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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


SB 1070 raises concerns on UA campus

Almost two weeks after being signed into effect, people are questioning the enforceability of SB 1070’s “papers, please” provision without racially profiling. Four sections of the bill were challenged at the federal court on preemptive grounds and only the “papers, please” provision was upheld by the court. Law professors said the law has been further challenged on the grounds of racial profiling. The ruling will be based on facts now that the law has gone into effect.

Enforcement of SB 1070 now mandated by the state

In order to properly implement the law, officers are required to go through training by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

According to Sgt. Juan Alvarez, the public information officer for the University of Arizona Police Department, all UAPD officers have received proper training and will be enforcing Subsection 2B of SB 1070.

“UAPD has established policies to ensure the fair and impartial enforcement of the law,” Alvarez said. “Basically the training you receive is to make sure that we follow the provisions of the law and that’s what we’re going to follow.”

Andy Silverman, a UA immigration law professor emeritus, pointed out that officers will have flexibility in enforcement because of certain language in the law. The law states that it is to be enforced “when applicable” and shouldn’t be enforced if it may “hinder an investigation.”

“Yes, the law is there, but it can be enforced in various ways where it might not have an impact,” Silverman said. “It depends how liberally they interpret that phrase or that provision.”

Silverman added that the question now is whether officers can have “reasonable suspicion,” as the law states, without racially profiling.

“I think eventually it might be found to be unconstitutional,” Silverman said.

Racial profiling an exception for immigration enforcement

While many people believe racial profiling is unconstitutional, Gabriel Chin, a legal scholar and law professor at University of California Davis, said the U.S. and the Arizona constitutions have made exceptions for immigration enforcement.

According to Chin, both constitutions state that race can be taken into account to decide if “there’s reasonable suspicion to stop somebody on the grounds that they are undocumented.”

“The way the Supreme Court has put it is that apparent Mexican ancestry is a factor that can be considered to determining whether somebody has unlawfully crossed into the United States,” Chin said.

The federal court ruling stated that Subsection 2B of SB 1070 did not conflict with any federal laws. The question of whether it can be applied without racial profiling or whether racial profiling is illegal in these circumstances has yet to be determined by the courts.

Omar Vasquez, a UA law student and Student Bar Association representative in the executive board of the Latino Law Student Association, questioned the ability of officers to enforce the law without racially profiling when deciding if there’s reasonable suspicion that someone is undocumented.

“If you’re not going to use race, how can you tell by looking at somebody that they’re an undocumented immigrant?” Vasquez said. “Their clothes? What kind of car they’re driving? That’s the challenge behind it.”

The general idea that discrimination on the basis of race is unconstitutional is what leads most to believe that racial profiling is against the law, Chin said. But SB 1070 states “you can’t take it into account except to the extent permitted by the U.S. or Arizona constitution,” he said.

Economic and political effects

The law states that its purpose is to “discourage and deter” people from entering the country unlawfully. While some believe it will be effective, others say the law won’t really deter illegal immigration in Arizona.

Silverman said the law is already working and has been since 2010, because it has created an unwelcoming political climate for immigrants and Hispanics regardless of their legal status. The Tucson City Council has tried to address this issue by saying that Tucson welcomes immigrants into the community.

Arizona’s economy has been affected by the law, according to Silverman, because groups may have decided not to hold conferences in Arizona due to SB 1070 and entrepreneurs may have ruled Arizona out as a possible place to start, expand or relocate their business.

“Economically it has had an effect and may continue to have an effect,” Silverman said. “Clearly it has created fear among non-citizens who live here or even citizens of color.”

Vasquez said the law is just a scapegoat to Arizona’s real problems which he listed as the economy, education and employment. Arizona’s failure to invest in its public infrastructures, deregulation and tax cuts have led to a shrinking middle class and flat wages, he said.

Undocumented workers are taking jobs in agriculture, janitorial jobs and jobs that most Americans don’t apply for, he added.

“I’m not competing with illegal immigrants to be a lawyer,” Vasquez said. “Illegal immigrants are not coming into this country and ‘stealing’ my lawyer jobs.”

Vasquez added that officers will not be able to properly execute SB 1070, that the law won’t fix any of Arizona’s problems and that it’s just a distraction for Arizona voters to side with Republicans.

“If this is a bill to prevent illegal immigration it’s not doing that,” Vasquez said. “It’s not preventing people from immigrating into the country illegally. It’s not realistic to think that this law is going to suddenly remove all undocumented persons from the state of Arizona.”

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