The new Arizona anti-immigrant law will require law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of individuals where “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully in the United States.”
Take a moment to ask yourself, are you “reasonably suspicious”? What characteristics would one have to possess to be considered “reasonably suspicious” to a police officer? Is it not likely that someone who may be “reasonably suspicious” to one person may not be to another.
Most civil liability for conduct involves the vague “reasonableness” standard and judges and juries frequently spend weeks hearing evidence to determine whether a party acted reasonably or not. To give even a few rogue police officers the power to abuse this law is a huge mistake that all Arizonans will pay for both economically and in what many suspect will be a rise in criminal activity. It is not enough for some police chiefs to say “trust us, we won’t abuse our power.” As a society, we must have the common sense not to give broad, undefined powers to law enforcement. This legislation is likely to be overturned on constitutional grounds. Hopefully Arizona’s misguided law will serve as a motivation for our federal government officials to do what they are paid to – enact legislation to solve national problems such as immigration.