was crossed out to highlight the change. Could you linky your source.

    Also, IIRC there's an exception for hindering an investigation which I assume is for witnesses.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Ignore my previous comment. You're reading this wrong. The bold text shows the change to 1070. Not sure why the deleted text isn't indicated though.

  • ||

    ...a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable...

    This gives the cop latitude to not ask for papers.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Give us honest attempts at enforcement, and we'll consider fixing the rest of it.

    If the current policies are unworkable, then enforcement first puts the cart before the horse.

    The better approach is to set up better policy and include mechanisms for enforcing that improved policy.

    The "can't even enforce the laws we've got" argument falls apart upon close inspection. It is because the current laws are so out of whack that they are impractical and unenforceable.

  • Tman||

    The laws aren't out of whack, actually they are pretty clear-don't come here illegally or you will risk deportation for violating immigration law.

    I agree that there should be more legal immigration allowed via guest worker visas and other programs, along with an increase in the immigration quotas. This is the "Wider Gates, Taller Fences" argument.

    But you are being disingenuous to suggest that the reason most are here illegally is because "their paperwork is not yet in order". I would argue that the vast majority of illegal immigrants haven't filed a single piece of paperwork, and don't plan on doing so.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The laws aren't out of whack, actually they are pretty clear-don't come here illegally or you will risk deportation for violating immigration law.

    That is a nice plain language summary. But your next sentence is also a clear summary of how they are out of whack. e.g., ...

    I agree that there should be more legal immigration allowed via guest worker visas and other programs, along with an increase in the immigration quotas. This is the "Wider Gates, Taller Fences" argument.

    A good explanation of how the laws are out of whack and what should be done.

    But you are being disingenuous to suggest that the reason most are here illegally is because "their paperwork is not yet in order". I would argue that the vast majority of illegal immigrants haven't filed a single piece of paperwork, and don't plan on doing so.

    I am not being disingenuous. Their "crime" is much better characterized as failure to complete paperwork than anything else. They haven't filled out the paperwork because the bureaucratic process is a big enough barrier that the cost-benefit analysis of coming legally or illegally tilts towards coming illegally. If if were an efficient sane process the paperwork would be completed by a vast majority of these workers in my estimation.

  • Tman||

    For the sake of argument, let's raise this hypothetical. If the quota was raised to the point that we never come close to meeting the quota, and the process was reasonably efficient, then all of the people in your example would dutifully follow the law and process their paperwork so they could be here legally?

  • ||

    Let's see...

    For $700 I could get a card that lets me come and go over the border, work in the US during season and live off-season at home where it is cheaper, where my family is, and where I can invest my earnings in a future when I no longer need to work in the US.

    Or I could spend $3000 on a coyote to walk myself and my family across the desert for what is likely a one-way trip because of the hazards of the border, live in the shadows of the economy for fear of being caught, and generally be victimized by criminals because I cannot trust going to the authorities.

    You're probably right. No one would take the former.

  • Tman||

    Do you think that if someone could spend $700 to get here legally that the cost of a coyote would remain $3000?

    Supply and demand would state otherwise.

  • ||

    Fair enough. What's the going rate for not spending two days walking in the desert, being able to house your family somewhere cheap while being able to visit them at will, and not being illegally employed? $700 minus that is what the coyotes can charge.

    Besides, supply and demand works here in two other ways as well:

    1. If there were legal laborers to fill the jobs currently filled by illegals, employers would hire the legal.

    2. If there are fewer illegals for the border patrol to pursue, being illegal becomes considerably less pleasant.

  • Tman||

    What's the going rate for not spending two days walking in the desert, being able to house your family somewhere cheap while being able to visit them at will, and not being illegally employed?

    I have no idea. I would guess it's considerably more than $3000 if you factor in the legal assistance you would need to comply with the law. I have friends who are legal immigrants, and they paid handsomely to be here legally because they could afford to do so. I agree this is ridiculous (and so do they).

    I agree with your other two points. "Wider gates, Taller Fences" would address both of them positively.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And to define "out of whack for you" - we have jobs for these 11 million people, so they can and filled the positions. Our policies were not able to legally process these workers fast enough, so their paperwork is not yet in order. Current policy does not provide a mechanism for getting that paperwork in order after the fact. Seems like it should.

  • NM's copy-editor||

    that's "came and filled"

  • -||

    Now I'm confused. Is Obama's Justice Department good or bad?

  • T||

    Go with bad, and you're more than likely correct.

  • Flex Nasty B.I.G.||

    Who the hell is Robby Soave?

  • ||

    How about this: the federal government does their job and actually control/stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border, or at the very least try to stop the flow? If the feds were doing their job, then AZ would not need this contested law.

    I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that US AG Holder hasn't a leg to stand on. The basis of his suit seems to be that Federal law trumps state laws, hence AZ can't meddle in immigration, which is a federal mandate. So far, so good, but as I see it, AZ is not enforcing immigration law, AZ police are simply surrendering illegals who are discovered incidental to their normal AZ law enforcement to the feds so the feds can do their job.

  • ||

    How about this: the federal government does their job and actually control/stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border, or at the very least try to stop the flow? If the feds were doing their job, then AZ would not need this contested law.

    I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that US AG Holder hasn't a leg to stand on. The basis of his suit seems to be that Federal law trumps state laws, hence AZ can't meddle in immigration, which is a federal mandate. So far, so good, but as I see it, AZ is not enforcing immigration law, AZ police are simply surrendering illegals who are discovered incidental to their normal AZ law enforcement to the feds so the feds can do their job.

  • ||

    So far, so good, but as I see it...

    See it more carefully...

    13-1509. Willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document...
    A. In addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document if the person is in violation of 8 United States Code section 1304(e) or 1306(a).
    ...
    D. A person who is sentenced pursuant to this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon, commutation of sentence, or release from confinement on any basis except as authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed by the court has been served or the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07.
  • ||

    I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that US AG Holder hasn't a leg to stand on.

    By the way, since there's no Constitutional mandate for federal control over immigration, I don't believe the feds have a leg to stand on either.

  • CE||

    EVERY police stop is technically an "arrest" -- that's what the word means. In a free country, the police don't stop you unless you're an imminent danger to someone, or with a valid warrant from a reputable court.

  • Karl||

    ...residents of this neighborhood of just eight blocks have endured 52,000 police stops, according to The New York Times. Statistically speaking, that's nearly one stop per resident per year

    That's quite a population density: 6500 people per block. Maybe, living out here in Los Angeles, I'm just not accustomed to the densely-packed urban lifestyle, but 6500 people per city block seems like a lot of people.

    How big are the blocks in Brownsville, Brooklyn?

    (Or did you mean "eight blocks on a side" = 64 blocks = 812.5 people per block? If so, why didn't you say so?)

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