Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the federal government may go to court to challenge Arizona’s new law which makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.
The controversial bill gives Arizona law enforcement the authority to stop people whom officers have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally, detain these individuals while verifying immigration status, and arrest undocumented immigrants for transfer to ICE custody. The bill, also known as the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” also makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and to provide transportation to someone you know is undocumented.
Those who oppose the bill are concerned about possible civil rights violations, and worried that the legislation will lead to racial profiling — a major concern for Arizona’s approximately 30% Hispanic population and larger mixed race population. The bill does not list the characteristics officers will be looking for to determine “reasonable suspicion.”
The Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department are reviewing the state law, which takes effect in late July or early August, 90 days after the Arizona Legislature adjourns.
A number of options are under consideration including “the possibility of a court challenge,” the attorney general said in response to questions on the Arizona law posed during a news conference on another topic.
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