Quick Fact: Fox's Bream mischaracterizes AZ immigration law

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

Fox News' Shannon Bream stated that the Arizona immigration law "requires police responding to potential crimes to ask for proof of citizenship if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally." In fact, the law also directs police to check the immigration status of those stopped for non-crimes, including violations of city and county ordinances and civil traffic violations, if the officer suspects those individuals are undocumented.

Bream claims police will ask for proof of citizenship when responding to "potential crimes"

From the May 16 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:

BREAM: The immigration law takes effect July 29 unless blocked by pending court challenges. It requires police responding to potential crimes to ask for proof of citizenship if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

In fact, the law further directs police to check immigration status during non-crime contacts

AZ law directs police to question immigration status of those they "stop." On April 30, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2162, which made changes to the immigration law (SB 1070) that she signed on April 23. The Arizona Republic reported that these changes include the clarification "that law-enforcement officers shall inquire about the immigration status only of those they 'stop, detain or arrest.' " Police officers "stop" individuals for numerous violations other than suspected crimes, including non-criminal speeding, expired registration, running a stop sign, and other civil traffic violations. HB 2162 modified the original law to state:

For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. [emphasis added]

AZ law directs police to question immigration status of those involved in a "municipal or county code violation." The Republic further reported that the Arizona government also modified the original law to specify "that a law-enforcement officer would be required to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a municipal or county code violation." According to the Republic, "City ordinance violations vary by municipality but could include things like loud parties, barking dogs, cars on blocks in the yard or too many renters." On April 30, The Wonk Room blog posted an email reportedly written by Kris Kobach, a law professor and Republican candidate for Kansas secretary of state who helped draft the bill, to Arizona Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce on April 28, which stated:

When we drop out "lawful contact" and replace it with "a stop, detention, or rest, in the enforcement a violation of any title or section of the Arizona code" we need to add "or any county or municipal ordinance." This will allow police to use violations of property codes (ie, cars on blocks in the yard) or rental codes (too many occupants of a rental accommodation) to initiate queries as well.

As Media Matters for America noted, the law originally required law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of those they suspect of being undocumented during "any lawful contact," which included "victims, witnesses or just people who are lawfully interacting with the police officer," according to a research analyst for the Arizona House Majority.

Police could reportedly already question immigration status of those suspected of "another crime." The Christian Science Monitor reported on April 15, "Currently, officers can inquire about a person's immigration status only if that person is a suspect in another crime." CNN similarly reported on April 20:

The Arizona state Senate on Monday passed an extensive immigration bill that is widely considered to be some of the toughest immigration legislation in the nation, requiring police officers to determine whether a person is in the United States legally.

Currently, officers can only take that route if a person is suspected in another crime.

Fox has previously been host to this falsehood

On May 3 Fox & Friends allowed Kris Kobach to falsely claim that the law "only comes into play after another crime is being investigated." On the May 12 edition of Fox & Friends, Frank Luntz also falsely suggested that under the law police can only ask about the immigration status of someone "if they believe that they're in the process of committing a crime."

Posted In
Immigration, Enforcement
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Shannon Bream
Show/Publication
America's News HQ
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