Tag Archives: illegal immigration

Arizona and the Fourth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

by Bill Golden
JeffersonConservatives.com and Bill4DogCatcher.com

A permanent resident alien is entitled to constitutional protection, and specifically the protection of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

For all Americans, knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is important — probable cause, reasonable suspicion, search and seizure all have highly defined meanings.

Below are two important constitutional challenges that are relevant to Arizona’s recently passed law SB1070:

Landon v. Plasencia, 459 U.S. 21, 32-4 (1982):
‘[O]nce an alien gains admission to our country and begins to develop the ties that go with permanent residence, his constitutional status changes accordingly.’ Bottomline: Legal aliens (immigrants) have full protection of the U.S. Constitution.

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 392 U.S. 1 (1968):
As for how reasonable suspicion plays a role in checking someone’s identification, the courts acknowledges that this is a tricky area of law. However, the bottom line is that the police are ultimately held to an objective justification reviewable by the courts.

“It is quite plain that the Fourth Amendment governs “seizures” of the person which do not eventuate in a trip to the station house and prosecution for crime – “arrests” in traditional terminology. It must be recognized that whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away, he has “seized” that person. … This Court has held in [392 U.S. 1, 18] the past that a search which is reasonable at its inception may violate the Fourth Amendment by virtue of its intolerable intensity and scope. … The scheme of the Fourth Amendment becomes meaningful only when it is assured that at some point the conduct of those charged with enforcing the laws can be subjected to the more detached, neutral scrutiny of a judge who must evaluate the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure in light of the particular circumstances. And in making that assessment it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective standard: would the facts [392 U.S. 1, 22] available to the officer at the moment of the seizure or the search “warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief” that the action taken was appropriate?”


The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution was added as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. It deals with protecting people from the searching of their homes and private property without properly executed search warrants.

The 4th Amendment reads like this:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4th Amendment requires that in order for a government official, such as a police officer, to search a person’s home, business, papers, bank accounts, computer or other personal items, in most cases, he must obtain a search warrant signed by the proper authority, which usually means by a judge.

In order for a warrant to be issued, someone must affirm to the judge that he has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that by searching the premises of a particular location, he believes he will find evidence that will verify the crime. The person submitting this information to the judge is usually a police officer. The police officer does not have to be correct in his assumption, he just has to have a reasonable belief that searching someone’s private property will yield evidence of the crime.

The judge then reviews the information and if he also believes that the information the officer has submitted shows probable cause, he will issue the warrant. In order for the warrant to be good, it must identify the place and the particular items or persons that are to be seized if they are found. A warrant is not a general order that can be used to search for anything, anywhere the officer wants. It is very specific about what is being looked for and where the officer can look for it.

Learn more about Fourth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

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If You Want Outrage — Iowa Republican Congressional Candidate Says: Install Microchips In Illegal Aliens

If you want something to get mad about, here is one idea from an Iowa Republican candidate running for Congress.

As reported in the Iowa Independent:

Instead of building a border fence to help stem illegal immigration, the U.S. government should implant microchips into immigrants before deportation, much like what is done with pets, Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician and one of seven Republicans running in the 3rd District Congressional primary, said Monday.

While speaking at a Tama County Republican forum, Candidate Bertroche made it clear that he wasn’t joking when he suggested treating undocumented immigrants like pets.

Betrouche is quoted as saying:

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?

“That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under,” Bertroche said.

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“I might be illegal” t-shirts for sale!

“I might be illegal” t-shirts for sale!

TShirt - I could be illegal

Probably not the best t-shirt to be wearing in Arizona if you want to avoid attention. However, it is the American way to make money whenever possible — never let any crisis or controversy go without marketing.

“I might be illegal” yard signs also available if you are feeling especially friendly with local authorities.

Get yours in both men and women’s sizes for just $15.99 at CafePress.com.

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Arizona – A Tragedy, A Political Football & Political Barometer

Arizona is already feeling the impact of its new law making it a misdemeanor to not provide proof of  U.S. residence when asked — although to hear many critics the law is all about ‘proof of citizenship‘.

As someone that routinely travels the world I know that my presence is tracked in other countries. When entering a country it is often common protocol to declare a street address or hotel where I will be staying.

But this is the U.S.A. where many argue that we should fight any attempt to have a basic national ID card. On the face of it, this law contradicts what most Americans consider to be the norm: you only ask for identification when a law is broken, or suspicion exists.

Surely native born Americans do not walk around with their birth certificates. And we reject any attempt to issue any formal identification card … there are even those that think that America is a great land just because we can almost just disappear if we wish — although that is wishful thinking of a time long past.

REALITY CHECK

Yet, Arizona has real challenges. People are dying and being kidnapped and murdered in the desert, and in the towns and even in Arizona’s major cities.

Drug and contraband smugglers are running rampant and illegal immigrants are being abandoned once they cross the U.S. border into Arizona.

If the U.S. federal government fails to live up to its constitutional authority to protect our borders and to protect our citizens then Arizona is well within its rights to take action within its own borders.

Many Americans forget that we have ‘states‘ not ‘provinces‘. The difference between the two are not just semantics. We are a nation of states, each with constitutionally protected powers. The people of Arizona have a right and the authority to take action in their own defense.

There are those that want to make Arizona’s situation about being a roundup or harassment of illegal immigrants — I don’t think so. Illegal immigrants live among us because our society needs them. Yes, I believe that. Our economy strongly needs these undocumented guest workers. Although it would be nice if we could find a way to make guest workers and their families legal — although we tried that and it was Arizona’s senior senator who took enormous amounts of flaming arrows for trying to find a solution: John McCain.

Reality however is that Arizona has real issues on its border with Mexico, and its proximity to major border crossing areas in California and New Mexico.

Here is a short list of the violence and crime on its borders and that is spilling across its borders – you can find an amazingly long list of border violence incidents since the mid-2000s by googling: Arizona Border Violence:

  • Mexican criminals routinely cross the border and commit burglaries, kidnappings, assaults and home invasions. (1)
  • There were 366 kidnappings just in the Phoenix, Arizona area during 2009. (3)
  • Armed gunmen attacked the U.S. Nogales City police department (Nov 14, 2008).
  • Bajadores smugglers attack each other with semiautomatic assault rifles to steal the other’s human cargo for its value; current Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano (D), and former Arizona governor, actually declared a state of emergency in 2005 when things got out of control in the same area.
  • Federal agents discover 65 stash houses just in the Phoenix, Arizona area (2005-2006). (2)

And did I mention that U.S. federal authorities estimate that the death toll just over Arizona’s border has  reached almost 10,000 killed in cartel violence just since 2006? (4)

My prayers and well wishes are with Arizonans AND with those immigrants that have chosen to come to the land of opportunity and to start a new life — legally or illegally.

I don’t believe that the new Arizona law is aimed at immigrants in general. The border is a mess and the federal government under both Presidents Bush and Obama have utterly failed to carry out their oath of office to protect Americans against all enemies, both foreign and domestic — at least when it comes to the Arizonan-Mexican border.

(1) AZ Officials Tell Senators Border Violence Is Getting Worse

(2) Border Crackdown Spawns Violence, More Deaths Occurring as Smugglers Fight Over Valuable Human Cargo

(3) Law officials testify on border violence

(4) Arizona hosts border-violence talk, Officials seek federal support on issue


This blog item by Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com — an independent observer of economics, politics and American life. For what it is worth as regards this story: Bill is married to an wonderful immigrant wife and has two children born overseas with dual citizenship. He coaches a soccer team made up just of Latino players that he has adopted from throughout his neighborhood over the last 10 years.

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A Short History of (il)Legal Immigration in the USA

The biggest challenge that we have to get beyond in discussing immigration reform is the concept of “legal” and “illegal” immigration.

Throughout most of American history (until 1907) the only legal basis for immigrating to the USA was the color of your skin — and it had to be right tone as well (caucasian yet not Mediterranean or Eastern European).

So when someone says that their forbears immigrated “legally” to the USA they often are only barely technically correct. There was no restriction on immigrating to the USA prior to 1907 other than being racially qualified.

Although the 14th Amendment, passed in 1868, protects children born in the United States it was not until 1898 (United States v. Wong Kim Ark) that non-whites or non-blacks were allowed to be included under the protection of this part of the U.S. Constitution.

Prior to 1907 you only needed to buy a ship ticket or enter via some port (land or sea). No visa  required. No immigration paperwork other than you checked in at the port and no reason was found to bar you.

The first naturalization law in the United States was the Naturalization Act of 1790, which restricted naturalization to “free white persons” of “good moral character” who had resided in the country for two years and had kept their current state of residence for a year.

Migrant workers were always welcome into the USA, they just weren’t eligible for citizenship. Most of our current illegal immigrants are here because U.S. industry needed them and has been willing to pay for their services. Where once we had “indentured servants” (7 years of service to an employer) we evolved long ago to employing migrant workers once indentured servitude was outlawed.

In 1870, the law was broadened to allow African Americans to be naturalized. Asian immigrants were excluded from naturalization but not from living in the United States.

It was not until 1921 that the United States Congress passed the ‘Emergency Quota Act’, which established national immigration quotas. The quotas were based on the number of foreign-born residents of each nationality who were living in the United States as of the 1910 census.

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