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Arizona Lawmakers to Clarify "Lawful Contact"

1:22 PM, Apr 30, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Via Rich Lowry, the Arizona Republic reports that the Arizona House has approved changes to the new immigration law to clarify that police officers cannot use racial profiling as grounds to check on immigration status and that "lawful contact"--a prerequisite for an immigration check--means "lawful stop, detention or arrest:

The Arizona House approved several new changes to Arizona's new immigration law

. The changes still need final approval from the Senate before being passed along to the governor. If Gov. Jan Brewer supports them, they would go into effect at the same time the new law would.

The phrase "lawful contact" would be changed to "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to clarify that an officer would not need to question a crime victim or witness about their legal status.

The word "solely" would be eliminated from the sentence "A law enforcement official or agency … may not solely consider race, color or national origin" in establishing reasonable suspicion that someone is in the country illegally. 


Also, Byron York writes today on the prospects of Arizona's law being upheld in court:

We know one thing for sure about the fight over Arizona's new immigration law. Civil-rights groups will file a lawsuit trying to kill the law and will ask a federal judge to issue an injunction to keep it from taking effect as scheduled this summer. What we don't know is how those proceedings will be affected by the Obama Justice Department, which is contemplating the highly unusual step of filing its own suit against the state of Arizona. Also unknown is the influence of President Obama himself, who has gone out of his way to raise questions -- some of them strikingly uninformed -- about the law.

The drafters of the law knew the lawsuit was coming; a lawsuit is always coming when a state tries to enforce the nation's immigration laws. What the drafters didn't expect was Obama's aggressive and personal role in trying to undermine the new measure.

"You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona ..." the president said Tuesday at a campaign-style appearance in Iowa, "suddenly, if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed." On the same day, Attorney General Eric Holder said he was considering a court challenge.

"The practice of the Justice Department in the past with states involving immigration has been to let the courts settle it and not weigh in as a party," says Kris Kobach, the law professor and former Bush Justice Department official who helped draft the Arizona law. Having Justice intervene, Kobach and other experts say, would be extraordinary.

The problem for Obama and Holder is that the people behind the new law have been through this before -- and won. Arizona is three-for-three in defending its immigration measures. In 2008, the state successfully defended its employer-sanctions law, which made it a state crime to knowingly employ an illegal immigrant. Facing some of the same groups that are now planning to challenge the new law, Arizona prevailed both in federal district court and at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation's most liberal federal appeals court.

Read more at the Washington Examiner.

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