Arizona Law Would Criminalize Undocumented Immigrants

New America Media, News Report, Valeria Fernández Posted: Jan 22, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ--Arizona could become the first state in the country to criminalize undocumented immigrants.

A bill moving fast through the Arizona Senate would allow local police to arrest and incarcerate someone for “trespassing” into the territory of the state.

“The federal government is not doing its job so we’re going to do it,” said Sen. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), author of the bill, which is called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act.

On Wednesday, the Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee approved SB 1070. Pearce said he is confident that the bill would clear the Legislature and have the support of Gov. Jan Brewer.

During her State of the State speech, the Republican governor mentioned specifically that she would be working with Pearce to “enhance the existing penalties for any criminal alien who returns to our state.”

The trespassing bill would make it a misdemeanor to be in the state illegally. A person arrested twice under the law would be charged with a felony. The Arizona bill includes a number of provisions, including one proscribing “sanctuary polices,” and restricting any government agency or city from limiting immigration enforcement.

Similar bills have been unsuccessful in the past. Another version of this law didn’t get sufficient votes during the past Legislative session. In 2006, former governor Janet Napolitano vetoed it and said in a letter that this was an unfunded mandate for local law-enforcement.

This time around a new provision in the bill is drawing the attention of religious leaders. It would impose penalties on those who transport, harbor or conceal undocumented immigrants. It also would punish those who encourage an undocumented immigrant to move into the state with a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine.

Rev. Liana Rowe of the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix said she is concerned that it would criminalize anyone who works with migrant communities regardless of their immigration status.

“The feds have not done anything about immigration reform. They’ve allowed the status quo to remain,” she said. “And it really allows states to go rogue on these issues, to not have a systematic and sensible and human approach.”

Over the last five years, the Arizona Legislature has been at the forefront of approving bills aimed at regulating illegal immigration. In 2005, it passed a human smuggling law that has been used to prosecute immigrants who hire a smuggler to cross the border. Three years ago, the Legislature approved one of the toughest employer-sanctions laws in the nation, which penalizes companies that knowingly hire undocumented labor.

At the end of 2009, the Legislature enacted a new law requiring state and public employees to report to immigration authorities any undocumented immigrants who apply for public benefits.

“Arizona is obviously leading in the arena of combating illegal immigration,” said Barnett Lotstein, a special assistant to the Maricopa County attorney, “and the reason for that is that we are a focal point for illegal immigration.”

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User Comments

Edie on Feb 05, 2010 at 06:37:51 said:

sad tucsonan, you obviously enjoy being a sucker. Most illegal immigrants south of our border ( mexico) had jobs before illegally coming her. They wanted to earn more money. They sent it home and we paid their medical and educational bills for their families and children. We are being conned. Wake up!

sad tucsonan on Feb 04, 2010 at 12:18:49 said:

arizona, you are an embarrassment to our constitution and history

Joan DeMarree on Feb 02, 2010 at 05:53:07 said:

Arizona, I am very proud of you and your Sen. Pearce, Gov. Brewer and Sheriff Joe and their stance against illegal immigration. I only wish someone in the state of Florida had the same toughness and courage to stand up to illegals and the companies that hire them. Keep up the good work, it gives the rest of us some hope. Good luck and God bless!

dubsak20 on Jan 31, 2010 at 07:58:07 said:

Steve,what a brilliant post.It says it all.But for some,the TRUTH hurts.America has deported these absconders three times before.Its time for OPERATION WETBACK IV.Ronald Reagan passed amnesty in 1986.And look at the disasterous results.Amnesty is not an option here.Time for them to go.
And I would like to add one more thing is that more & more American citizen are unemployed.I think their are some that would be happy picking the fields,that are currently being done by illegals.Im going to be laid off here shortly.And if thats what it takes to feed my family.I would be greatful.

garyrose on Jan 30, 2010 at 07:40:41 said:


Barbara Ervin on Jan 29, 2010 at 21:13:28 said:

Citizens of the entire country should be grateful to Sen. Pearce and Gov. Brewer. I know I am. And who knows, perhaps this will be the start of a nationwide movement! Politicians throughout the country already know American citizens are against any 'path to citizenship', or amnesty by any name, for illegals. This could even be a wake up call for DC. They're already gearing up for another amnesty push. Hopefully they'll realize it's a losing battle!

Justie on Jan 29, 2010 at 17:22:21 said:

Thank you Senator Pearce and Governor Brewer. Finally, two who have a spine and are putting American citizens first over CRIMINAL illegal aliens.

Marvin Taylor on Jan 29, 2010 at 15:57:36 said:

Thank you Russell Pearce. Now if we can get Sheriff Joe as head of the Border Patrol, We could finally secure our southern border.Thank all of you that make good things happen to stop illegal immigration.

JW on Jan 29, 2010 at 14:58:32 said:


Deb on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:26:21 said:

It's a great idea and needs to be done. Who cares if it pissed people off and caused law enforcement, et. al to have to work a little harder. With the people behind it, it couldn't loose! We might also think about getting the Marines and all services involved. I really don't like this "invasion". It is the REASON we are where we are. We can NO LONGER HELP THE WORLD. Close the borders, stop all immigration and clean up the back yard.

dick on Jan 25, 2010 at 06:40:45 said:

It may sound good to many who think this is a good idea,but once it is put into action it will catch flak,and mostly because of shoddy police work and the way it will be abused.That is when it will be contested.It would be easier if all American employers who continue to hire these people,would themselves be put in jail or heavily fined,because they are the root of this problem,but it is always easier for Americans to point the finger south.

Stanice John on Jan 24, 2010 at 09:08:11 said:

Wow!! Arizona's criminalizing of illegal aliens...I can't even begin to imagine the huge reduction in government spending, and the lifting of the burden on taxpayers...but I'll try.
First, isn't there a cost to police, process and prosecute each and every "criminal?" Once found "guilty," aren't they supposed to be incarcerated - at the expense of the Arizona taxpayers? That would entail three squares, medical, dental, clothing, and accommodations. In fact, it may also entail access to libraries, and other educational sources.
The hordes of illegal aliens clamoring for CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies, managerial posts at leading manufacturing concerns, and supervisory slots at other major businesses will certainly dry up. I can't wait for all these great opportunities to open up, especially since I spent so much money on college and law school. Oh wait! Those AREN'T the jobs that those "criminals" were depriving us American citizens? Now I get it!! Lawn care, busboy, and other minimum (really?) wage jobs were the ones that unemployed Americans laboriously filled out resumes, CVs and applications for, as they stood on line at the unemployment center.
These "criminals" that fill our schools with the evil spawn of their loins could only have more nefarious intentions. Populate our country with educated, ambitious individuals with the tools to take us where no other nation has dared to trod...imagine the nerve of these deviants, coming here and actually trying to learn, while so many of us are content to remain ignorant, particularly when it comes to immigration policy and its real mandate.
I suppose that anyone trying to get to the US, risking life and limb to cross treacherous terrain or violent seas, would be seriously deterred by the threat of jail time. After all, the life they probably left behind would be far better than the death they could have suffered while making their way here. As a matter of fact, why not make it far more interesting and impose the death penalty on these "criminals," their offspring in tow, and all those who offer them aid of any kind? Oh. Too inhumane?
Our legislators, men and women of impeccable character, would certainly gain political mileage from the eradication of this deeply rooted "criminal" element. And after that they could get down to other more pressing problems like reduction of crime - you know, the ones committed by legal criminals. Our law enforcement has somehow managed to round up all these "legal" citizens - when we all know that illegal aliens are responsible for most of the crimes being committed - and filled our jails with them. Oh the horror! Manson, Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, Timothy McVeigh, and the Beltway Sniper were all innocent citizens. Why are the jails so heavily populated with our "legal" citizens? Is it because our police are in the habit of arresting innocent people? Heaven forbid!!
I say, "Down with illegal aliens! You're only here to kill, rape and plunder our vast wealth, while simultaneously taking that sweet associate position at that leading law firm that I had my eye on. Thanks AZ, for leading the way down the path of ignorance."

rhea pieat on Jan 24, 2010 at 00:49:17 said:

If it were not for agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA immigration would not be on the increase. There is one planet with limited resources - why then are we separated into nation states - whose idea was this in the first place, why are we not citizens of the planet? This way everyone who have the right, rather than the privilege to travel any where in the world. Why should some have the privilege and others not? because they were born white? seems like a world full of bigotry and separatism - a sure way to secure the planet's defeat.

royalstarr on Jan 23, 2010 at 18:11:11 said:

I remember reading about laws like this... laws created to further subjugate newly freed slaves. They were required to carry a pass otherwise they would arrested and be called tresspassers and criminals. This Arizona proposed law sound eerily similiar.

royalstarr on Jan 23, 2010 at 18:05:09 said:

I remember reading about laws like this... laws created to further subjugate newly freed slaves. They were required to carry a pass otherwise they would arrested and be called tresspassers and criminals. This Arizona proposed law sound eerily similiar.

Jenn Turner on Jan 23, 2010 at 17:00:22 said:

Illegals anf welfare don't make sense being together. If someone doesn't have legal proof of a social security number, etc then they can't qualify to receive welfare. And the ones that do have fake papers use it to get jobs not welfare... And thus are paying taxes into the system. What precisely is the beef about that? They won't ever get social security because they aren't legal citizens... So I'm not sure why you want to lose that revenue??? Its there, trust me!

Bob Chapman on Jan 23, 2010 at 15:51:57 said:

How many of you carry your passport on you at all times? That is the only way to prove that you are legally in the United States.

After all, a white male that speaks English might be a Canadian sneaking into the US for health care.

This proposed law is a feel-good measure that is unenforceable. We are not required to carry citizenship papers on us at all times in the US.

summer on Jan 23, 2010 at 14:05:05 said:

I say hell yes to this bill. Its about time that a bill like this be passed. If some one wants to come to our country, state or city then they need to do it the legal way and adapt to our way of living. Every where we go you here about some crime and then you will here it was done by someone who is here illegally which makes it even worse. So I say hell yes to this bill and I support sheriff joe and every thing he does and I do not believe he is doing anything wrong I say keep up the good work.

Dave A on Jan 23, 2010 at 09:48:07 said:

We need some leadership like this here in Illinois. Chicago has plenty of illegal aliens in need of removal.

J Cir on Jan 23, 2010 at 07:36:28 said:

THREE CHEERS FOR ARIZONA!! The penalties for entering the United States illegally MUST be enhanced, to send the message the US is finally getting serious about policing its borders (as any sane nation should) and to provide the federal and state governments critical tools to detain, try, and deport illegals responsibly and quickly. Foolish, and frankly Anti-American, policies such as catch and release have done much harm to the US by broadcasting to the world that if one can just sneak into the US, one has a very good chance of settling in the US and enjoying a multitude of social entitlements at the expense of American taxpayers. Thankfully, and not a moment too late, those days appear to be finally drawing to a close.

Delaware Bob on Jan 22, 2010 at 18:00:54 said:

You go get them, Arizona! Homeland Security and that Janet Flintstone have all stopped enforcing our immigrtion laws. No more raids, rounding up the illegal aliens and closing down the businesses that hire these illegals I guess this has become a job that some Americans don't want to do.

Victor R on Jan 22, 2010 at 16:44:44 said:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!""

Johanna Ward on Jan 22, 2010 at 13:01:24 said:

I doubt that these posts are the true feelings of Californians. When the economy picks up, Californians will still want their low-wage nannies,gardeners, construction workers and others who appear to keep the economy humming. Unfortunately, we are now reaping the winds of our desire to hire and keep employees on the cheap. The illegals understand what's going on here. And they know eventually it will blow over....

Hopefully, Silicon Valley and the hi-tech industry can generate enough business to off-set the burden of this misplaced "sanctuary state" policy.

Estoban on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:06:58 said:

If the legislature doesn't pass this, make it a proposition and we, the people, will pass it!

Beast on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:23:25 said:

Arizona is a great example of how immigration enforcement should be, they are the leader by example. Let it be known, that if you come here, you better do it legally. Arizona and Sheriff Joe are cracking down, all you illegals better run and hide.

Brittanicus on Jan 22, 2010 at 09:40:27 said:


Around Washington their is a ominous quiet regarding the move towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But we should not take this lightly and specially be on watch not just the for laws being loosened in the House and Senate, but at the State and county levels. Take note that sanctuary states like California, New Mexico are not implementing Federal laws but are arrogant enough to dismiss them. Many State assemblies have made decisions that doesn’t recognize the interests of the 15 million Americans jobless, but are as-always pandering to Special Interest groups. States across this nation will continue to tangle with the issues such as providing in-state tuition to illegal aliens, requiring businesses to run new hires through E-Verify, the local police trained to arrest illegal aliens under the 287 (g) law, flash ICE raids on nonconforming businesses and implementing the REAL ID compliant drivers licensing among other enforcement issues. Indiana began work this week on a new bill that would require state and local government agencies to use E-Verify.

Now is the time to make E-Verify a permanent, fully funded mandated operation for every business in America. NUMBERSUSA, a anti-illegal immigrant, pro-sovereignty organisation will be alerting their members in Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington in determining a number of local voting initiatives. Opponents including the devious ACORN, SEIU, Unions, radical ethnic caucuses and even the AFL-CIO are mobilizing to promote AMNESTY for illegal aliens in different States. As this is not seen as Federal Immigration laws, State Liberal Assemblies could try to pass initiatives including In-State tuition, drivers licenses and other immigration issues. We all know that CALIFORNIA, carries the infamous stain of being the master SANCTUARY STATE, where the the governor is fighting a daily battle with almost bottomless financial crisis, caused impart by the pandering to illegal families. In the majority of cases there has been no restriction in hiring of illegal workers, free education for the children, free medical treatment in any hospital, welfare entitlements and the enormous taxpayer costs to incarcerate thousands of illegal foreign criminals. Many other states are teetering on the edge of dangerous fiscal collapse, because of the occupancy of 20 to 30 million impoverished illegal people who are being supported by taxpayers.


belugajedi on Jan 22, 2010 at 06:43:36 said:

Correction - Arizona Law Would Criminalize Illegal Aliens

Concerned Citizen on Jan 22, 2010 at 05:44:26 said:

Finally, Arrest and charge the CRIMINALS, those people whatever race, creed, or color that "BREAK THE LAW". Being in this country illegally is "AGAINST THE LAW" and will subject them to arrest and incarceration or deportation.

steve on Jan 22, 2010 at 04:48:02 said:

What is the argument here? every single alien "BROKE THE LAW!" Our Government, past & present, Republican & Democrat, have allowed the invasion of 20 to 30 million criminals and uneducated peons which is the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means & in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV of our Constitution.

This refusal to abide by our Constitution or enforce our Immigration Laws should be classified as Treason of the most foul kind, & as grounds for impeachment & trials for Treason!

Not only have they allowed the invasion, they force American tax payers to pay Billions on Billions of dollars to provide Welfare, Prison cells, Educate the invaders numerous children, and free medical care, at the same time the invading horde break numerous laws and massive document fraud, & are destroying our schools, hospitals, communities, culture and standard of living while Robbing, Raping, Killing & Assaulting American Citizens WAKE UP PEOPLE!




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