Immigration Bill

More from this show

One of the toughest immigration laws in the United States may soon become law in Arizona. State Senator Ron Gould and Alfredo Guiterrez, Editor of lafronteratimes.com, discuss the legislation.

José Cárdenas: Good evening, and thank you for joining us. Arizona lawmakers approved what is being called the toughest immigration law in the United States. Senate bill 1070 would require local police to enforce federal immigration law and make it a state crime to be in the country illegally. Here to discuss the legislation is state senator Ron Gould, and Alfredo Gutierrez, former state legislator, political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez, and editor and founder of "LaFronteraTimes.com" Gentleman thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." I'd like to start with overviews of first from you, Senator Gould, of what the legislation is all about.

Ron Gould: Sure. The legislation essentially has four parts. It's enforcement of immigration law, failure for immigrants to carry their papers, picking up workers, impeding traffic in picking up workers, and then transporting or harboring illegal aliens.

José Cárdenas: And the -- it was a long process, in terms of the going through the legislature. There are various amendments. Give us a sense for what the fixes were, so to speak, that occurred.

Ron Gould: You had some concern, people were concerned that we were going to create a national I.D. card with this, somehow they misconstrued the language as supporting some kind of real I.D., and that's not what the bill did. So the sponsor of the bill clarified some things to give those people a little more peace of mind.

José Cárdenas: Alfredo, I should point out we referred to it as Arizona's new bill on immigration, but as we speak, as we're doing this interview, the governor has yet to act, so it's still theoretically possible this will not become law. But assuming it does, what's wrong with it?

Alfredo Gutierrez: Each of those points has to be discussed. The issue carrying papers, what the bill says is that the status of being undocumented simply being undocumented is a criminal offense. And the police can stop anyone on the basis of reasonable suspicion and ask for papers if they choose to. Reasonable suspicion is usually a sign to a criminal act, and this instance it's the status of being undocumented. In Arizona, that clearly means someone who is -- who looks like me. It means someone who is Hispanic, and somebody who is Latino. And the sponsors have denied racial profiling, the fact of the matter is, to have somebody like Joe Arpaio going on national television bragging about the fact that he if racially profiles, and he's done this on Glenn Beck, and on CNN, so this is going to exacerbate that problem incredibly. The issue of civil liberties, because, no, this doesn't require a real I.D. But it does require that you carry your papers with you. There's a reasonable expectation of papers when you're driving your car. But what about when you're walking a dog? Or what about when you're mowing the lawn? Or what about when you're doing a myriad of things that every American and Arizonan does that now you have to carry your papers? And it's true, that those of us who are of a certain color will have to worry about carrying our papers even more. Finally, and I think this is perhaps the most outrageous part, and that is that it allows a private right of action. So if police at the Suns game chose not to card Hispanics, any citizen can go to court and say, I was reasonably suspicions that there were 25 people that looked like Mexicans to me, and the police department did nothing about it. The city would have to defend itself. It may prevail. But it may not, but in every instance, in every instance they will be defending themselves, and in every instance the pressure will be upon police to do precisely what I think the sponsors have in mind. Which is, to focus and harass and intimidate Therese the Hispanic community. That's what's wrong with it. And you gamecocks through every element. The real I.D. part. In order, for example, the bill prohibits radio chips. So I think you can be reasonably sure they're not good to implant the radio chip in your head. But you can also be sure that you will have to carry a certain level of papers.

Ron Gould: Certain level of papers is going to be your driver's license or an I.D. card which most people carry anyway.

Alfredo Gutierrez: That is if you're --

Ron Gould: :et me go back --

Alfredo Gutierrez: perhaps if you're mowing your lawn? In front of your house. But let me -But what if you're stopped in front of your mowing your lawn? What if you're walking your dog? There's a million activities that every American does -- without --

Ron Gould: Let me go back to your original premise that this is going to be race-based. The bill specifically prohibits the use of racial or national origin as one of the probable causes. You have to commit another crime or violation to actually be contacted. The bill spells that out. So if you're driving your Kat car and you commit a violation, then that's probable cause for you to be pulled over anyway. If you commit another crime, that's going to happen. It's not -- you're still under the fourth amendment of the constitution, which requires --

Alfredo Gutierrez: you have to reread the bill.

Ron Gould:I have.

Alfredo Gutierrez: You have to reread it.

José Cárdenas: I do have some questions. I'll start with you first, senator. I'm looking at it right now, the section on enforcement of immigration law and cooperation of assistance and enforcement of immigration laws. What it says is for any lawful contact. What does that mean?

Ron Gould: Lawful contact is the same standard that we're under now. It means the officer has a reason to suspect that the crime has been committed.

José Cárdenas: There has to be probable cause -- that's what lawful contact means?

Ron Gould: Right.

José Cárdenas: Where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alian, and unlawfully present in the United States. What would constitute reasonable suspicion?

Ron Gould: The fact they didn't have any form of I.D.

José Cárdenas: Well, but that's what actually triggers the ability to make the inquiry so before they have determined that, what would that be?

Ron Gould: Before --

José Cárdenas: what would give you reasonable suspicion somebody is in the United States

Ron Gould: If they didn't have I.D.

José Cárdenas: And that's it?

Ron Gould: Right.

José Cárdenas: What do you do after that?

Ron Gould: Then they're going to have to produce I.D. If they can't, then they're going to have to check with immigration to see whether or not they actually have legal presence in the United States.

José Cárdenas: So in your interpretation of the statute, if you stop somebody for traffic violation or they're jaywalking, and they don't have a driver's license or any other form of I.D. you have to check with immigration regardless of any other factors that may exist that might --

Ron Gould: Generally the officers are going to ask you some questions and he's going to see what's going on, whether you can establish that you actually are -- have legal presence in the United States. If you can't, they're going to check with ice to make sure, to see whether you have legal presence.

José Cárdenas: What would those questions be? We had the experience recently of having sheriff Arpaio and one of his deputies suggest that you you can tell when somebody looks like they're from another country. Because they speak differently, they look differently. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

Ron Gould: Would I assume they're going to use some of, that but they're going ask you a series of questions, they're going to ask you where do you live, where do you work, questions like that.

José Cárdenas: Do you actually they're going to ask those questions of everybody who doesn't have I.D. regardless of how they look?

Ron Gould: I've had those questioned asked of me before.

Alfredo Gutierrez: I think that officers would have to be required to have superman's x-ray vision to be able to do this fairly. The issue is, how do they know? That someone doesn't have papers without asking? And obviously without x-ray vision, the only way you know is by asking. So the next question is, who do you ask? Are you going to ask everyone in Arizona? Let's go back to that Suns game. Everyone who walks into the Suns game? Everyone who walks into the Diamondbacks game? Or does reasonable suspicion constitute something else? Does it constitute having an alien stencil on your forehead? No. It constitutes being a specific race in the state of Arizona.

José Cárdenas: Is some of your concern, you give the been example, ameliorated by senator Gould's point that you there has to be some reason to believe some unlawful contact occurred. Just walking into a Suns game would not provide the base toys make --

Alfredo Gutierrez: I think that is true. This sort of unlawful contact is true for the the harboring provision. In which case that's absolutely true. The harboring provision can't be brought against someone unless there's a corollary crime going on. Some other act is taking place. So one can safely drive your mother to church, assuming your mother's undocumented, and if there's no other crime going on, presumably you're safe. That's not true of the reasonable suspicion law. Contact means you've contacted them lawfully based on reasonable suspicion. The standard reasonable suspicion has to do with an act, a crime. If I steal this cup, there's -- and I walk out the door with it, three there might be a reasonable suspicion that I stole the cup. But the standard, reasonable suspicion for purposes of the status of undocumented has no meaning except if you apply it in ethnic terms. And in Arizona, that doesn't mean there are a -- that means Latino and Hispanics. That's what this bill is aimed to do. The sponsor is quite open about this. And he is talking about making it so uncomfortable we're will going to leave. The sponsor has been quite open about this. Senator -- Sheriff Joe has been quite open about this. So I don't know the reticence of some of the other sponsors are to deal with the clear motivations spoken motivations of the sponsors of this legislation.

Ron Gould: You're still under the fourth amendment of the United States constitution, and you can't be stopped and asked to produce I.D. This codifies federal law into state law. And it doesn't subvert the constitution. The constitution still rules.

Alfredo Gutierrez: Senator, I really suggest you reread this. This subverts completely the constitution.

Ron Gould: I disagree.

Alfredo Gutierrez: In two ways. That's one way it does. By stating you can on the basis of reasonable suspicion, because the crime is the status of a person.

Ron Gould: Reasonable suspicion what we operate under today.

Alfredo Gutierrez: If there is a crime. The crime today is an act --

Ron Gould: It says in the bill -- you can't go after-- immigration is not the primary crime.

Alfredo Gutierrez: there is no act here. But it says in the bill that for harboring, not necessarily --

Ron Gould: When I read it it said --

Alfredo Gutierrez: you need to reread the bill. But let me go to the other point.

Ron Gould: You're entitled your opinion.

Alfredo Gutierrez: The other point is this. What the bill does is vulcanize immigration policies in this country. What we've done is the step over the line and say any state can regulate the status of being undocumented, not an act taken by the undocumented, renting the house. Or getting a job. Not an act. Just simply being. That has been the --

Ron Gould: Being in the state illegally.

José Cárdenas: We've got a lot of ground to cover. We're starting to run out of time. You said that the intent is not immigration enforcement. But that seems to be the only purpose of the provision making it a crime not to have your immigration documents on you.

Ron Gould: The intent is to enforce immigration law. Because the federals choose not to enforce it.

José Cárdenas: Isn't there a preemption issue?

Ron Gould: No.

José Cárdenas: You're making it a violation of state law not to comply with federal law.

Ron Gould: Because we've got mayors in cities that have instructed their officers not check with people on their immigration status and not to turn people over to ice. That's the nexus of this whole bill. We've had mayors that are creating sanctuary cities that -- they've instructed their officers not to enforce law.

José Cárdenas: I'm referring specifically to the provision that says that it's a violation of state law not to have the documents required by federal law.

Ron Gould: Under the not carrying your documents.

José Cárdenas: Yes.

Ron Gould: If you're here legally, you're required to carry those documents.

José Cárdenas: By federal law. So why isn't it a federal issue for the feds to enforce?

Ron Gould: You can still be a state issue too. There's nothing that prohibits us from enforcing federal law.

José Cárdenas: With respect to the point made about driving your mother to church, you're legal, she's not. The way I read this, it actually would -- if you got pulled over for a broken taillight, you could then be subject to arrest for transporting --

Ron Gould: Sure, because you're knowingly harboring an illegal alien.

José Cárdenas: Driving family members is now a criminal violation.

Ron Gould: It would be if you know they're illegal aliens. So would picking up people that you know are illegal aliens for work in other purposes.

José Cárdenas: With respect to the first situation, what does that accomplish? What problem have you remedied by doing that, by making 16-year-olds criminals under this statuate?

Ron Gould: The fact that they're harboring illegal aliens.

José Cárdenas: Because they drive --

Ron Gould: it's not going to be applying to relatives. You're using a standard that is a little bit different. Generally it's going to be work related. They're transporting people to work illegally inside the United States.

José Cárdenas: Is that a concern, the scope of possible application of this?

Alfredo Gutierrez: Absolutely. You simply have to look at all the people currently being picked up in Maricopa County by Arpaio. The intent of this bill is to take Arpaio's method of racially inspired and racial profiling, which he is proud of, brags about, senator Pearce is proud of as well, and apply it and force it upon every community in the state. That's the reason for this. And does that mean women and children, does that mean innocent and does that mean family members --

Ron Gould: They're here in the country illegal wily.

Alfredo Gutierrez: Absolutely.

Ron Gould: They're violating the law by being in the country illegally.

Alfredo Gutierrez: If you're driving your mother to church. And your mother is an illegal alien, if you're driving your mother, you have committed a crime by driving your mother to the state, to the temple, or to the church. There may be in your mind, senator, and in Russell Pearce's mind, some redemptious reason for doing that --

Ron Gould: You know that's not what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do is eliminate people transporting illegal workers.

Alfredo Gutierrez: I know that's --

Ron Gould: we're not going after grandma, we're going after illegal workers.

Alfredo Gutierrez: Arpaio goes after grandma.

Ron Gould: If she's got a bad tail light maybe.

Alfredo Gutierrez: He drag nets on whole neighborhoods. This will allow Joe Arpaio to extend that drag net to make it much more extensive. So that's not --

Ron Gould: The sheriff can do everything that's already in this law.

Alfredo Gutierrez: He can't stop someone on the sidewalk.

--[TALKING AT ONCE] --

José Cárdenas: Hang on, guys. In terms of focus, you've been quoted as saying, in connection with this legislation, essentially we've given up American territory 60 miles from the border, people are living in no man's land, they're being attacked by foreign invaders, they're being killed by drug smugglers, Arizonas needs to do something. That seems to be the real target and if that's the target, why these other aspects of this bill?

Ron Gould: That particular -- what we're talking about there is the fact that border patrol has pulled back 60 miles from the border. You have people that live in that area, and there's no law. Because of that. That's not really -- this issue is another issue. This is more of a jobs issue. And a street crime issue. That's a drug smuggling issue.

José Cárdenas: These were the quotes from the debate on senate bill 1070. If this law were in effect, would it have prevented the murder of the rancher, Robert Krentz?

Ron Gould: This law wouldn't, but if you secured the border, he wouldn't have been murdered.

José Cárdenas: So shouldn't we focus our efforts there, beefing up perhaps security along the border?

Ron Gould: Well we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

José Cárdenas: What does this accomplish?

Ron Gould: This accomplishes -- this is jobs and street crime. We have an unemployment problem, we have illegal aliens that are working inside the United States, and they're taking jobs that Americans should be doing.

José Cárdenas: Are there not some legitimate interests that are being served by this kind of legislation, the concerns about violence and --

Alfredo Gutierrez: No. There is -- there's a huge concern about violence. And it's being fueled by America's drug policy and by Mexico's drug war. Huge concerns. And they particularly affect the Hispanic community. Mr. Krentz was killed, but there have been Hispanics killed, it particularly affects our community. We want this issue of crime resolved.

Ron Gould: Sure.

Alfredo Gutierrez: This goes after grandma. This goes after -- this is the worst act of racial profiling that I think we've had in this country since the Japanese internment act. It simply will allow the 900 police officers that Arpaio controls and will extend that across the state. So that you can focus on the illegal act that the senator keeps talking about. The illegal act is being brown. That's the illegal act.

Ron Gould: That's not what I'm talking were and you know that.

Alfredo Gutierrez: You asked about this and have you -- if you have papers, the brown person can go forward. The brown person does not. You're going to jail. There is no bail --

Ron Gould: you're not reading the bill, you're spinning. You're spinning to your --

Alfredo Gutierrez: it's apparent to me --

Ron Gould: you need to get back to the bill.

Let me ask you -- [TALKING AT ONCE]

José Cárdenas: The concerns expressed by most police chiefs --

Ron Gould: They're political appointees of mayors of amnesty cities. The rank and file police officers, DPS, the boardser patrol, they all support. This -- the boots on the streets support this. The political appointees don't support it because they're political appointees.

José Cárdenas: We've got less than a minute left. Quick predictions from each of you as to whether the governor signs this or just lets it become law?

Alfredo Gutierrez: I believe the governor is going to sign it and I believe this is going to lead to major civil disobedience in the state of Arizona.

Ron Gould: She'll sign it.

José Cárdenas: Thank you both for joining us.

Both: Thank you.

Ron Gould:State Senator;Alfredo Guiterrez:Editor of lafronteratimes.com;

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Earth Day Challenge graphic with the Arizona PBS logo and an illustration of the earth

Help us meet the Earth Day Challenge!

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 12

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

The Capital building with text reading: Circle on Circle: Robert Lowell's D.C.
May 2

An evening with ‘Poetry in America’

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: