The Arizona uproar

In a state where it's legal to walk in public with a gun slung over the shoulder, where hard-line politicians have the majority vote, and a tough-guy sheriff (Joe Arpaio) makes public appearances on national TV saying, "Lock 'em up," it shouldn't have...


_Human smuggling is now a state crime.

_It is now a crime for a motor vehicle to stop and pick up day laborers and for day laborers to get in a motor vehicle if it impedes traffic flow.

One day before the law was to take effect, Scottsdale Police Department issued field orders, stating, "[SPD] employees have been prepared and trained to fully implement SB 1070 prior to the court's ruling. We have extensively reviewed the court's ruling and provided guidance on the enforcement of the remaining provisions to all police personnel.

The July 28, 2010 court ruling substantially leaves current SPD enforcement practices regarding immigration and foreign nationals unchanged. These policies and procedures comply with all of the remaining sections of SB1070 and do not restrict our officers in using their discretion to utilize federal resources when appropriate."

A law in limbo

And Gov. Brewer's office has appealed. The law is now in limbo, held up in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals till the first week of November. Some experts expect the case to wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though the law is stuck in the court system, Mann says his training is still relevant, since "Most people don't know what this bill does, or why it's there," he says, explaining that it's just as much a struggle about immigration as it is about "union in management."

Mann says some people believe the new law gave local law enforcement additional power, but he says that's not true.

"What it did was direct officers to do what they already could do," he says, adding that the courts did decide that the portion of the bill explaining that was, as one of the governor's lawyers put it, "inartfully written."

This was for officers on the street who felt their chiefs were constraining them from doing their jobs, Mann says, explaining, "Law enforcement will always be able to stop people. The problem with the law as it was written was that it said they had to."

That's the part VillaseƱor was concerned about when he filed a declaration and became party to the Department of Justice lawsuit against the state. In his statement, he argues that the new law would remove his ability "to provide guidance and direction to his officers...

"The impact of illegal immigration on Arizona's well-being cannot be denied. But to require local police to act as immigration agents when a lack of local resources

already makes enforcing criminal laws and ordinances a challenging proposition, is not realistic. Our community will suffer as a result, with a decrease in quality of life, and an increase in local mistrust of police," he wrote in his declaration.

Estrada agrees, underscoring the fact that border patrol officers attend 6-8 months of academy training, and police officers received less than two hours of video.

Even though not a single officer was required to watch the 94-minute video, intended for first responders only, Mann says he's pretty sure everybody did and doesn't think it was a wasted effort and acknowledges it wasn't enough.

"But we were able to say some things in that video that we could not have ever said at any other time...because we would have come off sounding preachy," he says, though he also acknowledges a mixed audience of opinions.

Some law enforcement heads, including Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead and Estrada, continue to be concerned about their relationship with the community, that they won't be able to rely on Hispanics, for one, who feel threatened by this law, to come forward as witnesses when needed.

Those issues were not addressed satisfactorily in the video.

Mann says his agency will continue to review and provide "more training once we figure out what is needed."

None of the controversy, however, is stopping other states from trying to enact similar laws. Utah just introduced its copycat bill, and a delegation of Colorado State Republicans were in Phoenix in August, meeting with Arizona politicians for advice on how to create a similar bill of their own, and also on how to defend it in court if necessary. Americans for Legal Immigration, a national organization focused on fighting against amnesty and illegal immigration, announced in a press release on August 18 that 22 states are also now pushing their own versions of Arizona's SB 1070.

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