As the West Hollywood City Council on Friday joined a chorus of communities (Los Angeles, San Francisco) moving to oppose Arizona's controversial new immigration law, state lawmakers there softened the measure.
According to the Los Angeles Times, language in the law that could have appeared to make it a requirement for police to check the immigration status of everyone they come in contact with was changed so that cops would only be required to check the status of people they “stop, detain or arrest.” One officer complained that the law would have required him to ask the school children he sees everyday if they are in the United States legally.
Legislators also changed the language to strengthen its caveat not to use race as a reason to inquire about someone's immigration status: Instead of saying cops can't “solely” rely on race for an immigration check, it now states they can't rely on race at all.
It's a strange guideline since Latinos — widely believed here to be the protected class in terms of race — aren't necessarily of a single race. Latino does not describe race, and most “Hispanics” are technically considered to be of the white race anyway, although they come in all colors (from Christina Aguilera — would they ask for her papers? — to Alex Rodriguez and Celia Cruz).
Opponents of the law aren't satisfied: “They're nice cosmetic changes,” former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez said, according to the Times. “But they're insufficient.”