Don’t be surprised if police in Arizona seem particularly friendly. And what’s wrong with that, bringing the police closer to the community and generating camaraderie and good will? Happy police. Happy public. Everybody’s happy. Especially anyone in Arizona with dark skin, who speaks Spanish or maybe just has an accent, who wears work boots and stands on a corner. They may well be the special friends of cops.
FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
It begins with “any lawful contact.” There’s nothing unlawful about saying “good morning” to a dark skinned fellow in blue jeans walking down the street. It’s just being friendly. Certainly, cops can be friendly. But now that lawful contact has been made, the response of “buenos dias” may take on new meaning.
The second prong is “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.” This gets a bit dodgy. Does looking like a foreigner suffice for reasonable suspicion to believe the fellow is an illegal? They don’t have scarlet letters on their foreheads, and it’s not clear what part of their appearance, speech or dress would distinguish a legal alien from an illegal. Or even a citizen from an alien. From my view, it’s going to be very hard to tell the illegals from others. But there’s no harm in asking a question between friends.
But there’s nothing wrong with the police officer, after a friendly greeting, asking a fellow if he’s an illegal alien. I mean, it’s just a question and there’s a common law right to inquire. He can’t force the guy to answer. But if he does answer, then the cop can ask for some proof, since the dark skin fellow asserted he’s here legally and the officer would be remiss if he didn’t followup. On the other hand, if he runs from the officer rather than answer, well, that’s suspicion since a legal immigrant would never do that. And it’s definitely suspicious if he refuses to answer.
If the Spanish speaking guy says he doesn’t have his proof of citizenship on him, then the officer will be required to determine his immigration status with the Feds. That could take a while, of course. A day or two. The Feds are busy, you know, and can’t always answer the phone, or run the computer check, or care.
My guess is that there won’t be a lot of Swedes becoming close friends with the Arizona police. It’s unclear how grave a problem exists with illegal Swedish immigration, but word around Arizona is that they have a big problem with Mexicans coming across the border illegally and, if Senator McCain is to be trusted, purposefully crashing cars. Nobody wants to be in a needless car crash.
The good people of Arizona don’t seem to like people from Mexico very much, even if the local police become really close friends with them. I’ve been told in the past that those of us who live in other parts of the country don’t understand how illegal immigrants have overrun their state, causing crime, unemployment and, per the Senator, car crashes. It’s not that I’m not unsympathetic about the problems endured by Arizonians. I am. I wouldn’t want to have my car crashed anymore than the next guy. But that’s no reason not to get all buddy-buddy with the dark skinned, Spanish speaking guy in work boots on the corner.
And what’s wrong with having really friendly cops?