Arizona's immigration law: What do you think?

Roseville residents react to the controversial law
By: Brad Smith -- The Press Tribune
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Battle lines are being drawn as debate rages over Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23. Earlier this month, hundreds of thousands of people held rallies throughout California denouncing the Arizona law as racist. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed 60 percent of Americans favored the idea of police checking to see if people were legal immigrants. How do Roseville residents feel about the issue? “I’m on the fence when it comes to this issue – pardon the pun,” said Joey Vaughan. “I think there is a problem but it’s being handled the wrong way.” Vaughan said he has worked with many illegal immigrants in the past back when he worked in restaurants. “Look, they’re up here to make money and help out their families,” the Roseville resident said. “And they’re doing jobs that many people refuse to do. They pick our food, they clean restaurant toilets and street gutters – jobs people hate to do. But I know they have to go through a process of being here. And yes I feel they should.” Working for a Sacramento insurance company, Vaughan said he was recently in Arizona for a few weeks for job training. Some members of his class included Hispanic-American citizens who were unhappy with the law. “They understood the law and knew why the state was taking action,” he said. “But they weren’t happy about the idea of being stopped by police and asked to prove they’re American citizens. I wouldn’t like being treated like that. Who would?” Landon Capagli of Rocklin said he supported the law but had reservations. “I think the law should be enforced,” he said. “But there shouldn’t be racial profiling. Check everyone – there are a lot of Russian and eastern European immigrants who might be here illegally. What’s being done about them?” Greg Reading of Roseville supported the law. “It tells the federal government that they need to step up and take some responsibility for this issue,” he said. “If they’d done something more proactive earlier we wouldn’t be having this problem.” Like Vaughan and Capagli, he said the law’s focus should not be on Hispanics and other non-whites. “It’s just not non-whites coming to this country,” he said. “If you’re going to check one group then you need to check everyone. It’s only fair and if you don’t then it’s racial profiling and it’s wrong.” ---------- Arizona law SB 1070: Purpose Requires officials and agencies of the state and political subdivisions to fully comply with and assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and gives county attorneys subpoena power in certain investigations of employers. Establishes crimes involving trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens, and their respective penalties. Background Federal law provides that any alien who 1) enters or attempts to enter the U.S. at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, 2) eludes examination by immigration officers, or 3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the U.S. by a willfully false or misleading representation is guilty of improper entry by an alien. For the first commission of the offense, the person is fined, imprisoned up to six months, or both, and for a subsequent offense, is fined, imprisoned up to 2 years, or both. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the primary authority for enforcing immigration laws. ICE was created in March 2003 as an investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE was the result of combining the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service. Current statute defines criminal trespass in the first degree as a person knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in areas related to residential structures, residential yards, real property subject to a valid mineral claim or lease under certain circumstances, property if the person defaces religious symbols or religious property, or critical public service facilities. Depending on the circumstances, criminal trespass in the first degree provides penalties ranging from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony. The law can be read here: ---------- Brad Smith can be reached at