Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

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AZ’s SB1070, a real bad idea

If I was a police officer in Arizona right now, I would be looking for a job in a different state. The new law SB1070 signed by Governor Brewer would make that impossible to do within the bounds of the US Constitution. As much as the proponents of the law may object, SB1070 is about racial profiling.

There is a lot of confusion about what police can and cannot do to identify people suspected of committing crimes. Last year, a Berkeley police officer spoke to our neighborhood group regarding an upswing in violent crime that included a man being murdered in a drive-by shooting. “The first thing I want to tell you,” he said, “ is I profile. I profile every day. But what I am profiling is behavior not race.”

So if I am walking down the sidewalk and at every driveway I wander up and look into the backyard, that would be suspicious behavior. I may not be a criminal. I may be looking for my lost dog. Then again, I might be looking for something to steal. Either way, my behavior is suspicious enough to warrant questioning by the police. My race and/or appearance is irrelevant.

This is the dilemma for the police officers in Arizona. What behaviors are going to tip them off that someone may be in this country illegally? Without a specific behavior to set one person out from another, the only fair response would be to question everyone. What an incredible waste of police time that would be!

Even more frustrating, the Arizona immigration law has diverted our attention from the issue of climate change. The Senate Democrats have decided to hold up their climate change bill to deal with the hot button issue of immigration reform. And that issue is quite hot. On the radio talk shows I have been listening to, immigration and the Arizona law have dominated the discussions. Ironically, if scientific predictions prove correct, climate change will exacerbate immigration, as people try to escape drought-stricken areas to the remaining places where fresh water is available. If we think we have problems now, just wait a few more years while doing nothing about limiting our greenhouse gas emissions.

April 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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