Email exposes anti-immigration lawyer specifically targeted poor Latinos
By Gavin Dahl
The Raw Story
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Correspondence between lawyer Kris Kobach and Arizona state Sen. Russell
Pearce (R-Mesa) suggests that Arizona's new immigration law, conceived in
the nation's capital, was intended to hit poor Latinos the hardest.
Kobach, an attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, has been a
key player behind the scenes on one of the country's most controversial
immigration "fixes." In a recent Think Progress exclusive, readers got a
glimpse of an email from Kobach to Sen. Pearce dated April 28.
" When we drop out "lawful contact" and replace it with "a stop,
detention, or rest, in the enforcement a violation of any title or section
of the Arizona code" we need to add "or any county or municipal ordinance."
This will allow police to use violations of property codes (ie. cars on
blocks in the yard) or rental codes (too many occupants of a rental
accommodation) to initiate queries as well."
Arizona lawmakers updated their law April 29, responding to nationwide
According to Thing Progress, one of those changes replaces the phrase
"lawful contact" with "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to "apparently
clarify that officers don't need to question a victim or witness about their
Pearce said the intent is to clarify that "this bill prohibits racial
profiling in any form." Opponents pointed out the word "solely" could allow
officers to base their reasonable suspicion on race and color as long as it
wasn't just one of them.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) said the bill is more clear because of those
two changes, but she called the third change, regarding county and city
Andrea Nill of Think Progress concludes:
"More importantly, Kobach is basically admitting to Pearce that by allowing
police to use the violation of "any county or municipal ordinance" as a
basis for inquiring about a person's immigration status, the bill will still
cast a wide enough net to help offset the effect of omitting the "lawful
contact" language which would've allowed police to ask just about anyone
they encounter about their immigration status. The examples Kobach provides,
"cars on blocks in the yard" or "too many occupants of a rental
accommodation," suggest that net will mostly end up being cast over the
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