As the effective date of Arizona’s new immigration law nears, new concerns are being raised by municipal officials about how to enforce it without creating a legal and financial quagmire, reports the Arizona Republic. At a public forum yesterday, two mayors said the law could boomerang on its authors by actually reducing immigration enforcement because of its rigid legal requirements.
Phoenix’s Police Chief Jack Harris estimated enforcement could cost Phoenix as much as $10 million annually in jail bookings forced by the law. Th measure makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. It says an officer engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest shall, when practicable, ask about a person’s legal status when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally. Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the law would complicate their cities’ arrest procedures by elevating an immigration violation from a civil to a criminal offense. That may require suspects to be read their Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent when questioned by police and the right to a defense lawyer.