Those who find themselves in the position of not knowing what to believe about the Arizona immigration law might want to read a New York Times op-ed written by one of the drafters of the measure. It offers an excellent summary of the law's provisions. The author is Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri. Kobach begins with this:
On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law - SB 1070 - that prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes. It also requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a "reasonable suspicion" that a person is an illegal alien verify the person's immigration status with the federal government.
Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it "misguided" and said the Justice Department would take a look.
Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don't seem to have done. The arguments we've heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually.
Read his response to the critics at the link. I think the dissenters know that the law is not the totalitarian bogeyman they're making it out to be, but they're upset because they don't want any enforcement of immigration laws. They want amnesty and open borders, and the Arizona legislature seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Thus the hue and cry about racial profiling, arbitrary searches and all the rest.
The law makes sense, Arizonans and other Americans overwhelmingly support it, and I imagine other states are looking to adopt similar legislation.RLC