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Immigration reform bill borders on racial profiling

One of the cornerstones of conservatism is limited government. As a result, many would think that Republican legislators would favor bills that restrain the scope of the government.

However, the Arizona House of Representatives is hearing House Bill 2632, a radical immigration reform bill. The bill expands the power of state authorities.

According to Section 2, Clause E of HB 2632, “A law enforcement officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”

This clause gives law officers permission to arrest people without warrant. Under this new law, illegal immigrants can be arrested for simply being in the United States on grounds of trespassing.

“I think this will open the door to more racial profiling,” said Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson. “It is an attack on immigrants trying to find work in this country.”

Law enforcement officials would be given the ability to arrest a citizen carte blanche. Apparently, Arizona has not learned from its national embarrassment of the federal investigation involving Sheriff Joe Arpaio and accusations of racial profiling.

“One thing that Democrats support is making sure that those who are here legally are treated fairly and respectfully, not racially profiled,” Tovar said.

The law would require cities and towns to increase patrols, which would result in more police training. When the budgets for public safety is already stretched thin, how many more hits can they take?

“This is an unfunded mandate,” Tovar said.

A press release put out by the city of Tempe disclosed some figures to back up this statement. The city must cut 215 employees, both full-time and part-time; 139 of these positions are within the police department. This was the result of $30 million in cuts from the city’s budget.

Tempe is not alone. The city of Chandler is facing a potential budget deficit of $40 million come fiscal year 2013-14. With a lack of funds, implementing this reform would be difficult, if not impossible.

From the party that advocates itself as the party of fiscal responsibility, it seems strange that they would put mandates on cities and towns without providing funding.

“We need to give law enforcement the tools they need to secure our borders and this includes funding,” Tovar said.

One would hope possibility of racial profiling and lack of funding would be enough to kill this bill, but this is not the case. According to the Associated Press, the House Committee of Military Affairs and Public Safety heard it on March 31. It will likely pass the full House and be reconciled with the version the State Senate has already passed. It will then become law.

With discrimination and fiscal responsibility at stake, we must say no to this type of immigration reform. Not only is this bill a grave mistake, it deserves to see the grave.

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