Well that was quick. In response to criticism, Arizona has made a few changes to its controversial illegal immigration law. The LA Times reports:
The initial law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last week, required police to determine a person’s immigration status if officers formed a reasonable suspicion about their legality during any “lawful contact.” That led to suggestions by some legal experts that police would be obligated to scrutinize even people who asked for directions. A Phoenix police officer who patrols an area near a school sued, contending that it would require him to ask children he encounters during the day if they are in the country legally.
Lawmakers on Thursday night changed the language to require scrutiny only of people who police stop, detain or arrest. They also changed a section of the bill that barred officers from “solely” using race as grounds for suspecting someone is in the country illegally; opponents had argued that that would allow race to be a factor. The legislators removed the word “solely” to bar race from being used by officers enforcing the law.
“It absolutely clarifies what the intent was,” said Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, who supported the changes and is expected to sign them into law. “It’s undeniable now that this bill will not lead to racial profiling.”
Opponents of the bill, who to date have filed three federal lawsuits against it and promise more, said the changes would make little difference.
More here. Wonk Room has also posted an e-mail from bill co-author Kris Kobach about the changes. Among other thing, it appears these changes were in the works before the NYT published Kobach’s op-ed. Interesting.