Anti-Immigration Laws In Red States Threaten Our Civil Liberties
Drivers in Texas now have to prove citizenship. But there is a lawsuit in Texas questioning whether the Department of Public Safety has the legal status to check on the legal status of individuals. Even worse, new anti-immigration laws in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama make Arizona’s mean-spirited immigration law pale in comparison.
The laws vary in their details but share a common strategy: to make it impossible for people without papers to live without fear.
They give new powers to local police untrained in immigration law. They force businesses to purge work forces and schools to check students’ immigration status. And they greatly increase the danger of unreasonable searches, false arrests, racial profiling and other abuses, not just against immigrants, but anyone who may look like some officer’s idea of an illegal immigrant.
The laws empower local police officers to demand the documents of people they meet, and to detain those they suspect are here illegally. That means they can make warrantless arrests for assumed civil immigration violations, a stunning abuse of power.
The laws also make it illegal to give a ride to the undocumented, so a son could land in jail for driving his mother to the supermarket, or a church volunteer for ferrying families to a soup kitchen.
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