I posted a blog on this subject before its passage: http://tucsoncitizen.com/tucsontales/2010/04/19/my-2-cents-on-police-rounding-up-illegal-aliens/
In short, I was undecided and still am. However, I asked someone I greatly respect to share their strong opinion - my dad. He is a former police officer of Mexican heritage who was an officer back in the day when it was part of the job to detain illegal immigrants in Nogales, Arizona. He grew up along the Mexican/American border on the ranches in the Lochiel area. I feel this gives him a qualified opinion worth considering.
SB 1070 Immigration Law
By Joseph Gardner
Much has been made in the media about the passage and signing of SB 1070 last week. As expected, protests have been staged, imparting much misinformation along with some facts. In my opinion, a lot of people have rushed into quite an unnecessary panic.
By way of introduction, I am what is referred to as Hispanic, although my surname does not suggest that. My great-great-grandfather was an immigrant (legal) from Scotland, and my great-grandfather was born in Buffalo, New York. When he emigrated west, he married a Mexican woman, from Cananea, Sonora. Their offspring, my grandfather, married a Mexican woman from Cucurpe, Sonora. Their son, my father, then married a woman from Estacion Llano, Sonora. My mother and grandmother were legal immigrants to this country.
I learned English at age 6 in a one-room schoolhouse in Washington Camp, Arizona, where I was born. I was Mexican-American up until someone decided we were to be Hispanic. Above all, I am a proud American who served in the Army and then spent 17 years as a law enforcement officer.
Now back to SB 1070. We must give Police Officers in Arizona the credit they deserve. They are intelligent individuals with a difficult job to do. They are NOT sitting around wringing their hands with anticipation, thinking “Cant wait to go get some illegal aliens”, or “I’m going to stop every Mexican-looking driver I see”.
They WILL be given training on the strict guidelines they have to follow, as is the norm with every new law enacted.
People of any color who go about their lives in a law-abiding manner will have nothing to worry about. That is because doing so does not provide police with the “probable cause” they need to initiate an investigation.
Visitors from Mexico always have the proper documentation if they were allowed past the ports of entry. Just as burglars don’t wear little black rubber masks and ivy caps as they do in cartoons, illegals don’t wear any particular clothing that identifies them as illegals. An experienced police officer, however, can usually spot them by observing certain traits and mannerisms. This in itself is not probable cause and the officer usually cannot act on his suspicion.
When I was a police officer in the late 60s and early 70s, we detained illegals and turned them over to Border Patrol as a matter of routine, and the agents appreciated the help and welcomed the cooperation.
I do not know of any instance during that time where a person was wrongly deported. (“Born in East L.A.” with Cheech Marin was a comedy movie, it didn’t really happen). On the other hand, on many occasions we would see them get off the Greyhound bus late at night, headed back into Mexico, and we would not bother to detain them, but we often escorted them to the holes in the fence to cross back into Mexico.
We did this because we knew they usually had considerable sums of money earned in the U.S., and countless times we watched Mexican Immigration officials openly abuse them and rob them of their hard-earned money.
The truth of the matter is that at this point in time no one knows yet how this law will function. Governor Brewer has said that she has directed the proper people to come up with a plan on how to fairly and justly implement it.
The people of Arizona are justifiably positively fed up with the status quo regarding illegal immigration and are demanding something be done about it. We cannot look the other way, due to political correctness, while the quality of life in the southwestern United States steadily declines, largely due to this very problem.
Therefore, it is extremely irresponsible of Raul Grijalva, especially as an elected representative of this state, and others to malign the majority of the people of this state based on initial reaction to the bill. Now people from other states are putting in their two cents without ever walking a single step in our shoes.
It is inevitable that, should this law be struck down, citizens and legal immigrants will eventually, in desperation, take the law into their own hands. That could have very tragic consequences. Action is needed NOW.