"However intended, the result of passing the law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question," Sarver said, "and Arizona's already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them."
There are some in Arizona who agree with Sarver but not as many as one might think. Most of his applause and support is coming from those outside the State, particularly in Northeastern States not as affected by illegal immigration as border States like Arizona are.
Sarver has been making noise for some time now, going back a few months and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has allowed him his say. However, she hasn't been silent over Sarver's comments and makes some pretty interesting and thought provoking questions of her own, this particular idea of hers was directed at businesspersons like Sarver and others who really are not necessarily touched daily by the results of uncontrollable illegal immigration and gaping holes in the Southern border.
For Sarver and others the Governor had these comments:
"What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?"
I can appreciate Mr. Sarver's concerns over some of the very cornerstones of our republic; those of equal rights and protection under the law. I don't agree with his economical viewpoint that steming the tide of illegal immigration will be a setback to an already hurting economy. There are those within the financial community who make just as valid of an argument that the steady, unchecked flow of illegal immigrants is one of the biggest and most detrimental drains on any economy, including the American one.
There have been three main cases involving the equal rights and protection under the law for all persons in the U.S. regardless of their legal (or illegal) status. As far back as 1886 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) interpreted the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in Yick Wo v. Hopkins to include all persons living within the borders of the United States of America "without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality" and to any "alien, who has entered the country, and has become subject in all respects to its jurisdiction, and a part of its population, although alleged to be illegally here." Again in 1896 for the Wong Wing vs U.S. case SCOTUS determined that the 5th & 6th Amendments of the Constitution states in the Court's opinion "that all persons within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection guaranteed by those amendments, and that even aliens shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." In the 20th Century case of Plyler v. Doe SCOTUS shot down a Texas State law that forbid the enrollment into public schools of illegal aliens or their children. The Court held that, "The illegal aliens who are plaintiffs in these cases challenging the statute may claim the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is a 'person' in any ordinary sense of that term. The undocumented status of these children vel non does not establish a sufficient rational basis for denying them benefits that the State affords other residents."
There are many rights that U.S. citizens have that are not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to those here illegally. Illegal aliens do not have the right to vote in U.S. national, state or local elections. They are not allowed to legally own or carry any kind of firearm and if found by police or government authorities to be here illegally they can readily be deported to their home country post-haste without recourse. However, when it comes to what SCOTUS has termed "basic, fundamental rights," such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," which may include such things as property, a public education for themselves or their children, healthcare to ensure theirs and the public safety - all persons, legal and illegal, are promised by law the rights granted to all Americans. That may be a very hard pill to swallow for many in the United States, especially those living in States like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas but it remains one of the grandest and most idealistic foundational truths of this nation of immigrants.
The big question then is does the new Arizona Immigration Laws violate the U.S. Constitution and past decisions made by SCOTUS as it relates to Constitutional Amendments? The Court hasn't yet fully decided on this issue and it will likely be some time before a full ruling comes forth. It's main core has survived some attempts to get it overturned but the future of all the law is still uncertain. Let's take a look at some of the proposals of the law to see if it violates any amendments or statues currently in place that already affect all persons, citizens, non-citizens and illegals.
Under most State laws, including Arizona law, a person is required to show a State approved Identification Card if one of the following should occur:
Pulled Over by police for any reason - Make purchases using a credit card - Arrive at hospital, doctor or dentist office for healthcare - When filling out a loan or credit card application - If applying for a driver's license or passport - While filling out an application for higher education - When applying for any kind of insurance - Upon receiving a prescription drug that is a controlled substance or purchasing an OTC now considered dangerous by the FDA, ATF and Homeland Security - When donating blood - When using a debit card out-of-State - When issuing and collecting a boarding pass on an airline or railway.
Since all these I.D. requirements are Arizona State Law for all people living in the State and have not been challenged as un-Constitutional for its citizens then it is not a law that is un-Constitutional for illegal aliens as well. All persons are equally affected by this section of the law.
It is a requirement under U.S. Federal law that all aliens over the age of fourteen who remain in the United States for more than thirty days are to register with the U.S. government and have their registration documents in their possession at all times. Any violation of this law is a federal misdemeanor crime and subject to immediate prosecution in a federal court. The Arizona Act added to this Federal law that within the boundaries of the State any alien not carrying the required Federal documents would also face a State misdemeanor charge, giving the federal mandate more teeth within the borders of Arizona. SB 1070 also requires Arizona State law enforcement officers to attempt a determination of an individual's immigration status during any "lawful stop, detention or arrest", or during a "lawful contact" not specific to any particular activity when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant. This statue also bars any state or local official or Arizona State agency from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws. It also imposes strong penalties on any person or organization caught sheltering, hiring and transporting unregistered aliens in to or out of Arizona.
It is this one section of the law that has brought the most scrutiny from certain human rights advocates and the ACLU. They have argued that it gives too much latitude to State law enforcement officers to indiscriminately "profile" certain types and purposefully pull them aside based upon their appearance or language spoken while leaving "white English-speaking" persons non-accosted. They believe that, as an example, if a white looking person is pulled over for speeding, they will likely be given a ticket and told to move on after it has been determined that are driving their own car and have no outstanding warrants. If a "dark-skinned," or "mexican-looking" person is pulled over then they will not only go through the same checks as the other person but will also have to prove they are citizens of the United States and are legally in the country, where that would not have been the case with the first person pulled over in this example. In States like Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Southern California where there is a very large latino population it is understandable why they would be concerned, especially since most are natural born citizens or have come to this country legally. I do agree that if a law enforcement officer stops anyone for whatever reason they deem legally to do so, then all persons, regardless of the color of their skin or the language they may converse in should be treated equally and fairly under the law. If the latino person is asked for proof of citizenship then the same need apply to the caucasian looking person as well. This current section of the Arizona Law may need to be reworded or looked at again to ensure this is exactly what happens and if it doesn't then the Arizona law should give the person recourse in the courts to make their case against the authority.
What the SCOTUS declarations in the three above Court cases cited do not allow for is the free passage of illegal immigrants into the country. They simply protect some of the basic human rights every person should expect from a country like the United States which is expected to practice what it preaches and says it believes in through the words and actions of its founders and those who fought, lived and died to ensure this remains a land of freedom for all those seeking a life of liberty. All that being said I must agree with Dennis Miller when he so eloquently stated, "I don't care if you come to this country, just get at the back of the line and sign on the dotted line when you enter."