Probable Cause

From our new SB1070 Immigration Law here in AZ (sorry for the caps)

B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

Supporters have said this is not about profiling or harassing people with brown skin.  So what, other than skin color, does constitute probably cause in this case?  Low rider suspension?  Mexican music tapes?

Anyone who things Joe Arpaio will not use this to demand that everyone with brown skin has to show their papers has not been paying attention.  I have driven around for 3 years with a broken tail light and never been stopped.  Had I had brown skin, I would have been stopped years ago.  This is the man who went into tony, lilly white Fountain Hills on a crime sweep and somehow 75% of the those arrested were Hispanic.

Here is one example, where deputies entered a local business, zip-tied and detained everyone who had brown skin, and then later released those who could provide their papers:

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office raided a Mesa landscaping company early Wednesday morning, arresting nearly three dozen people suspected of being in the country illegally.

The raid on offices of Artistic Land Management, on Main Street just west of Dobson Road, happened about 4:30 a.m., according to one worker who was handcuffed and detained before being released when he produced documentation that he was in the country legally"¦.

Juarez estimated about 35 workers were handcuffed with plastic zip-ties while deputies checked for documents. Those who could provide proof they were in the country legally were released, while others were put on buses and taken away.

Update: More from the bill, with language Conservatives would tend to oppose on absolutely anything except immigration

E. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.

Update #2: Steve Chapman also doesn't know how to spot an illegal immigrant.  But that's OK, neither does our governor:

After signing the new law requiring police to check out people who may be illegal immigrants, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was asked how the cops are supposed to know when someone should be screened. "I don't know," she replied. "I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like."

No kidding. But she has a lot of company in her ignorance. When I called University of Arizona law professor Marc Miller and told him I wasn't sure what some of the law's provisions mean, he replied, "Neither is anyone else on the planet." We will find out what it means after it takes effect, not before.

The last sentence seems awfully reminiscent of the health care bill.

  • Max Lybbert

    I don't know what Arpaio will do, and that of course is the problem. Anybody can design and run a government when all government officials are good moral people. It's much harder to get a good government in the real world with real people running it.

    However, in a state where Latinos are likely to become the majority race in the near future, it seems very hard to claim that being Latino is suspicious in any way. Not that Arpaio won't try it, but that the argument is silly.

  • TakeFive

    Your assuming cops want to take on the additional work of immigration inforcement. This is suprising coming from someone who writes so much about needless regulation and interference in small business, since you have direct experience with how governemt works.

    The increasing function of police departments is revenue generation. Shaking down middle class drivers for excessive traffic fines, or taking advantage of asset forfeiture laws is where the action is. Immigration inforcement is eating soup with chopsticks. Pointless and unprofitable.

    At best, this law will spook a few people to relocate to California. I also expect to hear the police union start demanding a wage increase for these "additional" duties.

  • sethstorm


    However, in a state where Latinos are likely to become the majority race in the near future, it seems very hard to claim that being Latino is suspicious in any way. Not that Arpaio won’t try it, but that the argument is silly.

    That doesn't mean you hand the state to them and disregard immigration law.

  • mahtso

    “Supporters have said this is not about profiling or harassing people with brown skin. So what, other than skin color, does constitute probably cause in this case? Low rider suspension? Mexican music tapes?”

    I don’t think any of your examples will give probable cause. I guess it will be case by case, but here are some examples that might show probable cause: a person (or 300) is found to have used forged documents to get a job at Ranch Market; a u-haul truck is pulled over for a traffic violation and there are 57 people stuffed in the back; people are being held hostage by human smugglers because they haven’t paid their fee to those smugglers.

    Granted, in each case one might want a bit more information (e.g., an admission from 1 of the 57 as to the fact that he was being smuggled into the county, which would cast suspicion on the other 56). All three examples are from the news in the last month.

    I know that the blogger will not reply to comments, but I’d like to know if he thinks being Hispanic creates a reasonable suspicion that a person is not in the county legally. I don’t know anyone who thinks that to be the case. But plenty of people are either using it as a straw man or they do think it to be so.

  • Jim Collins

    So what is the racial group of about 90% of illegal aliens? Sounds to me like the City Councilwoman in Pittsburgh who wanted to file a complaint against the Police because 80% of the people arrested in her district were Black. When it was pointed out to her that 80% of the people in her district WERE Black she dropped her complaint. If you can show where Police in Arizona released an illegal alien who was White, Asian or Black then you might have a gripe. On the other hand I have to wonder if more than immigration status was checked here. If it was then there might be a nice Civil lawsuit. Naahh! If that was the case then it would be illegal to do more than check if the driver was sober at a DUI checkpoint.

  • James H

    I can't guess what will be allowed by the courts in the end, but it seems like probable cause wouldn't be skin color, music playing, etc. It's up to the courts, and I'm not a lawyer or a judge, but would think that something more substantial like presenting a Matricula Consular card instead of a driver's license to an officer when pulled over.

    I'm not excited about this law, and this is part of the reason along with the Sheriff's recent tactics. I guess we'll see what happens as some arrests are made and cases brought through the courts, if the law survives the legal challenges leading up to that point.

  • Max Lybbert

    [Me]: However, in a state where Latinos are likely to become the majority race in the near future, it seems very hard to claim that being Latino is suspicious in any way. ...

    [response]: That doesn’t mean you hand the state to them and disregard immigration law.

    My point is only that the argument that "being brown" or "looking Mexican" counts as reasonable suspicion is not a valid argument.

    However, I do have a strong opinion on the question of whether we should legally allow more people into the country, turn a blind eye to people coming into the country illegally, or allow fewer people into the country legally.

    If you look at the alarmism of the population bomb from the '60s and '70s there was a strong consensus that wherever people lived in the world there would be mass starvation and food riots because, frankly, there simply wouldn't be enough to go around. You can go further back. Imagine telling a Union soldier that the continental United States would eventually support 300 million people, and fewer than 2% or 3% of them would be farmers. The only reason we are able to live in the luxury we live in today is that we have a long history of agricultural breakthroughs. We have those breakthroughs because a large number of people live in places where they have freedom of speech, freedom to contract, the ability to profit from their labor, the ability to take chances and either fail miserably or succeed beyond their wildest dreams, etc. It seems to me that the more people we can get living in such places -- let's say industrialized or developed countries -- the brighter the future will be. From a practical standpoint, I would hope that people wouldn't need to pack up and move from their birthplace to enjoy this kind of environment. That is, I would prefer that Mexico's economy improve enough that people no longer have an incentive to leave their families, go to the US, live off of nearly nothing and send money back home. However, if we can't get that, then having more people in the US trying to solve tomorrow's problems seems like a good idea to me.

    I don't see any benefit from having an unofficial policy that involves turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants. It makes more sense that we reduce the incentive to come in illegally: raise or eliminate the immigration quotas, make legal immigration take less than a decade of paperwork and cost less than a small fortune, etc.

  • sethstorm


    I don’t see any benefit from having an unofficial policy that involves turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants

    Businesses do - they get to undercut legitimate labor markets and treat them like trash(since they can threaten to report them). They get cheap labor that is essentially a slave. A win for them, but a loss for the illegal and the US citizen.

    That's why any illegal immigration bill has to come down hard on anyone who participates in that, even if it isn't "business friendly".

  • http://www.azecon.blogspot.com Scott

    You've posted the wrong version of the bill. You posted the version the senate passed and sent to the house. The house changed it and sent it back to the senate which then passed the house version. Here is the link to the house version.

    http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070h.htm

    The section you quote is now much larger:

    B. For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. Any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. The person's immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c).

    And it continues on from there with additional restrictions.

  • http://www.mbts-mbtshoes.com mbts-mbtshoes

    don’t see any benefit

  • IgotBupkis

    > I know that the blogger will not reply to comments, but I’d like to know if he thinks being Hispanic creates a reasonable suspicion that a person is not in the county legally.

    Given all the other things that constitute "reasonable suspicion" under the current interpretation, I would suggest that, given statistics, it IS within the same level of confidence applied in many other legal situations. This is even more so in many places along the US-Mexico border -- say within 500 miles of it.

    I'm (I admit) too lazy to actually attempt to prove that, so I grant it as an unfounded assertion. I am fully open to being proven wrong, but suspect it will not be happening soon, both because it's work and because I don't believe it to be the case.

    That's not arguing in favor of the law, but noting that it's not quite so egregiously wrong as is often suggested. I would love to see how many people who, when polled, would support some form of "national ID card" who oppose this law. And that's just as hypocritical as the civil libertarian who does support it.

    The fact is, "Your Identity Papers, Please" has been a legitimate request from LE for more than 25 years, and probably more than 50.

    "Under any conditions, anywhere, whatever you are doing,
    there is some ordinance under which you can be booked."

    - Robert D. Sprecht,RAND CORP. -

    That quote is not less than 25 years old.

    If you can be "booked", then they can demand you prove to them "who you are", and hold you until they do. Even if the original cause for arrest is thrown out, once you are in custody, they have the "right" to detain you until they are satisfied as to your identity.

    About all this law appears to do is to give teeth to the request for proof of citizenship. I'm not a fan of it, but how, precisely, do you plan to actually enforce any rules regarding immigration without its like, at least until you've actually cleared a reasonable percentage of the illegals out?

    The fact that the Left is so rabidly opposed to it does give one pause to wonder.

    > However, in a state where Latinos are likely to become the majority race in the near future, it seems very hard to claim that being Latino is suspicious in any way.

    LOL, what possible difference can their being "in the majority" make to their legitimate claim of citizenship? If there were 4 "illegal" Latinos in the state for every legal one, and Latinos were 4/5ths of the state's population -- would that make them any less "suspicious" (i.e., likely to be unable to provide proof of citizenship)?

    That's the same kind of fuzzy-headed reasoning that got us here in the first place.

    > They get cheap labor that is essentially a slave.

    And once more Seth takes a fully legitimate position and runs straight off the end of the earth with it.
    :/

    Are we surprised? Does a bear shit in the vatican?

    (A: Of course, a bear shits anywhere he wants to).

    And then there's Seth's example of non-reason fronting as reason -- because, clearly, once you're hired, you dasn't quit and go somewhere else in the country. You ARE indeed a slave.

    Translation, since that's perhaps too subtle for you: Idiot. "As usual".

    Their mobility is part of the problem. You can't enslave someone when they can move freely to some other place where the job isn't so onerous.

    Are they "cheap" labor? Do they take on harder jobs in harsher conditions than is "typical" for US citizens? Sure. But that does not change the majority of legal conditions in which many of them are provided work, which is supervised already by a vast array of government bureaucrats the majority of whom consider the immigration status of workers to be outside of their sphere of concern.

    Does this mean there are NO abuses? No, but it does mean that there are limits to both how badly they can be mistreated and how poorly they can be paid, before they pack up and move to some other location. And if they are being physically held, then the problem has nothing to do with their illegitimate status and everything to do with being kept an illegal prisoner of low-life thugs and their companions. I don't think this law is going to change THAT part of things if it were the case.

    And you know what? Excepting the instance where they are held against their will, if the illegals think it's actually too bad, then there's always a blatantly simple option open to them... capisce ?

  • sethstorm


    Are they “cheap” labor? Do they take on harder jobs in harsher conditions than is “typical” for US citizens

    Yes, and no.

    Yes, they are cheap labor, but they take on work with less safety concerns compared to those taken by legitimate citizens at legitimate wages. The businesses that use them cut out safety and get around laws. They do so until they are justly caught and penalized for their actions. Who's going to complain about conditions or wages if they're threatened w/ deportation or death?


    Excepting the instance where they are held against their will

    The problem is that's how they get here in the first place. Better to deport them and have them fix their own country(vs. wrecking ours w/ amnesty).

  • IgotBupkis

    > Yes, they are cheap labor, but they take on work with less safety concerns compared to those taken by legitimate citizens at legitimate wages.

    Since some of the safety regs have gotten rather preposterous, this is less of a problem than it might be.

    > Who’s going to complain about conditions or wages if they’re threatened w/ deportation or death?

    What kind of an idiot are you?

    Never mind.

    They ALWAYS have a choice. That's why the claim that it's "slavery" is a ridiculous proposition right on the face of it.

    If it's not worth the risk to them, then they won't do it. Who are you to tell them that they cannot choose that risk? Or did you just plan to give them all the benefits of a legal presence in the country without any downside?

    Never mind, I know the answer to that one, too.

    > The problem is that’s how they get here in the first place.

    Oh, what planet are you on that you think these people are dragged here kicking and screaming against their will? I'm not going to claim that NEVER happens but it's pretty rare on THIS side of the Atlantic. Most of these people payed good money to get here illegally. Some of them make arrangements with the wrong people, and that's unfortunate. The solution to that is to solidify the border with Mexico. I haven't noticed you making a lot of noise in that direction.

    (Side note: If there is an unreasonable -- by my definition, which almost certainly differs from yours -- "indentured servant" thing going on, then yeah, I think THAT needs to be stomped on)

    > Better to deport them and have them fix their own country(vs. wrecking ours w/ amnesty).

    I have no problem at all with that suggestion, though it seems cruel to deny them any chance to work here and earn their way in one way or another. Some of them are the main means of support for their people back in Mexico -- "slave" wages and all, they're making far more money, typically, here than they would be back home, which is one of the reasons why they are HERE and not THERE.

    HOWEVER: If you don't support this immigration law, then how, precisely, were you planning on knowing who you could deport?

    Also:
    > They get cheap labor that is essentially a slave. A win for them, but a loss for the illegal and the US citizen.

    I just noticed this comment. Questionable presumption all around. As usual, you revert to "on/off" logic in an analog situation for every individual involved.

    a) Granted -- The businessman certainly tends to benefit, they get cheaper labor with somewhat fewer safety restrictions, and a more servile employee as well.
    b) The benefits to the illegal are hardly trivial. They make a tradeoff of work here vs. be unemployed back in Mexico, or make far less money, or be far less safe (in most cases I'll lay odds that even the US businessman usually provides safer conditions than Mexican law requires) AND they have access (at the risk of deportation at worst) to a much better health care system than they have at home to compensate.
    c) The citizen certainly benefits -- they get cheaper goods. The hoary lie that this is somehow "displacing" an American worker is 90% crap. Most of the jobs done are menial labor that the average person in the USA flat-out doesn't want to do. You want to take a job for minimum wage that involves shoveling dirt in the hot sun? "Oh, but they'll be forced to raise wages" -- RIGHT... And WHO EATS THAT? The businessman who has to hire the guy shoveling the dirt? NO, you nit. It comes out of the pockets of either the person paying the businessman for the job requiring the dirt to be shoveled, or out of the pockets of the taxpayer who are paying for the businessman to do whatever it is that he's contracted to do. That's the problem with your thinking, usually, Seth -- you don't grasp the fact that money doesn't grown on trees. It doesn't just "appear" out of nowhere, it has to be produced by SOMEONE. So if job "a" costs more, then SOMEONE out there is PAYING more. And that's usually going to be YOU AND ME in the long run. And trust me "raised wages" also results in FEWER workers being hired, often. Because that's one of the ways businesspeople compensate for increased costs -- they cut back on service levels and expenses. This is a basic economics concept which you've shown any number of times you don't grasp: Opportunity costs -- when you spend money on "A", it's not available to do "B". Higher wages for job 'x' means either less of job 'x' gets done, or people pay more for the same results. YOU and ME pay more. Q.E.D, your claim that the US citizen doesn't benefit is clearly ludicrous on the surface.

    In reality, there's no doubt an optimum balance in terms of maximized general benefit for all three -- business, illegal, and citizen. But the fact is, the reason why we DON'T take these illegals all that seriously is that for the most part there are clear advantages to society to not do so.

  • sethstorm


    Oh, what planet are you on that you think these people are dragged here kicking and screaming against their will? I’m not going to claim that NEVER happens but it’s pretty rare on THIS side of the Atlantic. Most of these people payed good money to get here illegally. Some of them make arrangements with the wrong people, and that’s unfortunate. The solution to that is to solidify the border with Mexico. I haven’t noticed you making a lot of noise in that direction.

    Define "solidifying the border with Mexico".

    My definition:
    I: Define the border and protect it.
    Large, heavily fortified & monitored wall that has 2 goals:
    1) Disincentivizing attempts to illegally cross with intelligence, firepower, and manpower. Offer the unemployed across the nation such opportunity to be a part of this program. Ideally, this can come from citizens that had their job offshored.
    2) Directing those who wish to cross towards legal crossings where their status can be properly assessed.

    II: Provide for a policy that discourages illegal presence
    1) Start with Arizona's laws as a model, putting teeth into identification/verification requirements.
    2) Allow the illegal to make reports against a business without immediate penalty.
    3) Provide for meaningful consequences for businesses that use said labor directly or indirectly, that cannot be passed on to the consumer or worked around in law.

    Harsh, but nice only gets people to work around it.


    a) Granted — The businessman certainly tends to benefit, they get cheaper labor with somewhat fewer safety restrictions, and a more servile employee as well.

    They're an indentured servant, no ifs and buts about it. They are not going to complain if the coyote threatens to kill or the person hiring them reports them to the INS.


    The citizen certainly benefits — they get cheaper goods. The hoary lie that this is somehow “displacing” an American worker is 90% crap. Most of the jobs done are menial labor that the average person in the USA flat-out doesn’t want to do. You want to take a job for minimum wage that involves shoveling dirt in the hot sun? “Oh, but they’ll be forced to raise wages” — RIGHT… And WHO EATS THAT? The businessman who has to hire the guy shoveling the dirt? NO, you nit.

    Oh, they do want to do it, just that they ask for legitimate rates of pay. Using an illegal circumvents the market forces that legitimate citizens exert. Again, they want to do it, just that you don't want to pay the market rate(or even the legal rate) for them.

    If you can't compete without using illegal labor, you have no business to be in business. Your business model is somehow broken badly enough that you cannot survive without adverse consequences(e.g. bankruptcy). To think of it, it is similar to asking for a bail-out - in that you no longer wish to be beholden to market forces.


    It comes out of the pockets of either the person paying the businessman for the job requiring the dirt to be shoveled, or out of the pockets of the taxpayer who are paying for the businessman to do whatever it is that he’s contracted to do. That’s the problem with your thinking, usually, Seth — you don’t grasp the fact that money doesn’t grown on trees. It doesn’t just “appear” out of nowhere, it has to be produced by SOMEONE. So if job “a” costs more, then SOMEONE out there is PAYING more. And that’s usually going to be YOU AND ME in the long run. And trust me “raised wages” also results in FEWER workers being hired, often. Because that’s one of the ways businesspeople compensate for increased costs — they cut back on service levels and expenses. This is a basic economics concept which you’ve shown any number of times you don’t grasp: Opportunity costs — when you spend money on “A”, it’s not available to do “B”. Higher wages for job ‘x’ means either less of job ‘x’ gets done, or people pay more for the same results. YOU and ME pay more. Q.E.D, your claim that the US citizen doesn’t benefit is clearly ludicrous on the surface.

    That still doesn't defend the use of illegals. They're used as a way to get around having to hire a citizen for the market rate. If they get fewer initial citizens, fine. Once the businesses that can't compete without using illegal labor are gone, a legitimate market will develop and serve citizens.

    These aren't simply jobs that citizens won't do. They are jobs that citizens will not do for the wages you ask. The nation got along fine when citizens did these jobs. Yes, people will pay more - but it won't be the exaggerated prices some talk about.

  • Andrew

    "Large, heavily fortified & monitored wall"

    ...If that actually seems like a good idea, then it's way, way too late for you.

  • sethstorm


    ...If that actually seems like a good idea, then it’s way, way too late for you.

    Not really seeing much other ways to deal with it and isolate the crime. At least, nothing that doesn't seem like outright amnesty.

    What kind of better idea do you have to that end?

    If someone wants in this nation, the process starts with them in their own nation. Not when they've already made an illegal crossing.