Last Friday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial Arizona immigration bill into law. Despite President Obama's comments last week that the bill was a "misguided" attempt to control the state's problems with illegal immigration, and despite growing protests, the Governor pressed forward.
The new law includes provisions for the following: immigrants must carry their alien registration documents at all times and police must question anyone they have a "reasonable suspicion" is the United States illegally. The law also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them. Finally, the law permits individual lawsuits against any government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws.
Much of the criticism of the bill centers around the new requirement that police must question anyone they have a reasonable suspicion is in the state illegally. The bill itself does not define what constitutes a reasonable suspicion and the governor says she does not know either. CNN reports that when asked what criteria will be used to establish reasonable suspicion of a person's legal status, Brewer said, "I don't know. I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like."
According to CNN, it will be up to the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to establish rules and training for officers enforcing the new law. The regulations accomplishing this goal are due to Governor Brewer in May. The law will go into effect 90 days after the close of the legislative session, which has not yet been set.
Legal challenges have been promised from more than one group. The Associated Press reports both the Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Legal Defense Fund and The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund plan court challenges to the law.
The AP quotes Governor Jan Brewer as saying, "We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent, or social status," she said. "We must prove the alarmists and the cynics wrong." What has not been discussed so far, is just how she intends to do this.