One thing Bennett Kalafut mentioned in passing in this post over at Goldwater State caught my attention. Is it really possible that Arizona may soon have a law declaring undocumented aliens to be trespassing? Curious, I had a look at the text of the resolution. Here it is.
If that ever became law, it would have pretty much everything any frothing-at-the-mouth anti-illegal-immigration-type could ever want. It would make it so that aliens in this country in violation of the federal improper entry statute would be committing criminal trespass simply by virtue of being in Arizona. It wouldn’t matter whether they’re on public or private land. The first time, it would be a misdemeanor, but after that, it would be a class 4 felony. That’s the same level of offense as robbery. If the alien has certain drugs or a weapon, it would be a class 2 felony. That’s the same level of offense as kidnapping. Unlike most crimes in Arizona, the alien wouldn’t be eligible for suspension or commutation of sentence or release on any basis until the sentence imposed is served. The statute would also include jail costs and an additional fine. As if that wasn’t enough, part of the proposed legislation would try to give authorities all kinds of unconstitutional powers to enforce it.
I’m not familiar enough with the history of Arizona politics to know if the senate has tried to make that kind of resolution in the past. Hopefully, it will never become a proposition for the people of Arizona to vote into law. My impression is that most Arizonans love making new crimes. The only thing they like better is picking on illegal immigrants. How else do Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas manage to keep getting themselves elected? I suspect that law would pass by a landslide. If it does, I shudder to think about the new and creative ways authorities will get around the Constitution to enforce it. Maybe I should start preparing my motions to suppress now.