If your attention has been focused elsewhere this week--say, on cut-up and sewn-together joints, as mine has--you may have missed the news that a federal judge put the kibosh on several provisions of Arizona's new immigration law, specifically, the parts requiring cops to double as immigration agents and demand papers from anyone they stop who they think might be here illegally. A lot of people saw some very big red flags snapping in that breeze, and so, too, did judge Susan Bolton.
The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents. Sections barred from being enforced include:
• Requiring a police officer to make a reasonable attempt to check the immigration status of those they have stopped;
• Forbidding police from releasing anyone they have arrested until that person's immigration status is determined;
• Making it a violation of Arizona law for anyone not a citizen to fail to carry documentation;
• Creating a new state crime for trying to secure work while not a legal resident;
• Allowing police to make warrantless arrests if there is a belief the person has committed an offense that allows them to be removed from the United States.
"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked," U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled.
The predictable response reared its head, right on schedule.
The federal judge who halted parts of Arizona's immigration law is getting "thousands" of e-mails and phone calls, many in opposition to her ruling - and a few threatening her life.
A guy I play soccer with did not threaten the judge, but did post a status update on his Facebook asking if Bolton would give him back the $5000 he paid to go through the immigration/citizenship process when he came here from Greece. Another soccer acquaintance, this one from Poland, chimed in and said she'd like her 5k back too. Both said they don't see anything racist about SB1070 as it stands, and don't know why the hispanics think it's just targeting them instead of the Greeks and Poles and Chinese, and the Greek guy said he wouldn't mind carrying his passport and being questioned by a cop every day if that's what it takes to stop illegal immigration.
I try to avoid this kind of discussion on Facebook, so I did not post a response pointing out that (1) SB1070 has absolutely nothing to do with the legal citizenship process and thus isn't handing out fee waivers to every dehydrated Guanajuate who stumbles across the border, (2) the reason the Greek guy and Polish girl had the opportunity to fork over five grand and be welcomed with open arms in the first place is because (a) they came from countries whose quotas aren't filled and oh yeah (b) are, respectively, a software engineer and a cardiac nurse, not the (c) unskilled laborers from Latin America who would find themselves on a citizenship waiting list several generations long, and (3) if the Greek and Polish underclasses could walk here instead of having to pay for a boat or plane ride, it wouldn't just be the Mexicans and Salvadorans feeling like they have a target on their backs.
The Greek guy's wife is having a baby any day now. I wonder if Yorgos would always remember to take his passport and naturalization papers with him on the inevitable 2 a.m. runs to Walgreen's when the baby has a fever and he might not stay under the speed limit or come to a complete stop at every sign before turning. I wonder how excited he would be then to cooperate with a cop who thinks his skintone, beard, and accent mean he's not supposed to be here. I don't know why he doesn't think this could have happened to him, or why he thinks he would welcome the impingement of the freedom he shelled out all that cash to have. It's moot in any case, since Bolton's ruling ensures that he won't be faced with that situation, but I almost wish it wasn't. Because lots of shit sounds like it's a good idea, or would at least be tolerable, until it actually happens to you.