PHOENIX — A proposal to expand Arizona’s trespassing law drew accusations
this week that it targets people living in the state illegally.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported Friday that state
Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, is sponsoring a bill that would broaden the
definition of trespassing to those who are knowingly entering or remaining on a
property if they are violating federal or state law.
Lawmakers are withholding the bill from the Senate floor to try and address any
possibility of constitutional violations and court challenges.
The bill has already been approved 4-2 by the Senate Rules Committee. But the
vote was split among GOP members. Griffin and Senate President Andy Biggs voted
for it, while Senate Majority Leader John McComish and Sen. Adan Driggs said
they would vote against it in a floor vote.
Democrats said the measure tries to make a state crime out of federal
immigration law. Senate Minority Leader Anna Tovar, D-Phoenix, likened the bill
to 2010 immigration crackdown law, Senate Bill 1070.
“Again, this is an issue that, if we learned anything not just from SB1070 but
the lawsuits as well, it’s that the Supreme Court says we don’t have the
authority to be making such laws to this effect,” Tovar said.
Maurice “Mo” Goldman, a Tucson-based immigration attorney, said the
legislation would likely be susceptible to a court challenge.
“It brings us back to the same problems we had with SB1070 in that it’s an
overreach by Arizona as far as trying to enforce federal immigration law
indirectly via state legislation,” Goldman said.
Making being in Arizona illegally a state trespassing crime was originally part
of the original SB1070 bill crafted by former Sen. Russell Pearce. House
Republicans’ concerns forced the trespassing references to be dropped from the
bill. Pearce changed the language to define trespassing as failure to carry any
kind of immigration registration document. That provision was ultimately struck
down in 2011 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Biggs said some of Griffin’s bill could still be possible.
“Even with SB1070 there were some portions that were left intact, although
they’re being attacked elsewhere in other litigation. But for now, they remain
the state of the law,” Biggs said.
Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com