What's Next In The Arizona Immigration Fight
TONY COX, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Tony Cox in Washington. Neal Conan is away.
Today is the day in Arizona the state's controversial new immigration law takes effect but without many of the toughest requirements. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked portions of the law, the parts that require police officers to verify a person's status when there is reasonable suspicion that the person may be an undocumented immigrant. She also blocked an element of the law that requires immigrants to carry their papers.
Regardless, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the preliminary injunction, quote, "a bump in the road." And supporters of the law are still confident that the courts will back SB1070 in its entirety.
Polls show a majority of Americans support local police doing their part in federal immigration enforcement, but critics fear that the law will lead to harassment of Latinos and wrongful arrests of legal residents.
So what's next for the law and for immigration enforcement? In a moment, we'll hear from NPR correspondent Ted Robbins in Arizona, and later in the hour, the WikiLeaks documents and why some of the information doesn't reflect the reality on the ground in Afghanistan.
But first, we want to hear from those of you in Arizona. How is the immigration law and yesterday's court decision playing out in your area? Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can join the conversation at our website. Go to npr.org, and click on TALK OF THE NATION.
As we said, Ted Robbins is joining us now from downtown Phoenix. Ted, nice to have you.
TED ROBBINS: Hi, Tony, good to be with you.
COX: Well, Ted, both sides promised to protest today, and it looks like they meant it. What are you seeing right now?
ROBBINS: I'm in front of the Phoenix city hall in downtown Phoenix, and there are a couple of hundred protestors out there in front of me in the street and police in riot gear sort of gently pushing them back onto the curb.
And one by one, people are stepping out into the street and offering themselves up for arrest, clearly acts of civil disobedience.
COX: It seems to be peaceful from the pictures that we have seen.
ROBBINS: It is. So far, I've seen only, as I say, civil disobedience. A couple of people were arrested earlier today at the federal courthouse for going in there, as well. And so essentially, these are, as I said, offering themselves up.
COX: Is this more or less of a reaction in the streets than had been expected, Ted, given yesterday's developments in federal court?
ROBBINS: Well, Tony, listen. That's hard to say because these demonstrations have been planned for a long time. I mean, I'll remind folks that a couple of provisions of the law are in effect today. One is the requirement that local law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration authorities and so there's no discretion there.
And then the intent of the law, section 1 of the law, which pretty clearly states that the intent of the law is to get illegal immigrants to more or less self-deport out of Arizona, to, you know, make it so uncomfortable for them that they they call it deportation by attrition.
So a lot of people have come here from elsewhere in the country. I have talked with people not only from Arizona but from Texas, New Mexico, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, a lot of faith community, a big contingent of Unitarian Church and United Methodist pastors are here. So they clearly planned on coming here long before the injunction was issued.
COX: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was planning an immigration sweep today in spite of, or despite Judge Bolton's decision. What's happening with regard to that?
ROBBINS: I think the in spite of is probably a good or to spite, he would probably admit to. He is going to announce probably the location and the scope of that in about 45 minutes. And the sheriff essentially says that he has laws on the books already which allow him he's been doing the same thing for a good three years, going out and stopping people for other offenses and then bringing them in on immigration checks.
And he says he's targeting illegal immigrants. And in fact, his more or less famous or infamous tent city jail, he just opened a section called Section 1070, which he intends to put people who he can find and arrest.
COX: Ted Robbins is NPR's correspondent in Arizona. He joined us from downtown Phoenix. Ted, thank you very much.
ROBBINS: You're welcome.
COX: Let's talk more about what's in the law now and what's next in the courts. Joining us from his office at the University of Arizona in Tucson is Gabriel Jack Chin. He is a professor and co-director of the Program in Criminal Law and Policy at the University of Arizona. Welcome to the program.
Professor GABRIEL JACK CHIN (Professor and Co-director, Program in Criminal Law and Policy, University of Arizona): Thank you.
COX: Remind us really quickly, please: Although the injunction blocked key parts of the law, what other elements could still affect immigrants in Arizona today?
Prof. CHIN: One of the important ones is that police are allowed to transport people who they stop and have reason to believe are undocumented to federal authorities. And so that enhances local police authority to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
COX: What about the lawsuits from the Justice Department, for one, and the civil rights groups, for another?
Prof. CHIN: Well, basically, the suit of the United States is in the lead now, and I think the next step is going to be in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
COX: Is there any way to put a timeline on this, Jack, in terms of how long this process is likely to go out, and while we are waiting for the process to wind itself through the federal court system, what it means on the ground for both law enforcement, as well as those citizens or non-citizens who would be impacted by the law?
Prof. CHIN: Normally, an appeal to a U.S. court of appeals takes the better of a year, sometimes more. So in a normal case, we wouldn't hear from the Ninth Circuit for quite some time.
The governor has said that she is going to seek an expedited appeal, and I would assume that many people on the court would find that to be sensible. But even for an expedited appeal, we're talking weeks or a few months, not days or anything like that. It would be quite remarkable if they decided this case in, let's say, two months. That would be super-fast. Until then, the key parts of the law are enjoined.
But Sheriff Arpaio is right that under existing authority, there's a lot of stuff that he and other local law enforcement agencies can do to enforce federal law.
One is that if they're stopping somebody for some other reason, they can call the Border Patrol or call ICE if they believe that the person is undocumented and turn the person over to federal authorities.
Another thing that they can do is that even before SB1070, local police in Arizona and elsewhere could make arrests for federal immigration crimes like re-entry after deportation.
So if Sheriff Joe or other agencies want to be proactive in immigration enforcement, they can be, even without SB1070.
COX: Now do people who are the targets of this roundup, for lack of a better term, are there rights that they have that would protect them of any kind, or no?
Prof. CHIN: Well, the U.S. Supreme Court has held for many, many years that undocumented people are protected by the Constitution, just like anybody else. They can't be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. They have the right to remain silent. They have the right to be free from arbitrary seizure.
So they don't have to cooperate with the police in terms of confessing their status or anything like that. They can't just be seized and held with no basis. But if they are discovered by Sheriff Joe and turned over to federal immigration enforcement authorities, there are some arguments that they can make about why they shouldn't be deported, but it's likely that most of them will be deported.
COX: Now those who are arrested, let's say, under this, either the federal statute, or eventually if it does come into being as law, SB1070 in Arizona, if you are picked up but not deported, what happens to you in the interim period?
Prof. CHIN: Well, if you are put into removal proceedings as an undocumented person, usually or frequently you are going to be held in custody, in federal custody.
COX: So there has to be a transfer of some point from local authorities to the federal authorities to hold you in custody, or would you be held in custody by the local authorities?
Prof. CHIN: You would have to be held in federal custody, and that was the big innovation, the big change of SB1070: It allowed the state of Arizona to file criminal charges and to hold these people in custody for federal immigration violations such as failing to register under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
And the federal government wasn't really interested in prosecuting those violations. It usually would just deport the people. And by being able to hold them in custody, it really multiplied the ability of local law enforcement to facilitate the deportation of large numbers of people.
COX: Now, you've talked about one distinction. My question is: Is this attempt at reforming immigration laws significantly different from previous attempts, and is the description that you just gave the primary difference?
Prof. CHIN: Is SB1070 different from prior efforts?
Prof. CHIN: Very much so, very much so because it really sets Arizona on its own course to drive undocumented people out. And historically, immigration, for a variety of reasons, has been an exclusively federal power, and the federal government has used various legal and administrative and law enforcement and also diplomatic means to try and manage the immigration system.
And if states can override that and simply decide that we're going to make life so difficult for people here that they leave, they have essentially taken over immigration policy from the federal government.
COX: One final thing I'd like to ask you, and it's this, a little bit to put you on the spot: Was Judge Bolton, in your legal point of view, standing on solid legal ground?
Prof. CHIN: That opinion was based on U.S. Supreme Court cases, and it struck me as a very strong, very sensible, carefully prepared, mainstream opinion that will reflect basically the views of the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
I'm not saying that every single thing that she did in that 36-page opinion was perfect, but the basic approach, I think, is very solid.
COX: Thank you very much. Gabriel Jack Chin is professor of law, public administration and policy at the University of Arizona. He joined us from the University of Arizona. Gabriel, thank you very much.
We're talking next about what's next for Arizona's new immigration law, and in a moment, we'll focus on some of the people on both sides of SB1070. If you live in Arizona, tell us how this is playing out where you live. Stay with us. I'm Tony Cox. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
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COX: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Tony Cox.
The protests continue this afternoon in Arizona, both for and against the tough new immigration law that took effect today. That's even though a judge blocked the most controversial parts of the law.
Today we want to hear from those of you in Arizona. How is the immigration law and yesterday's court decision playing out in your area? Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. Our email address, email@example.com. And to join the conversation, go to our website, npr.org, and click on TALK OF THE NATION.
Jennifer Allen is the executive director of the Border Action Network, an organization that protects and promotes human rights in Arizona. She joins us now from member station KUAZ in Tucson. Jennifer, welcome to the show.
Ms. JENNIFER ALLEN (Executive Director, Border Action Network): Oh, thank you for having me.
COX: How are the families that you work with reacting to the injunction, as well as those parts of the law that did take effect today?
Ms. ALLEN: Well, you know, because it was a partial block, it was a partial victory. There was immediate celebration, as there should be, and considering that some of the primary, the most far-reaching and impactful provisions were blocked from being implemented today.
But we also know that there's a long road ahead, that the entire law needs to be thrown out, but moreover that 1070 and this law is part of a larger political climate. It's part of a larger political debate that we have got to continue to challenge and get our state back into a place in which the basic, most basic, fundamental rights, are respected, and the basic dignity is respected of all people.
COX: We have a caller from Tucson we're going to bring into the conversation. Tony(ph), you are on TALK OF THE NATION. Welcome.
TONY (Caller): Hello, yes.
COX: Do you have a comment or a question?
TONY: Oh, I have a comment. We now know where people stand on both sides of the issue, and I think it's time that this country starts thinking about solutions since we are now on the world stage when it comes to immigration. Solutions stand to solve issues anywhere from Eastern and Western Europe to Spain and Northern Africa to here in the U.S. and Mexico.
We need to shorten the path to citizenship, or legality, better stated, for our neighbors to the south.
COX: All right, thank you for the call. Now, let me ask you, Jennifer, we are going to be hearing from law enforcement shortly about how they are dealing with both the injunction and the impact of it.
From your perspective and the organization that you are a part of, let's talk what you talk about what you do with the people who are directly, let's say, affected by this. What do you tell those who are likely to be picked up, or once they have been picked up, what do you tell them to do?
Ms. ALLEN: Well, we've been doing a lot of work before this law was even signed by the governor and actually trying to get people engaged with their legislators and trying to prevent this from happening.
But as it plays out, and as the heat continues to bear down on families across the state, we do a lot of education, basic education and training people in what their rights are and how to assert them and how to protect them, how, as communities, as families and individuals, people can be prepared for those worst-case scenarios, how to have conversations with police that are respectful but at the same time upholding those basic fundamental constitutional rights that we all fortunately have in this country.
COX: Are you finding that, because we are hearing that people, Latinos in particular, citizens and non-citizens, are leaving the area because of this. Can you speak to whether or not that is happening and to what extent it may be happening?
Ms. ALLEN: You know, I've heard that stated a lot, but within our organization, which is membership-based - we've got thousands of members all over the state we're not seeing people leave because of 1070. We're seeing people leave because of the economy. 1070 is added on top of that, but fundamentally, people are leaving because of the lack of jobs.
There's considerable fear. There's also a large portion of the population in Arizona that has continued, that is dedicated to being part of making this long road to transform our state back into a place that we can be proud of and that recognizes the value and worth of all human beings.
COX: One of the potential impacts of this, from what we have seen here, is that Latino people, many of them, certainly the undocumented ones, would be unwilling perhaps now to even call for the police if they needed their help in an emergency. Is that happening?
Ms. ALLEN: Absolutely. And it is one of the most far-reaching impacts of 1070 and other similar programs, like the 287(g) program or Secure Communities or the efforts of Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County.
It's eroding that essential trust that is needed between local communities and law enforcement, where we've had families who have called law enforcement, who have shown up and, instead of investigating a reported robbery or crime, have immediately launched into inquiries into people's immigration status.
So the result is that perpetrators then go free, and communities then become havens in which criminal activity can grow and thrive because the community doesn't have the confidence and the relationships with law enforcement to really chop criminal activity down at its root.
COX: What is your expectation? We know that the district court judge has blocked portions of the enforcement of SB1070, and we know that it is likely to go through the federal court system, potentially up as high as the United States Supreme Court. In the interim, what are you advising people to do?
Ms. ALLEN: Well, we're continuing to push for some greater education about 1070 but also inserting what people's rights are. We've been unfolding an entire community education campaign that folds in public service announcements, hotlines where people can call in to report any incidents related to the implementation of 1070 or other incidents of police enforcing immigration, training volunteers on the ground who can serve as local points of contact where people can report incidents, and then just doing really basic house-to-house, church-to-church, school-to-school sit-downs, where people learn about what the law, specifically in very detailed, concrete ways, and what their rights are and what it means to them and what their responsibilities are both within our communities and our state and how to balance that, too, and be as safe and prepared as possible.
COX: We have a question I'd like you to hear and offer a response to. It comes from Tucson, and it's David(ph). David, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
DAVID (Caller): Thank you, yes. I'm a little confused about the effect of the law (unintelligible) left standing that you cannot transport somebody.
So if I encountered a person who was injured or sick from heat stroke or whatever, by the road on a trail, would I be able to help them get to medical attention?
COX: David, thank you for the call. What about that?
Ms. ALLEN: So the way that that provision of the law is written, it makes it a crime, a state crime, to provide the transportation, and the language is around transporting, harboring or shielding somebody who is undocumented, if somebody commits a criminal offense, first and foremost.
So in that particular case, absolutely not. Somebody should if somebody is lying on the side of the road and is injured, needs medical attention, emergency care, absolutely we should never turn our back on any human being that is at that moment of need. That should never be an illegal activity.
COX: Jennifer Allen is the executive director of the Border Action Network, an organization that protects and promotes human rights in Arizona, and she joined us from member station KUAZ in Tucson. Jennifer, thank you very much.
Ms. ALLEN: Thank you.
COX: For another perspective on this issue, we now turn to Larry Talvy. He is marshal of Tombstone, Arizona. He joins us from the Tombstone marshal's office. Marshal, nice to have you.
Mr. LARRY TALVY (Marshal, Tombstone, Arizona): Thank you.
COX: How are you and fellow law enforcement officers taking the injunction, and what are you doing today?
Mr. TALVY: Well, actually, obviously we're very disappointed on the initial response from the judge, and right now, we are reevaluating how we're going to handle making contact with illegal immigrants.
COX: We know that in Phoenix, downtown Phoenix, there have been protests. Has there been anything like that at all in Tombstone?
Mr. TALVY: No, we have not had any protests in regards to the SB1070. So right now, everything in our city is pretty much calm.
COX: Now, were you under the I don't want to say the assumption. Let's put it this way: Were you and your law enforcement officers prepared to deal with SB1070 had it gone into full effect today?
Mr. TALVY: Absolutely. After going through the training that, of course, our governing body from Phoenix, they posted - provided, it was a very good training program. It isolated down exactly what law enforcement should be doing in this situation, and I think that it was a good program in that I think we would've been effective in helping the federal government make a realization that there's more going on than they are dealing with.
COX: Now, the other question, then, is given the injunction and the limitations under SB1070 that you are now having to enforce, are you able to do what is necessary, in your view?
Mr. TALVY: Well, actually, we're going to be our hands are going to be tied a little bit because obviously, when we're investigating another crime, we're not going to be fully able to investigate whether they're here legally, do they have a citizenship in this country, because we've already been dealing with a couple of issues where the undocumented aliens have failed to provide us their citizenship status, they're saying they're U.S. citizens. We know that they don't have any identification on them.
It's making it difficult now for us to follow through with investigating those types of issues, and we're going to have to really have the support from ICE to assist us in these matters. And that's going to create another burden on them.
COX: Two questions. One, what did you do in the instance where you will confront - you confronted these individuals who do not have the proper paperwork? And secondly, we had a caller earlier who suggested that, or we have been told that some Latinos are unwilling to call the law enforcement when they need help in case of an emergency. Are you finding that to be a problem as well?
Mr. TALVY: Well, first of all, in the case of the individuals that failed to provide us names and claimed that they were U.S. citizens, didn't have any identification, we, obviously, had to turn them over to Border Patrol because they have the specific computers to do identification system. And based on those, it makes it very difficult because now we're trying to determine are we doing the right thing or are we basically because they're saying they - because they're not wanting to give us information, are they doing it to test our abilities to do our job?
And so it makes it very difficult, but we did have the support of Border Patrol. They came down, took them into custody and were determined that they were not legal citizens of this community. In regards to the second question, if you would...
COX: People not calling when they need help because of their fear of being arrested.
Mr. TALVY: Yeah, well, we have not had that incident occur, though, you know, these individuals that are here in - already in the country, that they know this law is up here, I think it is going to prohibit them from contacting because they're going to be afraid they're going to be deported back.
But what we need is we need people to go ahead and call us, and then we can make a determination of what we're going to do if it should come out that we determined that they're not U.S. citizens, though we cannot investigate further on another - on that issue because of the call.
COX: Is that a responsibility - a law enforcement responsibility that you are comfortable with having?
Mr. TALVY: I do feel comfortable with having that responsibility, and I think that based on the training that we have received, I think we could really handle the situation that's going on that the federal government just isn't doing their part.
COX: You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
We have an email I'd like to read, and perhaps you can respond to it, if you would. It says: Please understand that there are many of us non-Hispanics in Arizona who disagree with SB 1070, and we'd like to see it overturned. I am an advocate of, number one, comprehensive immigration reform, number two, a guest worker program so people can enter and work legally, which will put people-smugglers out of business, number three, legalize and heavily tax the drugs Americans are buying so we can put the Mexican drug smugglers out of business, and number four, provide a path to citizenship. If we implemented the four points I just mentioned, the illegal traffic across the border would be dramatically reduced.
Is this legitimate or not legitimate in your view?
Mr. TALVY: In my opinion, I don't believe that it's legitimate. You know, the federal government has tried to make a comprehensive plan. It has yet to be done. It has yet to be implemented, so, obviously, things are not working.
And another situation with the reforms or the guest work program, we have that in place, but what's happening is those individuals from the other country don't want to abide by the U.S. codes to apply for those things because, of course, the cost. They may not be able to afford it, but the Mexican government has got to support the U.S. in helping fighting this issue and providing some type of economy to these individuals to give them some money so they can come in legally. And that's the type of support that we need. I don't believe that Mexico has taken a firm stance on helping stop the migration from their own country.
COX: Larry, you know, there has been word coming out of Arizona that even within the law enforcement community, there is disagreement about this. You have Joe Arpaio on one end. You have the chief of police in the city of Tucson on the other end. Within your own law enforcement agency, are you finding that there is a division among officers over this?
Mr. TALVY: Now, here in - I can speak for my department. We do not have mixed emotions here. Everybody is in agreement that something needs to be done. We have a large amount of flow coming through our community, both drug and human smuggling. And what's the problem is that we endanger these individuals when the smugglers, all they care about is receiving the money.
Now, in regards to the Tucson police chief and Sheriff Arpaio, you know, obviously, they have larger departments. There are mixed emotions, but I do believe that Joe Arpaio and chief - excuse me - from Tucson, he - they actually want some type of - they need to know that the federal government is taking a stance on correcting this issue, and they're going to do their part or the best they can to stem the flow of immigrants going through their communities.
COX: Here's my final question, and as our time is running short I'd like to get you to be as brief as you can. A lot of concern has been raised about racial profiling, how do you convince people that that's not what you are going to do?
Mr. TALVY: Obviously, we have never had a racial profiling incident within the community, but what needs to be done is follow the guidelines as said, and those officers that do tend to veer off the path of what it is, we need to handle those situations immediately, effectively, and ensure that racism will not be tolerated in the department.
COX: Do you think that this might be a problem for other departments, larger ones?
Mr. TALVY: Oh, absolutely. Do we have officers that tend to racial profile? Absolutely. I don't think that that is something that can be disregarded. But the bigger, larger departments need to take control of those issues immediately, not tolerate it and ensure that the officers do the right thing.
COX: Marshal Larry Talvy polices Tombstone, Arizona. He joined us from the Tombstone Marshal's office. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. TALVY: Thank you for having me on the line. Appreciate it.
COX: Coming up, what can we learn and what we cannot learn from those 90,000 leaked military documents? Noah Shachtman witnessed one of the battles in the report and shared his view of the events that actually took place on the ground. That's next. I'm Tony Cox. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.