Much Ado About Nothing

Arizona lawmakers modify immigration law:

Arizona lawmakers late Thursday narrowed a controversial immigration law signed last week by the governor in hopes of quelling a national firestorm over suggestions it will force police to racially profile Latinos while looking for illegal immigrants…

The initial law forbade race from being used “solely” to form the suspicion but not from being a factor. Civil rights lawyers contended that it essentially legalized racial profiling.

In the final hours of their legislative session, after three federal lawsuits were filed contending the law is unconstitutional, lawmakers removed the word “solely,” explicitly banning race from being used at all by police.

This change means nothing; police use racial profiling as their sole basis for making contact all the time, but they know how to manufacture other reasons to obscure that fact. Further, the change doesn’t lessen the tremendous pressure on Arizona’s police to arrest illegal immigrants; while the legislature also lowered the fines police departments would pay if sued for not rounding up “enough” illegals, the profit motive remains for right-wing groups like the Immigration Reform Law Institute and it’s parent group, FAIR to launch suits statewide.

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