Correspondence between lawyer Kris Kobach and Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) suggests that Arizona’s new immigration law, conceived in the nation’s capital, was intended to hit poor Latinos the hardest.
Kobach, an attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, has been a key player behind the scenes on one of the country’s most controversial immigration “fixes.” In a recent Think Progress exclusive, readers got a glimpse of an email from Kobach to Sen. Pearce dated April 28.
When we drop out “lawful contact” and replace it with “a stop, detention, or rest, in the enforcement a violation of any title or section of the Arizona code” we need to add “or any county or municipal ordinance.” This will allow police to use violations of property codes (ie. cars on blocks in the yard) or rental codes (too many occupants of a rental accommodation) to initiate queries as well.
Arizona lawmakers updated their law April 29, responding to nationwide criticism.
According to Thing Progress, one of those changes replaces the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Å“lawful contactÃ¢â‚¬Â with Ã¢â‚¬Å“lawful stop, detention or arrestÃ¢â‚¬Â to Ã¢â‚¬Å“apparently clarify that officers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Pearce said the intent is to clarify that “this bill prohibits racial profiling in any form.” Opponents pointed out the word “solely” could allow officers to base their reasonable suspicion on race and color as long as it wasn’t just one of them.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) said the bill is more clear because of those two changes, but she called the third change, regarding county and city ordinances, “frightening.”
Andrea Nill of Think Progress concludes:
More importantly, Kobach is basically admitting to Pearce that by allowing police to use the violation of Ã¢â‚¬Å“any county or municipal ordinanceÃ¢â‚¬Â as a basis for inquiring about a personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s immigration status, the bill will still cast a wide enough net to help offset the effect of omitting the Ã¢â‚¬Å“lawful contactÃ¢â‚¬Â language which wouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve allowed police to ask just about anyone they encounter about their immigration status. The examples Kobach provides, Ã¢â‚¬Å“cars on blocks in the yardÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“too many occupants of a rental accommodation,Ã¢â‚¬Â suggest that net will mostly end up being cast over the poor.