Via RaceWire, Gov. Jan Brewer released the above video to address the pseudo-controversy over the officials who hadn't read the law but nevertheless criticized it, like Eric Holder and former Arizona Gov. and current head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
On the one hand, I'm sympathetic to requiring people to be familiar with individual laws before speaking out about them, but this is a case in which the right is trying to say Napolitano and Holder couldn't possibly know what's in the bill without having read it. It seems like a case of the right-wing gotcha media trying to equate Holder and Napoliltano here to the Republican lawmakers who criticized the health-care reform bill for the death panels that weren't in the bill at all.
There's a difference between actively misrepresenting something and understanding the gist of something without having had time to read the full source material. But, not being one to encourage ignorance, I'll link to the entire bill here. The most salient part doesn't get better after having read the whole thing:
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. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
It also gives officers the power to arrest anyone they have a reason to believe has committed a public offense that makes them removable. Those extra steps -- which most people believe will result in racial profiling -- puts a new duty on officers. In most places, and most of the time, a person's immigration status becomes an issue for local law-enforcement officials after they've been arrested for some other crime. It also puts a new burden on citizens, who will now have to carry citizenship documents with them.
So, with my duty to inform still in mind, I'll link you to the section of the Constitution the California ACLU has already said makes this law unconstitutional.
UDPATE: I meant to note before that the portion of the bill I quoted had been amended so that witnesses and victims of crimes, for example, wouldn't be caught up in that "lawful contact made by a law enforcement official" description, but couldn't find the link. Here it is.
-- Monica Potts
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