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Arizona lawmakers OK changes to tough immigration law

HB 1070 immigration law

Arizona lawmakers have approved several changes to the recently passed sweeping law targeting illegal immigration.

If Gov. Jan Brewer supports the changes, they will go into effect at the same time as the new law, 90 days from now, reports ABC15.com.

The law's sponsor, Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, characterized the race and ethnicity changes as clarifications "just to take away the silly arguments and the games, the dishonesty that's been played."

The Arizona Republic reports:

The phrase "lawful contact" would be changed to "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to clarify that an officer would not need to question a crime victim or witness about their legal status.

The word "solely" would be eliminated from the sentence "A law enforcement official or agency . . .  may not solely consider race, color or national origin" in establishing reasonable suspicion that someone is in the country illegally.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, worried that another change would lead to more people being questioned about their status. It would require a citizenship check if police are responding to any crime or even local ordinance, according to the East Valley Tribune.

She said that means an officer sent to check whether someone’s grass is too tall would have to question people if they suspect the homeowner is an illegal immigrant.

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TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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