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Arizona immigration court ruling right for now


Mario Tama, Getty Images

The ruling to block parts of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect for the time being by Federal Judge Susan Bolton, was the right one. Really, Bolton had little choice but to force both sides to take a closer look at the issue and give the courts more time to delve deeper into what these provisions mean. Key among them was the requirement for Arizona law enforcement officers to check for documented evidence that the person they were stopping was not an illegal alien. The entire description is back wards to the constitution. It pushes for exclusion and not inclusion which is one of the primary factors in the Bill of Rights.

"Considering the substantial complexity in determining whether a particular public offense makes an alien removable from the United States and the fact that this determination is ultimately made by federal judges, there is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]," Bolton wrote. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."

In other words the requirement for "papers" brings to mind what you have seen in every movie about Nazi Germany and it doesn't matter if we've seen it on film or experienced it, the thought was planted in our minds many years ago. Basically if this controversial portion of the law would have gone into effect anyone who is brown in color, legal or not, would by law have been asked for documentation. Imagine Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor driving down a dark road in Tucson and getting pulled over for doing 45 miles per hour is a 35 mile zone. The officer would have to ask her for her papers.

Now look at the photo at the top of this column of this particular columnist. Put me in the same situation and there is no way I get asked. That is unless of course I answer the officer speaking in German, Dutch or Italian and not English. The United States, including the great state of Arizona, is not South Africa 1985. This portion of the law, while not going that far, leans more toward Apartheid than it does the Bill of Rights.

Judge Bolton had no choice. She had to make the decision she made which was basically to delay the implementation of these controversial portions of the law. The issue will go to the Supreme Court before it is over. It doesn't matter if you believe in amnesty or "keep the beggars out," what matters is the key portion of the law is flawed and reactionary, and reactionary law is never good law.


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