Lori M. Schiefen: Learning from our mistakes
Everyone should be offended by the new anti-immigration law in Arizona. Not just Latinos and Latino supporters.
Here is an excerpt of the relevant law for those not familiar:
“For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.”
I must say this is a tricky little piece of legislation. Am I the only person who sees this as an open ticket to stop any person (regardless of skin color) at any time or any place for any reason? What gives rise to a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an “alien who is unlawfully present?” Is there a guideline for law enforcement ?
In my opinion, the best way to make this determination is to watch what people are doing and not just make assumptions based on what they look like. Did we all forget 9/11? After that tragedy, everyone with brown skin or funny headwear was considered a “terrorist,” and things just got ugly. So in the interest of keeping history from repeating itself, we would be much better off to look for behavioral signs. That will keep race out of it, and I am certain it will have more success in rounding up phantom enemies than just making contact based on looks. I mean really, that is so last century.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not one to turn a blind eye to our country’s problems. Au contraire, my friend. I am suspicious of a lot of people. Luckily, my dad sends me around 10 e-mails a day regarding people he thinks are un-American and that have socialist agendas . He is on it.
I have to say these e-mail indicators are pretty convincing and would be just as likely to round up “aliens” as would stopping people based on skin color. So, being the helpful US citizen that I was raised to be, I have compiled a list, a cheat sheet if you will, of people I have been told (mostly via chain e-mail) may be engaging in un-American activities (and, OK, some just randomly made up by yours truly).
If you fall into any of these categories, I shall consider you suspect under the new law and you will be subject to stop by me (assuming I get that job with the Phoenix Police Department).
I will have an eye out for:
People who drive hybrid cars
People who take the separation of church and state literally
Soccer World Cup fans
Health care reform supporters
People who drink micro-brews
Dixie Chicks fans
People who refuse to believe that Obama was, in fact, born in Kenya
People who did not like “The Blindside”
People who think Ricky Gervais is funny
People who recycle
People who like Conan better than Jay
Raiders’ fans (I made that one up)
Now that I have that all figured out, I am off to schedule a conference call with Duncan D. Hunter (you know the California Congressman who thinks we should start deporting US citizens). We have some work to do on re-thinking and re-writing some of the poorly thought out parts of the Constitution. It is going to be a long week my friend.
Lori M. Schiefen is a small business attorney residing in Summit Cove. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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