Rep. John Kavanagh conceded during a panel discussion of S1070 last week that the law could impact people who have committed no crime, despite earlier promises by immigration hawks that the law will only be applied if another crime has been committed.
Supporters of the law have said for months that it will not impact people unless they’ve already committed a crime. But those statements have been disputed by legal experts who say anybody who bumps into a police officer for any reason – crime or not – may be detained and arrested if they cannot prove they are a legal resident.
Lyle Mann, director of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training board, said what constitutes a “stop, detainment or arrest” is really much broader than the law’s supporter’s have been conveying since the law was signed April 23.
“The truth of the matter is an officer can stop anyone for any reason and ask them anything,” Mann said. “Is that kind? Is that brutish? That’s another question.”
Mann, though, said the training material his agency will release at 10 a.m. today addresses this and many other issues that law enforcement officers across the state will need to consider before they go out and enforce the law starting at the end of the month.
“From the people who have watched the video already, I’ve gotten very positive reviews,” Mann said. “They said it covered all the points they were interested in.”
Mann said the video will also offer guidance on the issue of reasonable suspicion, recognizing and identifying all acceptable IDs and procedures for contacting federal immigration officers, when an immigration check has been initiated. Gov. Brewer tasked AZPOST with producing and providing the training materials for the new law, though it will not be mandatory.
Kavanagh’s comments came during a discussion of the law hosted by the Arizona Latino Media Association at the Fennemore Craig office in downtown Phoenix. Kavanagh was the lone supporter of the law on the panel. He was joined by Fennemore Craig immigration attorneys Nancy-Jo Merritt and Antonio Bustamante, as well as local journalistand author Terry Greene Sterling.
In response to a question from a reporter, Kavanagh acknowledged that law enforcement could enforce S1070 after conducting a “Terry stop,” named for the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Terry v. Ohio, which set the precedent that a police officer does not need suspicion that a crime has already been committed to initiate a lawful contact.
Kavanagh, who thoroughly explained the history of the case to the audience, nonetheless seemed not to have considered that this routine police action contradicts explanations of the law he and others have offered.
“There will certainly be court decisions on this new law,” Kavanaugh said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”
If that creates legal problems for the new statute, he said follow-up legislation may be needed to avoid lawsuits.