by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOENIX (AP)
New York Times
30 April 2010
Phoenix (AP)—Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed a
follow-on bill approved by Arizona legislators that makes
revisions to the state’s sweeping law against illegal immigration.
She said the changes should quell concerns that the measure will
lead to racial profiling.
The law requires local and state law
enforcement officers to question people about their immigration
status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country
illegally, and it makes it a state crime to be in the United
Governor Brewer said the changes should lay to
rest concerns of opponents.
“These new statements make it crystal clear and
undeniable that racial profiling is illegal, and will not be
tolerated in Arizona,” she said in a statement.
The changes include one strengthening
restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for
questioning by the police and inserting those same restrictions in
other parts of the law. Another change states that questions of
immigration status would follow a law enforcement officer’s
stopping, detaining or arresting a person while enforcing another
law. The earlier law had referred to a “contact” with police.
Another change specifies that possible
violations of local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on
Stephen Montoya, a Phoenix lawyer representing
a police officer whose lawsuit was one of three filed Thursday to
challenge the law, said the changes would not derail the lawsuit
because the state is still unconstitutionally trying to regulate
immigration, a federal responsibility.
He said that the strengthened restriction on
factoring race and ethnicity makes enforcement “potentially less
discriminatory,” but that the local-law provision is troubling
because it broadens when the law could be used. Lawmakers approved
the follow-on bill several hours before ending their 2010 session.
The sponsor, State Senator Russell Pearce,
unveiled the changes at a House-Senate conference committee on
Thursday. He later said the revisions would not change how the law
is implemented but provide clarifications on intent and make the
bill more defensible in court.
“There will be no profiling,” Mr. Pearce, a
Republican from Mesa, said in an interview.
Mr. Pearce said the change from the “contact”
wording does not require a formal arrest before questioning but
helps make it clear that racial profiling is not allowed.