Gov. Brewer Commentary

Gov. Jan Brewer’s Commentary on ESPN.com:

1. The new Arizona law creates a state penalty to mirror what already is a federal crime. Despite the most vile and hate-filled portrayals of proponents of the law as “Nazis,” actions that have been condemned nationally by the Anti-Defamation League, it is ALREADY a federal requirement for legal aliens in the United States to carry their green card or other immigration document. The new Arizona law enforces what has been a federal crime since before World War II. As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar laws.

2. Contrary to many of the horror stories being spread — President Obama suggested families risk being pulled over while going out for ice cream — law enforcement cannot randomly ask anyone about their immigration status. Much like enforcement of seat belt laws in many states, under SB 1070 there must first be reasonable suspicion that you are breaking some OTHER non-immigration law before an officer can ask a person about their legal status. Only then, after law enforcement officers have a “reasonable suspicion” that another law has been broken, can they inquire about immigration status — but ONLY if that individual’s behavior provides “reasonable suspicion” that the person is here illegally.

“Reasonable suspicion” is a well-understood concept that has been thoroughly vetted through numerous federal court cases. Many have asked: What is reasonable suspicion? Is it race, skin color or national origin? No! Racial profiling is prohibited in the new law. Examples of reasonable suspicion include: a person running away when approached by law enforcement officers, or a car failing to stop when the police turn on their lights and siren.

3. Arizona’s local law enforcement officers, who already reflect the great diversity of culture in our state, are going to be trained to enforce the new immigration law in a constitutional manner. It is shameful and presumptive for opponents to question the good will and the competence of Arizona’s law enforcement personnel. The specter that is raised of rogue, racist police harassing people is insulting to those in Arizona who risk their lives in the name of law enforcement every day.

President Theodore Roosevelt said, “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.” Arizona has been more than patient waiting for Washington to act. Decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation. Arizona has acted to enforce the rule of law equally and without bias toward any person.

It is time for our country to act to resolve our border security problem; an economic boycott in Arizona would only exacerbate it — and hurt innocent families and businesses merely seeking to survive during these difficult economic times.

A boycott that would actually improve border security would be to boycott illegal drugs. Dramatically less drug use and production would do wonders for the safety of all our communities.

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