Ever watch a giant dust storm coming at you on Interstate 10 in the summer?
With SB 1070 set to go into effect Thursday July 29th (unless the federal court enjoins portions of the law) things are about to get very stormy in Arizona.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is up to his usual tricks launching another of his infamous “sweeps” on Thursday.
Here is the news for today:
Arizona police agencies vary on enforcement of Arizona immigration law
by JJ Hensley on Jul.28, 2010, under Arizona Republic News
With Arizona’s new immigration law set to take effect Thursday, law-enforcement officers around the state are braced to become among the most scrutinized in the world as both sides of the heated debate wait for a misstep.
Protesters who fear racial profiling are expected to descend on Arizona, intent on getting arrested for not carrying identification that proves their citizenship. Supporters of the law, meanwhile, will keep a careful eye on police activities to detect any agency that may have instructed officers to not enforce the law to the fullest extent.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton could move this week to suspend enforcement of all or parts of the law based on several constitutional challenges. Depending on her actions, police could retool their policies to comport with the court’s decision. Absent an action by Bolton, the law takes effect Thursday.
Proponents hoped Senate Bill 1070, which created the law earlier this year, would remove some discretion that police agencies have when it comes to enforcing immigration law, thereby prompting uniform enforcement. But a survey of Arizona police agencies indicates there is anything but a uniform approach.
By now, most police officers in the state have reviewed a training video the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board provided, but that is where uniformity ends. Many agencies have supplemented that training with their own policies.
Some have been instructed to try to verify status of suspects detained on the side of a road, while others have instructed that anyone booked into jail will have their residency status checked, regardless of what kind of ID they are carrying.
Arizona Department of Public Safety officers will work through the agency’s dispatch centers, which will determine whether officers should contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or federally trained local agents to verify the immigration status of a suspect.
Flagstaff has instructed officers to enforce the statute as written, although Lt. Ken Koch said the statute isn’t entirely clear. “That statute is subject to interpretation,” he said. “It’s a very fluid and dynamic situation.”
In Yuma County, where sheriff’s deputies patrol an area that includes a shared border with Mexico, deputies will continue to work with Border Patrol agents when there are questions about a suspect’s immigration status, sheriff’s Capt. Eben Bratcher said.
Phoenix police officers will be required to contact federal authorities to verify the immigration status of everyone they arrest, regardless of whether the suspects have one of the “presumptive IDs” such as an Arizona driver’s license that the statewide training outlined.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s department, the most fervent agency in the state when it comes to rooting out illegal immigrants, won’t be attempting to determine anyone’s immigration status unless deputies are taking that suspect into custody for another crime.
The varied approaches are a reflection of the confusion that persists among agencies tasked with enforcing the law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.
The new law states that an officer engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest shall, when practicable, ask about a person’s legal status when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally.
“The biggest question that seems to be pretty common is: Where are we taking these people once they’re in custody? Are we taking them to a federal facility? Are we taking them to a county jail?” Tucson police Officer Chuck Rydzak said.
Like their Phoenix counterparts, Tucson officers have been instructed to verify the status of everyone they arrest.
Supporters of the law say that approach by Phoenix and Tucson police, both of which are headed by opponents of the law, is designed to inundate federal agencies with verification requests, thereby clogging the system and making the law unworkable.
Mark Spencer, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said his organization contacted Gov. Jan Brewer’s office and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to raise concerns.
“In light of the state statute, you have a policy that appears to be designed to be costly, invasive or intrusive to citizens and burdensome to ICE,” Spencer said. “You take those three ingredients, and you have a policy that appears designed to undermine the rule of law.”
Arpaio’s policy instructs deputies to take a less thorough approach, with deputies waiting to ask immigration-related questions until they’re ready to arrest someone on suspicion of violating another state law.
The policy might seem lax for an agency that has become notorious for strident enforcement of state and federal immigration laws, but Arpaio’s deputy chief, Brian Sands, said the policy is part of the agency’s broader philosophy of prosecuting illegal-immigration suspects on state charges.
“There’s a deterrent factor in us enforcing state law over federal law,” Sands said. “When we catch offenders and prosecute them in our system, we now have them in our system. As they continue to offend … the punishment increases. It’s in the best interest of the community for us to enforce state laws.”
Of larger concern for many agencies are the acts of civil disobedience anticipated Thursday as the law takes effect. Groups from around the country are expected in the Valley this week, with many encouraging members to leave their ID at home and test whether police will arrest them.
Yuma County’s Bratcher and other officials said their officers and deputies are prepared for those challenges. “Every single traffic stop that we make is, if not video (recorded), it is audio recorded, and I hope that people don’t find themselves on the wrong end of a racial-profiling accusation,” Bratcher said. “If someone is confronting the officer with that accusation, the officer will immediately inform them why they stopped them.
“They’re going to cause no one but themselves a problem.”
Republic reporter Michael Ferraresi contributed to this article.
Jonathan J. Cooper and Michelle Price The Associated Press | Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:00 am |
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is making room in a vast outdoor jail and is determined to round up illegal immigrants to fill it. Police from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Grand Canyon are getting last-minute training. And protests and marches are planned throughout Phoenix.
Arizona’s new immigration law takes effect Thursday, creating a potentially volatile mix of police, illegal immigrants and thousands of activists, many planning to show up without identification as a show of solidarity.
At least one group plans to block access to federal offices, daring officers to ask them their immigration status.
“Our message for that day is: ‘Don’t comply; don’t buy,’ ” said activist Liz Hourican, whose group, Codepink, plans to block the driveway for immigration offices in downtown Phoenix.
As both sides prepare, a federal judge is deciding whether to step in and block the law. It requires officers enforcing other laws to check a person’s immigration status if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. It also bans illegal immigrants from soliciting work in a public place.
Police across the state scrambled on Tuesday to train officers, including on how to avoid racial profiling, and plan for a potential influx of detainees.
The hardest-line approach is expected in the Phoenix area, where Arpaio plans to start his 17th crime and immigration sweep on Thursday. He plans to hold the sweep regardless of any ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. Arpaio, known for his tough stance against illegal immigration, plans to send about 200 deputies and volunteers out, looking for traffic violators, people wanted on criminal warrants and others. He has used that tactic before to arrest dozens of people, many of them illegal immigrants.
“We don’t wait. We just do it,” he said. “If there’s a new law out, we’re going to enforce it.”
He said the space he made in the complex of military-surplus tents can handle 100 people and that he will find room for more if necessary.
Elsewhere in the state, police officials said they didn’t expect any dramatic events. They were busy wrapping up training sessions this week, with some agencies saying untrained officers will not be allowed on the streets.
Many of the state’s 15,000 police officers have been watching a DVD released earlier this month. It says signs that might indicate a person is an illegal immigrant are speaking poor English, looking nervous or traveling in an overcrowded vehicle. It warned that race and ethnicity are not signs.
Some agencies added extra materials, including a test, a role-playing exercise or a question-and-answer session with prosecutors.
Critics of the law among police chiefs remain, saying the law is so vague that no amount of training could eliminate potential confusion.
“Am I going to sit here and say I think every officer has a clear understanding of the law when they leave the training?” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said. “No, because I think the law is poorly constructed.”
Arizona’s law gives police two options to confirm whether a detainee is an illegal immigrant.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would not comment on preparations or the role that federal authorities will play in enforcing the law, except to say that ICE “focuses first on criminal aliens who pose a threat to our communities.”
Arpaio vowed to arrest all illegal immigrants and make them spend time in his jail. Other police officials said they would try to get the Border Patrol involved as often as possible to avoid the time and cost of booking the detainees into jail.
Prosecutors also are preparing for an influx of cases. They are reminding officers that in each case, they are required to explain the circumstances of the original stop and why they suspect the person is an illegal immigrant.
A march from the state Capitol is planned for 4:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by a prayer service, a rally outside Arpaio’s office, and a concert later outside a Maricopa County jail, according to the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
The protesters from Arizona and elsewhere plan to show up without identification and hold peaceful rallies, the network said.
“It’s defiance, to see if they want to come and arrest those people,” said Pablo Alvarado, the executive director of the network. “We dare them to come and ask.”