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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Letters - The Arizona Immigration Law, and Its Discontents -

Letters - The Arizona Immigration Law, and Its Discontents - Re “Why Arizona Drew a Line,” by Kris W. Kobach (Op-Ed, April 29), defending the Arizona immigration law:

While it is true that federal law requires noncitizens to carry immigration documents, this is almost never enforced or prosecuted. What’s more, it’s a far different story to permit federal officials to punish a noncitizen for failure to carry immigration documents and for state and local officials to do the same. Immigration regulation is a federal function.

I find it disingenuous to cite a hypothetical of 12 nervous, shifty-eyed passengers crammed into a minivan being stopped by the police for speeding as being the typical case in which the Arizona police will inquire into a person’s immigration status.

What about the case of two young males wearing sombreros speaking in Spanish in front of a convenience store, or three poorly dressed Spanish-speaking women sitting together at a cafe? Are we really to believe that Arizona’s police officers are not going to make inquiries in those situations?

This law isn’t good immigration enforcement; it’s an invitation to flagrant abuse of the civil rights of anyone caught in its web, including American citizens, permanent residents and applicants for asylum or another lawful status.

Theodore Ruthizer
New York, April 29, 2010

The writer, a lawyer who works on business immigration matters and a lecturer at Columbia Law School, is a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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