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Legal Daily News Feature

Arizona New Immigration Law Raises Concerns By Christine Cristiano Illegal immigrants living or working in Arizona might consider a change of residence or a new job. On Monday, the Arizona Senate and its lawmakers voted and passed an immigration bill that will require state police to determine if individuals in the state bordering Mexico are there illegally.

04/22/10 If passed into law, state and local police will be required to determine a person’s immigration status if there is ‘’reasonable suspicion’’ and the individual in question must produce the proper legal documentation to back up their immigration status. If the individual is unable to provide officials with proper documentation that they are legally allowed to be in the country - they will be arrested. As it stands now, officers are only permitted to inquire as to an individual’s immigration status if the individual is a suspect for another crime. Presently, if an individual cannot provide proof of their immigration status, they are charged with a misdemeanor offence. The bill was voted on and passed by 17 to 11 and many regard this bill as the toughest stance taken yet to curb to illegal entry and residency of illegal immigrants in the state. However, some critics of the bill have stated that the new bill is open to racial profiling. The bill was approved last week, and must be vetoed or sign into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer within five days. According to report at Rueters, it is estimated that there are 10.8 million illegal immigrants currently living and working in the United States and concerns have been heightened over the last few months due to the universal healthcare initiatives and a weak economy.

In the same report, Republican state senator, Russell Pearce, who penned the bill, commented that he believes ‘’handcuffs are a wonderful tool when they’re on the right people.’’ Pearce told Rueters that ‘’we want to get them off law enforcement and get them on the bad guys.’’ On Monday, a vigil was held outside Governor Brewer’s home by opponents of the new immigration law in an attempt to sway her decision and veto the new law which some claim is unconstitutional and discriminates against the Latino community. In a statement to Rueters, Pablo Alvardo, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, revealed that his group will ask the government to intervene and they would consider legal action to overturn the bill. Alvardo warned that ‘’you cannot tell if a person walking on a sidewalk is undocumented or not ... (so) this is a mandate for racial profiling.’’ Various police officers and city officials have voiced concern that this new law will drain resources and fear that charges of racial profiling will become an issue. Some illegal immigrants are weighing their options, and returning home to Mexico or moving to another state where they can continue living undetected are possibilities.

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Arizona New Immigration Law Raises Concerns