Hidden Surprise in Immigration Law

[This is the fourth of a series of blog reposts from my campaign website. This post first appeared on June 26, 2012]

The Supreme Court struck down many provisions of the Arizona immigration law, but one provision that they did not consider and therefore remains the law in Arizona will likely surprise most people. Did you know it is now possible to sue an Arizona police officer for NOT enforcing the “papers please” aspect of the immigration law? If a policeman fails to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they encounter, then they can be sued by any disgruntled citizen. Such provisions please the angry Tea Party mob who see the government as the enemy and embrace all sorts of conspiracy theories. If those government agents (otherwise known as police officers) won’t chase all of those people who look like immigrants out of their towns, then angry citizens can sue them.

Can you imagine what this precedent is likely to mean for those who choose to serve their community as a police officer? Would you be eager to serve, if you knew that it meant you could be a target of a lawsuit by any citizen who isn’t happy with the way you are performing your duties?

This sort of bad lawmaking is the direct result of elected officials pandering to a political interest group rather than representing the interests of society. And, yes, unfortunately South Carolina passed a similar bill last year, and, yes, both Reps. Sandifer and Whitmire voted for it. Sen. Alexander went so far as to sponsor South Carolina’s version. Thankfully South Carolina’s law is currently blocked by order of U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel.

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