Arizona immigration law: Will the law or a court decision really change police work?

A supporter of Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law protests in Los Angeles, Calif. in a mid-July demonstration.

A July 22 Washington Post story may help deflate some of the national tension over the impact of the Arizona immigration law and a federal judge's consideration on whether the controversial law should take effect July 29.

The Post story focuses on the views of the law by Paul Moncada, the police chief of Benson, AZ. His main point? Local police already call the US Border Patrol when they know they have suspects who may be illegal immigrants.

Here is a key excerpt:

And for Moncada, at least, that is the irony of the new law:.. it is unlikely to change much about how his officers do their jobs, he said.

Already, if they stop a speeding van and people bail out running, officers generally make the leap and call Border Patrol. The new law essentially requires that call, along with one to verify the immigration status of every local drug addict, drunk driver or shoplifter arrested after next Thursday, when the law takes effect, barring an injunction....

As a practical matter, he and other chiefs said, they are simply too busy with regular crime.

The court judge may be dealing with legal abstractions of federal-state jurisdiction while the media focuses on the heat of protests. For the police in Arizona, their work may go on as usual no matter what.

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