AZ Police are to be trained to consider a person, who speaks poor English, traveling in an overcrowded car or simply looking nervous when deciding if they are dealing with an illegal immigrant. They may also consider if someone is hanging out in an area where illegals are known to seek out employment or wearing several layers of close on a hot day. The training video comes with a strict warning though that race or ethnicity may not be considered, emphasizing that the “entire country is watching.”
The law however only applies to traffic stops, and people detained or arrested. Police in Arizona are not required to look into the immigration status of victims, witnesses or if a person simply flags them down. Anyone who shows a valid Arizona state license is presumed to be legal.
Arizona is home to nearly 2 million Hispanics who are either US citizens or legal residents. (Approx. 30% of the population) The estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona are almost all Hispanic.
If the officer suspects they may be dealing with an illegal immigrant, they are instructed to call Border Patrol, a federal immigration authority. If the feds refuse to pick up the immigrants, the police are instructed to take them to jail or a federal detention center. Each police department will determine how they wish to train their officers. There is no legal requirement that training be completed before the bill takes affect on July 29.
Stephen Montoya, a lawyer representing police officers suing to block the law, said the video is “a good introduction” but isn’t sufficient to train officers on immigration law.
“I thought it would be more detailed. I thought it would be more thorough. I thought it would be more expansive,” he said.