May
6th 2010
Arizona’s Fugitive Immigrant Act of 2010

Posted under: American history, race, unhappy endings, wankers

We here at the Hell’s Half-Acre Ranch have been following avidly the alternately sarcastic and disbelieving commentary on what I call Arizona’s Fugitive Immigrant Act (SB 1070) by GayProf at Center of Gravitas and Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft over the past few weeks.  Yes, this is the law that gives state and local law enforcement in Arizona to apprehend and detain anyone suspected of being an “illegal” immigrant, and makes it a crime not to carry one’s freedom papersimmigration documents or proof of U.S. citizenship.  This linky round-up is overdue, so I’ll pass along some highlights:

Total effing Farb Fest

Ugh.  Enough with the Civil War legislative re-enactments already, people!  The U.S. Constitution applies to all people in the U.S., not just citizens of the U.S.  Why do some Arizonans hate the Constitution?  Why do they hate the values of our “Founding Fathers?”  Why do they hate America?

29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Arizona’s Fugitive Immigrant Act of 2010”

  1. Perpetua on 06 May 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Don’t forget the separate move by the Arizona legislature to ban ethnic studies classes, because creating “solidarity” among ethnic minorities instead of treating everyone as “individuals” is WRONG:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/arizona-ethnic-studies-cl_n_558731.html

    This whole thing is sickening. But I do have one question – it’s never been made clear to me what constitutes proof of citizenship? Are Arizona citizens now required to carry around their birth certificates? Legal permanent residents have green cards of course, and perhaps naturalized citizens have some kind of paper (I’ll find out soon, my partner just became a naturalized citizen), but native-born Americans of course don’t walk around with anything; we have no national ID card and most Americans don’t have passports. So how would one *prove* one’s citizenship?

  2. rootlesscosmo on 06 May 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Until the Tequila Gimlet recipe is revealed, there’s always my own confection, the Tequila Sunset:

    4 oz. Jose Cuervo
    8 Seconal
    lime wedge

  3. Indyanna on 06 May 2010 at 7:12 am #

    In finals today so will have to read the links later. But my preliminary draft proposal for a constitutional revision below:

    All states that were:

    a) not represented at either the First or the Second Continental Congresses

    OR

    b) have ever been REadmitted to the Union,

    would be

    Subject to re-territorialization [procedural details to follow]. Their governments would be reconstructed, with re (and in some cases RE-re-)admission to follow with all due speed. (this latter phase/phrase suggests that this process might take some time). These post-1790 states have clearly been in some cases dilatory in getting up to speed on the actual founding principles.

    And, hey, what about Joe Lieberman’s proposal to strip terrorism SUSPECTS of citizenship, to give the authorities more breathing room in carrying out their job descriptions? Wow. Way to go, Joe…

  4. GayProf on 06 May 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Special bonus trivia for Historiann: I didn’t mention in my first post that Arizona was supposed to be admitted as a state at the same time as New Mexico. The fine people of Arizona, however, opted to hold off on admission so that it could coincide with the fifty-year commemoration of the Confederate invasion of New Mexico. They really have never been a subtle crew.

  5. Historiann on 06 May 2010 at 8:17 am #

    GayProf: Awesome! And totally farbtastic. These lost causers really give the rest of us Westerners a bad name, and that really chaps my a$$.

    I have been heartened by the pushback in recent days by municipalities in Arizona, namely Tucson and Flagstaff. Tucson, especially, as a university town and a border town, has a lot to lose on the Fugitive Immmigrant Act. (Here’s a shout-out to all of you fans at the University of Arizona and ASU! What the heck is going on down there? We’d love to hear from you.)

    rootlesscosmo: now that’s my kind of a drink! Except, maybe I’m not its target consumer, since I managed to fall asleep at NINE P.M last night without chemical assistance. (What’s with me? I’m sleeping like a 4-year old these days.)

  6. Historiann on 06 May 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Indyanna wrote, “And, hey, what about Joe Lieberman’s proposal to strip terrorism SUSPECTS of citizenship, to give the authorities more breathing room in carrying out their job descriptions? Wow. Way to go, Joe…

    Just because I don’t take Joe Lieberman seriously doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. But then, Joe is looking now for votes under rocks, so you can’t really wonder why he’s courting the Lost Causer vote. What a disgrace. Al Gore must look back with some relief that this tool wasn’t VP in 2001 after all.

  7. thefrogprincess on 06 May 2010 at 11:37 am #

    I’ve been so disheartened about the state of our country over the last few days. To add to the Lieberman debacle, let’s remember how Rep. Peter King’s questioning of why Shahzad was read his Miranda rights (before and after which he continued to talk) ended with the following: “I know he’s an American citizen, but still.”

    Wow.

    Let’s leave aside the fact that Miranda is not about citizenship, talk about the enormous bag of worms opened up by that “but still.” I guess all of us people of color and soon women should start to be more cautious because that “but still” leaves us open to all manner of prosecution just ’cause.

    I wrote something on my blog last week with the same question as Perpetua. What exactly is a document that proves citizenship? Passports? Most Americans don’t have one. Drivers’ licenses? Yeah, it’s a proof of legality, except that teenagers have been forging and swapping them to buy booze for decades. Still unclear how people can be asked to carry and produce documents when very few of us are carrying around documents that are sufficient proof.

  8. Perpetua on 06 May 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    @tfp: and driver’s licenses can’t “count” as proof of citizenship because legal resident aliens carry them, and different states have different standards as to who can get them (ie “illegals” can get them in some states). I had this explained to me in great detail by a very rude custom’s officer at the border once when he was berating me for not bringing my passport (before the law requiring one).

    There’s something kind of funny about the same political groups who have acted like a national ID card is a communist plot suddenly getting obsessed with “everyone” carrying around “papers”. It’s absolutely astounding that a law like this could pass without any provision whatsoever defining proof of citizenship or how one is supposed to produce it (besides by having the correct skin color, of course).

  9. Unhappy (Temporary) Arizonan on 06 May 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Hey Historiann,
    I’m a history graduate student at one of Arizona’s research universities, and I can assure you that we are not happy about that at all. We’re already starting to see some results from the boycotts. The legislature has already made some changes to the law… mostly cosmetic but at least it shows that the public scrutiny is getting to the b*stards.
    U of A has been quite clear about its uncomfortableness about the law, ASU’s President (Michael Crow) published an open letter to Brewer urging her not to sign it, and both schools have essentially said that they are not enforcing the new law on their campuses. I know of at least 5 future panels, articles and the like that are already being prepared by faculty decrying the new law.
    Finally, as far as students go, many of my peers are up in arms and in the midst of intense letter writing/protesting/tearing out hair out campaigns that will continue over the summer.
    While the boycotts are effective, they sometimes can be counterproductive. I know that some of my fellow graduate students (as well as faculty mentors) are involved with some conferences that are in AZ. Many of those are in jeopardy because academic departments don’t want to send their faculty down here. I just hope that people can be smart about their boycotting and recognize that not all of us are not wild-eyed pseudo-libertarians.
    Well, that’s my rather incoherent rant for now. Back to preparing for comps…

  10. Emma on 06 May 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    In another brilliant move, “[t]he Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.” Big Tent Democrat asks, “Does the State of Arizona employ any attorneys? . . . This is simply illegal. Someone in Arizona may want to review Title VII. And Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Laws. The geniuses running Arizona seem intent on bankrupting the state.”

    Actually, BTD is wrong it’s not “simply illegal”. In fact, the policy itself is very likely legal. And, even if illegally implemented in individual cases, because of the way it’s structured it’s going to be very difficult — if not impossible — for individuals to bring lawsuits.

    Also, according to the NY Times, aliens here on visas and whatnot are already required by Federal law to keep their papers on them at all times.

    It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers … you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.

    Here’s the Federal law:

    (e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties
    Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    None of this is to express my opinion about the rightness/wrongess of AZ’s laws. It’s to give information.

    Regardless of the assumed motivations behind the laws, the laws themselves are very likely legally sound.

  11. Emma on 06 May 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    Oops. This:

    It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers … you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.

    Is from the NY Times op-ed, not me.

  12. Benito on 06 May 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

  13. Perpetua on 06 May 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    @ Emma: Yes, that’s true. As I mentioned above my partner was for a long time a legal resident alien and had to carry his “green” card with him everywhere. But the other side of the Arizona law is – what about *citizens* who are being harassed? Since there’s no legal requirement that a citizen carry papers (and no “papers” for hir to carry) this law opens the door to the endless harassment of citizens of color, in addition of course to terrorizing illegal residents/ legal residents who happen to forget their card that day.

  14. Emma on 06 May 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    But the other side of the Arizona law is – what about *citizens* who are being harassed? Since there’s no legal requirement that a citizen carry papers…this law opens the door to the endless harassment of citizens of color, in addition of course to terrorizing illegal residents/ legal residents who happen to forget their card that day.

    Yes, it’s a concern, as is any racial profiling in enforcing any law. I don’t know that this law legitimizes racial profiling or makes it any more prevalent. I know that people are upset because they believe that is the intent of the law. I think that’s probably the intent of the law, too.

    I think it’s probably the intent of the school rule re: accent etc. to get spanish-speaking teachers (i.e. hispanic teachers) out of teaching positions. I also think that the school rule will have more deleterious and far-reaching effects than the id law, exactly because it’s completely legal on its face. But, since it’s women who are primarily affected (honestly, who teaches most elementary school students?) I think less people give a crap about it.

    In 15-20 years, the id law will be gone, but the teacher rule will have blossomed into a native-speaker exception to Title VII for teaching positions. And everybody will wonder how it happened. But I’ll know. And, if you listen to me, you’ll know, too.

  15. Emma on 06 May 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    But I do have one question – it’s never been made clear to me what constitutes proof of citizenship?

    From the NY Times op-ed:

    Arizona’s law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driver’s license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country.

    Driver’s licenses, I guess. Also, U.S. citizens have social security cards. I carry mine with me (for no real reason, actually). I would think a social security card could be proof that one is not an illegal alien.

    Again, this isn’t meant to say there isn’t a problem, but to respond to the specific question.

  16. Historiann on 06 May 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    I think anyone crossing the Arizona border should present a passport.

    Thanks to everyone for carrying on in my absence–Emma, Perpetua, Benito, and Unhappy (Temporary) Arizonan.

  17. Indyanna on 06 May 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    I read in an op-ed in the NYT yesterday that people who decline to be facially visible in public places are guilty of “refus[ing] to exist,” which is apparently about to be made a crime in France. How that philosophical position would intersect with issues around sight-impaired people is something I’d hardly want to contemplate. And I guess then hermits or recluses would have to be hauled in for withdrawing or withholding their obligated vibe from the existentially-existent majority culture. I’m starting to think “new planet,” time machine, or some combination of both.

  18. Shane on 06 May 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    @Perpetua: I just left the following comment at thefrogprincess’s blog, on her question about what proves US citizenship, but I’m reproducing it here:

    Your guess that most US-born people can’t prove their citizenship at the drop of a hat is undoubtedly truer than anyone wants to think about.

    A “document that proves citizenship” is, for US-born citizens (or kids of citizen parents born abroad), a birth certificate and nothing else. It’s the core document, because we’re one of the few nations in the world with a birthright-citizenship system, and the rest of our own individual paper trails start with it.

    My dissertation is a history of birth certificates and birth registration in the US, so of course I think they’re important, but most people don’t realize how recently Americans developed the assumption that any US-born citizen ought to be able to prove that fact on paper.

    As recently as the early 1940s, 1/3 of working age US-born citizens just didn’t have one, anywhere. The short answer on why: federalism. Arizona took until 1926 to build a birth registration system good enough to catch anywhere close to 90% of each year’s births; New Mexico hit the 90% mark in 1929, and Texas in 1933. For most of the 20th century, US-born people who wanted to file for Social Security old-age pensions couldn’t reliably be expected to have government-issued birth certificates. Historically, the people whose births on US soil have been least likely to be recorded have been rural people, particularly if they weren’t white and English-speaking, and particularly if they were born in the Southeast or Southwest.

    The US is busy building systems that assume that our own recordkeeping about birthright citizens is flawless, but it isn’t (and the farther back in time you look, the worse it was). Even US-born citizens have trouble with the new(ish) Medicaid requirements for citizenship proof… not to mention the 4.1 million people with US birth certificates who are about to be up a creek without a paddle birth certificate because they were born in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico just declared all its previously-issued birth certificates invalid… because of concerns that noncitizens with Latino last names were using Puerto Rican birth certificates fraudulently.

    Oh, and since many readers here are presumably interested in women’s history: there’s a whole historical subplot about the importance of parteras/midwives in the rural Southwest and about how long it took Anglo public health officials to start doing Spanish-language outreach about the importance of filing birth certificates for deliveries. Lately, many of the birth certificates those midwives signed for their deliveries simply aren’t being treated as legitimate by US border officials. Particularly in Texas, there’s an ongoing legal furor about this.

  19. Paul S. on 06 May 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I agree that it’s an ugly law, but it actually surprises me that a law like this wasn’t passed by at least one of the states bordering Mexico a long time ago. There’s always been a lot of hostility in the USA against even legal immigrants, and even more against illegal immigrants. The fact that almost everyone is descended from an immigrant of the last few centuries doesn’t diminish that hostility one bit – if anything, it strengthens it. As Emma pointed out, this law really just reinforces a long-existing and perfectly legal federal law, and every sovereign nation has the right to determine who can immigrate and who can not unless it voluntarily waives that right.

  20. Indyanna on 06 May 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    @ Paul S. Just wondering, but what’s the source or authority for these sovereign nation’s “rights” to so determine? Beyond the mere ability to, which will be very variable across the globe. Nature? Nature’s god? What’s the primum mobile here?

  21. Paul S. on 06 May 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    @ Paul S. Just wondering, but what’s the source or authority for these sovereign nation’s “rights” to so determine? Beyond the mere ability to, which will be very variable across the globe. Nature? Nature’s god? What’s the primum mobile here?

    Basically a few centuries of standard practice and the fact that nobody’s been able to come up with anything better. It may not be much from a theoretical point of view, but it’s probably about the best one can get in the messiness of actual practice.

  22. AsstProf on 07 May 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    @ Emma: This op-ed you are so extensively quoting from as if it was written by the NY Times editorial board was written by John Ashcroft’s right wing hack of a legal advisor. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/opinion/29kobach.html) Let’s stop pretending his word is THE TRUTH. If such a law is indeed on the books, give me a cite other than said hack.

    I was born in Canada, taught in public schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and now live near the Canadian border, so I’ve interacted with all kinds of immigrants (documented and undocumented) and happen to be one. I have never heard of ONE person being arrested for this supposed crime in my 20+ years in the U.S. If it was a crime to not carry one’s papers with one at all times, then it is like the laws against sodomy that were extant until Bowers v. Hardwick. That is, rarely enforced, but something we need to get rid of, because they can be used to terrorize entire communities with the possibility of arrest.

  23. Emma on 08 May 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I understand what I’m quoting from. Again, I never said I endorse the viewpoint, just that it purports to answer questions raised in the comments here.

    Also, I quoted from the Federal statute which requires resident aliens to carry certain documents with them at all times and makes it a misdemeanor to not carry those documents.

    Again, here’s the Federal law that’s been on the books since the 1940s:

    (e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties
    Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    So, yes, the law is on the books, as my repeated quotation of it shows.

    Please don’t spend any time trying to make me out to be a right-wing hack. I’m not interested in those types of BS comment wars.

    Frankly, the (mostly uninformed) outrage will probably mean that this law is repealed. That will be fine with me, because, as I said above, I think the law is motivated by bad intent.

    But the public’s and media’s addiction to outrage politics, at the expense of actual information, means that a much more dangerous law will remain on the books and will, IMO, find fertile and unprotected ground in which to expand. In 15 years, when Title VII no longer protects teachers who aren’t native english speakers, you can trace that back to this moment, when you were more interested in being outraged and taking me down in blog comments than you were in being informed and thoughtful about what is being done.

    For a blog populated mostly by persons who make their living teaching, I find the lack of attention to the school’s actions very, very puzzling. But, again, it’s mostly women who teach in primary schools, so whatev, I guess.

  24. AsstProf on 08 May 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Sorry for not reading your initial post carefully enough and thanks for the citation.

  25. anon on 09 May 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    this law really just reinforces a long-existing and perfectly legal federal law

    No, this is false. It’s possible to believe this only if one accepts, verbatim, every word of the hack op-ed by SB1070′s own hack drafter.

    Luckily, most thinking people do not seem to be getting their information about the contents and effect of the bill from the hate-group-connected anti-immigrant activist who wrote it (deliberately intending to expand police powers in a way that is currently unconstitutional).

    SB1070 CERTAINLY does NOT simply lay AZ state law over the top of existing federal law. It is dangerous and unprecedented.

    Currently (only since 2004′s Hiibel, and only by a 5-4 split in the Supreme Court), if you are suspected of having just committed, or being about to commit, a crime, the police MAY detain you until you identify yourself (IF a state statute provides for their ability to “stop-and-identify”) — BUT the meaning of this is strictly limited to providing your NAME.

    Not paperwork, not date or place of birth, not a social security number. Simply your name. That is ALL you are required to provide, until police have a warrant to search or arrest you, or probable cause sufficient to support one. Currently, United States citizens cannot be required to carry papers around with them.

    This law effectively changes that. That is not a bug, it is a feature.

    Characterizing this law as somehow “less” dangerous in order to move on to critiquing the teacher rule is entirely unnecessary and misguided.

  26. Emma on 09 May 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    United States citizens cannot be required to carry papers around with them.

    And the law doesn’t require them to do that now.

    This law effectively changes that. That is not a bug, it is a feature.

    This is an “as applied” argument that won’t become true until the law is applied in the way you envision.

    Characterizing this law as somehow “less” dangerous in order to move on to critiquing the teacher rule is entirely unnecessary and misguided.

    It is less dangerous because the outcry over it will make it go away. Thus, its ability to work the changes you envision through it’s application will be cut off at the knees. Since no such outcry is threatening the teacher rule, that rule will continue and expand.

    Neither law is illegal on its face. That’s the genius of them. They may be illegal as applied, but challenges to the teacher law will be few and far between because of the genius with which the rule was crafted.

    You can be as insulting as you want. It doesn’t change the facts or the reality.

  27. Emma on 09 May 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Again, this: this law really just reinforces a long-existing and perfectly legal federal law is not a position I took or one I endorsed as correct. If you read my comments, you will see they are narrow and meant only to address specific issues.

  28. Benito on 12 May 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    “All Men are created equal”! The founders had it right, when attempting to form a perfect union and they also knew that they were not there yet but knew we one day would get there. Lincoln moved us forward as did JFK and LBJ. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

    It is my contention that this AZ law is not constitutional and will fail when challenged (unless they add more amendments), pretty funny for this so called perfect law.

  29. Gone fishin’ : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 27 May 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    [...] Justice and current cowgirl Sandra Day O’Connor shares some horse senseon Elena Kagan, Arizona’s Fugitive Immigrant Act, and taking criticism from the President at the State of the Union [...]