Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964, the nation ended state-sanctioned racial segregation, Jim Crow laws, and Black Codes. It was a sweeping rejection of America's shameful past of slavery and segregation.
Today, the Accidental Governor, in an act of supreme political cowardice — her motivation is her fear of the far-right in her own GOP gubernatorial primary — empowered the GOP Taliban of the Arizona Legislature to turn back the clock to the 1950's. Gov. Jan Brewer signed Sen. Russell Pearce's anti-immigrant bill into law instituting a new era of Arizona Apartheid.
American citizens can now be stopped and questioned by Arizona law enforcement for "reasonable suspicion" (always a question of fact subject to interpretation) that they are illegally in the United States. You must present proof of citizenship, and if you do not, you can be arrested for failure to present proof of citizenship.
If law enforcement does not do these immigration stops to the satisfaction of the GOP Taliban, law enforcement agencies themselves can be sued under the new law, despite the fact that the new law is an unfunded mandate that does not provide for any additional funding to local law enforcement agencies. (In fact, the GOP state budget has reduced revenue sharing to county and city governments. Local law enforcement agencies now have an additional burden with less money to perform their duties).
Despite claims to the contrary, this will only lead to unlawful racial profiling and racial discrimination. This is lawsuits waiting to happen. And they will.
Anyone who is not an Anglo, English speaking individual is potentially a victim of unlawful racial profiling and racial discrimination. And it is not limited to "illegal immigrants" from Mexico. We have immigrants from every country in the World in Arizona, from countries in Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Anyone of color or "foreign" appearance, or who does not speak English or who speaks English with a "foreign" accent is potentially a victim of unlawful racial profiling and racial discrimination. Arizonans will be turning in neighbors, coworkers and others they encounter on "suspicion" that someone may be an illegal immigrant to law enforcement.
Many will be U.S. citizens, or naturalized citizens, or documented permanent residents, or documented guest workers or students. Many will be lawful foreign tourists.
We are told that we can trust law enforcement not to abuse their new discretionary authority. This flies in the face of our national history and experience, and human nature.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is already under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and FBI for unlawful racial profiling in immigration sweeps. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Arpaio can be trusted to act in good faith and in compliance with federal law and judicial precedents regarding unlawful racial profiling and racial discrimination.
I have said many times that this Republican Arizona Legislature and Governor are without comparison the most incompetent and worst failures in the history of the state of Arizona. Today the GOP Taliban has solidified its position as the worst legislature in Arizona history.
This is a shameful day in Arizona history.