Police In Middle On AZ Immigration Law; Cop Files Suit Against It


Arizona’s controversial immigration law is almost certain to transform how police officers there do their job, says the Washington Post. “We’re way too busy,” said one Tucson cop of the law’s requirement that police officers question anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. “We don’t have enough officers on the street to look for [] stuff like that.” Supporters view the law as a common-sense tactic to drive away some of the state’s estimated 450,000 illegal immigrants and deter others from coming. Opponents foresee harassment, racial profiling and fear. The police find themselves in the middle.

“We are in a tenuous position as law enforcement,” said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said, noting that the law allows citizens to sue police agencies that do not enforce it. “No matter which way we go, there are lawsuits in the wings. The ones who are going to get beaten up on this most are the law enforcement agencies.” Although some police groups have endorsed the law, a Tucson patrolman yesterday sued Arizona to block it. Martin Escobar argued that enforcing the law would impede criminal investigations and violate the U.S. Constitution. A Latino religious consortium also filed suit, while national civil liberties organizations prepared a separate challenge, and the Justice Department continued to consider one. An array of opponents pushed for an economic boycott of the state and planned nationwide protests tomorrow, even as politicians in several other states called for similar laws.

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