This should have a little resonance with people who are afraid of turning local police into immigration agents:
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 imposed a fine ($1,000) on law enforcement personnel who refrained from detaining runaway slaves. They were directed to do that on the basis of a claimant’s sworn statement only; there was no hearing or trial for the person who was claimed to be someone’s property.
Arizona’s new immigration law provides:
G. A PERSON MAY BRING AN ACTION IN SUPERIOR COURT TO CHALLENGE ANY OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE THAT ADOPTS OR IMPLEMENTS A POLICY THAT LIMITS OR RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL LAW. IF THERE IS A JUDICIAL FINDING THAT AN ENTITY HAS VIOLATED THIS SECTION, THE COURT SHALL ORDER ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. THAT THE PERSON WHO BROUGHT THE ACTION RECOVER COURT COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES.
2. THAT THE ENTITY PAY A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH DAY THAT THE POLICY HAS REMAINED IN EFFECT AFTER THE FILING OF AN ACTION PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION.
One must assume that you can “implement” a proscribed policy (the statute says “adopts or implements;” you have to conclude they mean different things) by merely being insufficiently zealous in rounding up brown people on “reasonable suspicion.”
Just as the Fugitive Slave Act, the new Arizona law will encourage police forces to err on the side of detaining people — whether they are really detainable or not — to avoid penalty to themselves.
You may be sure there will be anti-immigrant groups watching for the chance to bring suit under this law, just as slave owners and their agents were looking for Northern policemen and federal marshals to accuse of a lack of vigilance under the Fugitive Slave Act.
And remember, everybody, the Arizona statute is the law that Stonewall Emmer said was a wonderful first step.
The image is from the Wikipedia article on the Fugitive Slave Act.