Argument: Arizona cops will justly apply “reasonable suspicion” of illegals

Issue Report: Arizona illegal immigration law


George F. Will. “A law Arizona can live with.” Dallas News. April 28, 2010: “Arizona police officers, like officers everywhere, have enough to do without being required to seek arrests by violating settled law with random stops of people who speak Spanish. In the practice of the complex and demanding craft of policing, good officers – the vast majority – routinely make nuanced judgments about when there is probable cause for acting on reasonable suspicions of illegality.”

Stan Sudero. “Arizona’s law has national support.” The Reporter. May 2nd, 2010: “When a peace officer in Arizona suspects that someone may be an illegal alien, the new law gives him the authority to question that individual. I have no problem at all producing documentation during a DUI or traffic checkpoint, and officers have always been courteous with their authority. To suggest that Arizona (or California) peace officers are bigoted, or that skin color determines treatment under law is offensive. RJ Matson’s editorial cartoon “Anglozona” (The Reporter, April 29) demonstrates this inaccurate, racist and paranoid view of authority.”

Kris Kobach. “Why Arizona Drew a Line.” New York Times. April 28th, 2010: “[Argument:] ‘Reasonable suspicion’ is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. [Counter-argument:] Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the ‘totality of circumstances’ that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.”