New illegal immigration laws for Arizona lawmakers have been approved with a focus on preventing racial profiling. The laws are expected to be in effect in 90 days time, pending a much anticipated approval from Governor Jan Brewer.
A series of bills focus entirely on strengthening restrictions against using race as the basis for questioning individuals suspected to be illegal immigrants. Current law requires state and local law enforcement to follow up any suspected claims of illegal immigration and if caught, offenders face strict state charges. New restrictions include rewording laws, omitting the word "solely" from: "The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are solely based on race, color, or nationality origin." "Lawful contact" has been replaced with "lawful stop, detention, or arrest" in an effort to clarify that law enforcement agencies no longer need to question victims or witnesses regarding legal status.
According to new laws regarding violations of local civil ordinances, like weed infestations and excessive occupancy within residences, authorities can question immigration status. The additional legislation passed on Thursday, April 29, 2010 changes existing laws to allow immigration status questioning while officers are enforcing other laws including stopping, detaining or arresting offenders though officers may not question individuals solely on race or appearance.