Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How AZ Law Affects Police Officers

Recently, Arizona passed a new law targeting illegal aliens. The law has been widely criticized by many, including people here in Kansas City. I recently wrote about immigration reform and conflicted feelings I have in regard to illegal aliens. What does the Arizona law mean and how does it affect Arizona law enforcement?? I found this article at Police Magazine:

Arizona's new immigration law does not mandate that law enforcement officers get involved in "routine immigration enforcement," the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association's Mark Spencer told a local radio host.

While appearing on Mike Broomhead's radio program on KFYI, Spencer said the law gives officers an additional tool that must be embraced by police chiefs who have opposed the bill.

"You'd think this would be a happy day for alw enforcement, but really it's just the opposite," Spencer said. "It's frustrating when you have to pass a bill to tell a police chief to allow police officers to do police work and enforce the law. This bill mandates that police managers follow the rule of law and allow discretionary contact with ICE to address the crime of illegal immigration."

Spencer said the law has six major components for law enforcement, including that officers must make lawful contact with subjects; have reasonable suspicion based on conduct not skin color;initiate contact at the officer's discretion; refrain from racial profiling; assume everyone is a citizen; and disengage an illegal immigrant if detaining them would hinder an investigation.

It brings a lot of questions up and as I said in my earlier blog, I'm conflicted in regard to immigration. I can understand the bishop's views and I understand the police officers issues when they aren't allowed to use ICE when dealing with criminals. The United States does need to help the poor from Mexico, immigration laws do need to be changed so that more people can come here legally, even if it's only temporarily. But, those who break crimes need to be dealt with too and there are places in Arizona that don't allow their officers to deal with the immigration status of criminals. It's a sticky topic and this is not meant to end source of all arguments but is only meant to speak about how it affects law enforcement.


  1. To be an illegal immigrant is actually not a crime. I'm really surprised that the President of a law enforcement association does not know this. To cross the border illegally is a crime, but to simply be in the country illegally is a civil offense. It's true that most illegal immigrants got here by committing the crime of border-crossing, but it's also possible to enter legally and then have a lapsed visa, in which case there is no crime. It may seem like a technicality but I've heard people call all illegal immigrants "criminal aliens," which is wrong on multiple levels, including the technical sense.

    I have to say that to people outside AZ, it sounds like a law that REQUIRES racial profiling. I used to work in law enforcement too, and every single member of the department was falsely accused of racism and racial profiling at some point. I was falsely accused of racism against every race, including my own. But you and I both know that there are a small percentage of officers who occasionally—or sometimes more than occasionally—treat people differently because of race or national origin. I've seen it (again, very very rarely). I hope police chiefs in AZ are crystal clear to their officers that the new law does NOT make this okay.

    The whole thing makes me uneasy... but I'm trying not to let emotion cloud my thinking on it.

  2. http://www.ojjpac.org/memorial.asp
    MEMORIAL -- In honor of Americans killed by illegal aliens.

  3. Many of the people who cross the border in order to better their life are robbed and killed while crossing. It's not easy or simple. Yes, just like any group of people, there are going to be criminal but the vast majority of people crossing the border are simple poor people looking to survive. Many of them take jobs that Americans wont do.
    Mass in Spanish shouldn't happen?? There are many who say that mass in English shouldn't happen. The church is here to serve the people and if they can serve them by saying mass in Spanish then it should be done.

  4. I was visiting my Aunt in Texas. She was on a rant about sending all the Mexicans back to Mexico. While we were having tea listening to her go on and on about how unfair it is to let illegal aliens work in this country, a crew of Hispanic men were outside PAINTING HER HOUSE. She admitted that most of them were probably not legal, but the price was lower. I politely informed her of her hypocrisy and what I thought of her "fairness". My tea got cold, along with the conversation.

    We have serious problems with immigration policy that must be addressed. However, these problems can not be solved if we don't remember that the people we are talking about are made in the image and likeness of our Savior.

    In Christ,