A Latina second-grader asked First Lady Michelle Obama about “papers” this morning. Specifically, the little girl told Mrs. Obama that her mother said President Barack Obama was “taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.” The American first lady and Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala were visiting New Hampshire Elementary School in Silver Springs, MD.
Doesn’t mention Arizona.
Mrs. Obama didn’t answer how someone else might have, like, “Oh, no, that’s in Arizona where you show your papers if a cop thinks you’re an illegal.” But admittedly, that answer would hardly have been reassuring to a second-grader.
After all, if it had been Arizona instead of Maryland, where the question was posed, who’s to say that a cop within earshot of the question wouldn’t be required on such a reasonably suspicious admission to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of the mother?
Before it was amended, the original Arizona SB 1070 bill provision read, “Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”
The law’s provision, since amended, now states, “For any lawful stop, detention or arrest [emphasis added] 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 of 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.”
But who’s counting?
Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law, SB 1070, does not go into effect for another 71 calendar days for anyone that’s counting or on July 29, 2010 for those that aren’t.
But with all the hullabaloo since it’s passage, it’s not surprising that a lot has been lost in translation, even for those who aren’t monolingual or 6 or 7 years old.
Credits: “Joe Arpaio” by Gage Skidmore at Wikipedia Commons;