The Arizona House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a far-reaching bill that would give police more power to stop illegal immigrants. Opponents are lobbying furiously to squash it, highlighted by a rally scheduled for Wednesday at noon outside the governor’s office.
If you haven’t been reading about SB1070 and HB2632, here’s a story that explains the measure, written when it passed the Senate: Senate backs wide range of curbs on immigrants
“Without debate, the Senate on Monday approved a far-reaching measure designed to give police more power, and more impetus, to stop and arrest those who they believe are in the country illegally.
SB 1070 would require police to make a "reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of anyone they come into contact with during an investigation. And it would make the mere presence of an illegal immigrant anywhere in Arizona a violation of state trespass laws.”
Tucson-based Border Action Network calls it “the most far-reaching anti-immigrant bill ever introduced in the Arizona Legislature.” The immigrant advocacy group is among a coalition of groups actively lobbying state legislators to vote against the bill. The group is making phone calls and mailing postcards and plans to really outside the governor’s office in Phoenix on Wednesday. You can read about their campaign here.
The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference also issued a statement this week criticizing the bill. Here is an excerpt from the letter, signed by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Gallup Bishop James Wall:
“. . .we are concerned with high profile measures relating to immigration that we believe could be detrimental to public safety and that could divide families. In particular, it is our understanding that SB 1070 and HB 2632 are identical bills aimed at requiring greater enforcement of immigration laws by local police. In addition to the concerns expressed by local police agencies throughout Arizona, we are concerned that the present language of these bills does not clearly state that undocumented persons who become victims of crime can come forward without fear of deportation.
After all, it is in all of our best interests that all people in our state – regardless of their citizenship status – should not be afraid to report crimes. Anything that may deter crimes from being reported or prosecuted will only keep dangerous criminals on the streets, making our communities less safe.”
You can hear Sen. Russell Pearce talk about the bill he sponsored in the box above to the left.