Are Republicans Turning Arizona Into a Police State?
What the hell has happened to Arizona?
This was supposed to be a red state turning blue, or at least purple. Instead, we’ve got a Stone Age agenda driven seemingly by one man, State Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa – described by the Phoenix New Times as “a raw beef-eater … driving the legislation’s passage like an antebellum Alabama overseer raised from the dead.”
In the past week, the Arizona House has passed two important bills. One was SB1070, the toughest measure in the country against illegal immigrants, according to the LA Times.
The bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person’s immigration status …
Opponents, however, raised the specter of officers untrained in immigration law being required to determine who is in the country legally. They noted that though the bill says race cannot solely be used to form a suspicion about a person’s legality, it implicitly allows it to be a factor.
“A lot of U.S. citizens are going to be swept up in the application of this law for something as simple as having an accent and leaving their wallet at home,” said Alessandra Soler Meetze, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.
The bill passed on party lines, though many Republicans seemingly voted for it out of fear. From a story on FOXNews.com:
“This bill is filled with problems, huge problems. But more importantly it will not stem the tide of illegal immigration,” Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, said before adding that he feels “obligated” to support the bill anyway.
The other bill passed by the House last week would make Arizona the third state in the country that does not require permits for concealed weapons.
The Feathered Bastard blog at the Phoenix New Times has brilliantly – and colorfully – chronicled Arizona’s descent.
This is from a post on a Pearce amendment to an alternative energy bill that would create an “anti-immigrant vigilante” force on the Mexican border:
Most insidiously, Republicans Pearce and Melvin demand that $200,000 … “be distributed to the Cochise county sheriff’s office for border security, including the costs of equipment related to a pilot program to dispatch a volunteer security force to the United States‑Mexico border” …
Do we really need another posse of Sunday soldiers and yahoos down at the border, much less one supplied by money that should go to fighting gangs? What’s next, state-financed death squads? Um, not that I want to give Pearce any ideas.
And here is another post that says Pearce’s arguments for the anti-immigration bill “are filled with half-truths and racist shibboleths.” There is also a link there to a video interview with a Phoenix attorney who explains the bill’s grounding in segregation legislation.
But the best line from Feathered Bastard, one I hope is not true? It pertains to the handgun legislation:
Arizona is a state of cowardly little white men with handguns. They need their guns to prove their manhood. Without them, they have nothing but fear.
This is one reason why Sand Land remains so benighted. Any illusions you may have had that we live in a civilized state should be completely disabused by the passage this week of gun legislation here in Cactus Country that says you don’t need to bother with having a CCW permit on you if you plan to pack heat sub rosa.
Photo by kevinspence
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