Arizona Passes Tough Illegal Immigration Act
Bill makes it a state crime to be in US illegally
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2010 3:03 AM CDT
Updated Apr 14, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
A US Border Patrol agent walks in front of the old border fence where it meets a five-mile section of new border fence in Nogales, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – Arizona lawmakers have passed the toughest state law against illegal immigration in the country. The measure—which critics say is wide open to constitutional challenges—makes it a crime to be in Arizona without proper immigration papers, and gives police the right to determine whether a person is legal even if he or she is not a suspect in some other crime, the Arizona Republic reports.

Backers of the measure, which is expected to be signed into law by the state's Republican governor, say it gives law enforcement the right tools to tackle illegal immigration. Opponents charge that it will turn Arizona into a police state. "It's beyond the pale," said an advocate for day laborers. "It appears to mandate racial profiling." A lot of US citizens could end up being busted "for something as simple as having an accent and leaving their wallet at home," the Arizona director of the ACLU tells the Los Angeles Times.