There's obviously been much talk about Arizona's new anti-brown law, and how it empowers local law enforcement to racially profile brown people, demanding proof of citizenship that none of us carry around, as this guy found out:
PHOENIX – A Valley man says he was pulled over Wednesday morning and questioned when he arrived at a weigh station for his commercial vehicle along Val Vista and the 202 freeway.
Abdon, who did not want to use his last name, says he provided several key pieces of information but what he provided apparently was not what was needed.
He tells 3TV, “I don't think it's correct, if I have to take my birth certificate with me all the time.” [...]
Abdon was told he did not have enough paperwork on him when he pulled into a weigh station to have his commercial truck checked. He provided his commercial driver’s license and a social security number but ended up handcuffed.
That part of the law has single-handedly given immigration reform a boost just as its fortune was waning in Congress, while also creating a Prop 187 moment for Arizona Republicans. Their California counterparts learned the hard way what happens when they specifically target the largest growing demographic in the country (and certainly in Arizona).
But if I were an Arizona government official, this is the clause from the law that would keep me up at night:
G. A PERSON MAY BRING AN ACTION IN SUPERIOR COURT TO CHALLENGE ANY OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE THAT ADOPTS OR IMPLEMENTS A POLICY THAT LIMITS OR RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL LAW. IF THERE IS A JUDICIAL FINDING THAT AN ENTITY HAS VIOLATED THIS SECTION, THE COURT SHALL ORDER ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- THAT THE PERSON WHO BROUGHT THE ACTION RECOVER COURT COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES.
- THAT THE ENTITY PAY A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH DAY THAT THE POLICY HAS REMAINED IN EFFECT AFTER THE FILING OF AN ACTION PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION.
In short, anybody can sue their local government if they believe that the municipality isn't pursuing brown people aggressively enough.
I don't think it's crazy to predict that within one year, a substantial number of municipalities in the state of Arizona will be facing lawsuits by anti-immigration zealots. They'll walk down the street, see a couple of brown youths hanging out on the street corner, and BAM! lawsuit filed.
That's the reason that the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the law.
The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the measure, even though many law enforcement unions and advocacy groups supported it.
John Thomas, a lobbyist for the Association of Chiefs of Police, said rural communities would be harmed disproportionately if residents are allowed to file lawsuits against cities or counties that do not enforce of federal immigration law. Many of those communities are small and do not have the ability to defend the suits, much less pay court costs and hefty fines if they lose.
“They may not have an attorney,” he said. “They barely have (enough) police.”
He suggested changing the bill to allow such suits to only be filed by county attorneys or the attorney general.
The police chiefs were ignored, and now citizen lawsuits will cost municipalities valuable time and non-existent money to defend themselves from such lawsuits, and police departments in those municipalities will have to waste valuable time and non-existent money to try and prove that yes, they have been xenophobic enough in harassing brown people.
Thus, Arizona law enforcement will have to balance the need to keep the peace, with the need to sufficiently go after brown people in a way that could provide a defense for the inevitable lawsuits to come. And if they can't prove their xenophobic bona fides, it'll cost their schools, law enforcement, and other valuable government services to the tune of $1-5,000 per day that they haven't eliminated all undocumented workers from their jurisdiction.
For a party desperate to defund government and destroy its ability to serve people, Arizona Republicans may have finally figured out the best way to accomplish that.