There’s been a whole lot of ranting about SB1070, the immigration law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Jan Brewer. I’m not going to bother rehashing either “public opinion” as is reflected by the roughly 70% approval ratings showing up in polling or “political opinion” reflected by “boycotts” and lawsuits. If you don’t live in a cave you know all about that stuff.
I will quickly note that I’ve said on several occasions that they could have done a whole lot better with the law by simply leaving out the “stop and verify” stuff and by making employment of an illegal a felony with a $20,000 per head fine. I’ve written extensively on that and I’m not going to rehash it except to note that it would be nothing more than an extension of the existing, and long standing, employment law here in Arizona that upgrades a misdemeanor to a felony. I’ve noted that it’s currently a misdemeanor to not have a state issued photo id in your possession at all times and you can be arrested if you can’t produce one. Again long standing law here. Also, if you’re arrested, ever County Jail checks immigration status on 100% of all people when they are booked. If you’re not here legally you get handed over to ICE.
OK, so for today. I happened to have lunch with a group of folks, among whom were several fairly high ranking Phoenix PD officers. The least senior had about 20 years of service. Keep in mind that Phoenix is one of the jurisdictions that’s filing a lawsuit over SB1070.
The subject of 1070 came up. I asked the officers, given the existing ID law, exactly what changed with SB1070. They glanced at one another, all grew little smiles – smirks actually – and finally the most senior said, “Nothing, other than the f****** politicians got involved.” No real change operationally, on the street? said I. “Nope. Except that now we’ve got politicians and lawyers looking over our shoulders for doing EXACTLY the same thing we’ve been doing for years.”
Shakespeare was right.