Law officers to enforce 'papers please' provision
Arizonans could soon know the impact of the controversial “papers please” provision of the state's law against illegal immigration.
Law enforcement agencies were given clearance to enforce the provision this week after two years of court-ordered delay. Under the law, police officers are mandated to check the immigration status of those detained for other reasons if there is reason to believe the person is in this country illegally.
The big question, of course, is who will be determined to be suspicious by law officers? Opponents feel it will lead to illegal racial profiling and improper detention of individuals, especially Latinos.
It is likely there will be an initial delay in imposing the “papers please” provision while law enforcement agencies determine their policies on how to best implement it and perhaps give extra training to officers on detention and interrogation methods.
But at some point in the near future, these agencies will go “live” with the process. Once that happens, it is likely the process will be closely monitored by those suspicious of the requirement. Opponents will be looking for an opportunity to legally challenge what is happening. And supporters will be looking to see that it is strictly enforced.
In the end, we expect another long legal fight over the “papers please” provision will be instituted again, this time based on racial profiling. It could very well be another long court battle ending up before the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already indicated it will be waiting for such a challenge.
Unfortunately, the ones most likely to be caught in the middle of this will be law enforcement agencies and officers simply trying to do their duty to enforce the law as is required of them.