A federal judge has blocked a Utah immigration law that would have allowed police to check the citizenship status of anyone they arrested, citing its similarities to controversial parts of the immigration law recently passed in Arizona and no doubt soon to be before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The National Immigration Law Center along with the American Civil Liberties Union led the suit to stop House Bill 497, saying it could lead to racial profiling. The civil rights groups submitted hundreds of pages of evidence and affidavits to prove their claims. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups agreed, at least in part, issuing his ruling in Salt Lake City, saying there was sufficient evidence for him to believe that parts of the Utah legislation would be found unconstitutional.
If it stands, the Utah law requires police to check the citizenship status of anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony or class-A misdemeanor, while giving officers the discretion to check the citizenship of anyone stopped for traffic infractions any other lesser offenses.
So, just like the Arizona law, any police officer, sheriff’s deputy or state trooper can demand anyone they stop provide proof of American citizenship. Of all the people in the United States, those living in Utah should understand what it means when Constitutional liberties are ignored and the state can treat everyone as criminals with no more justification than a policeman’s whim.
How soon they forget, these descendants of pioneers driven from their homes by similar feelings of prejudice and injustice; how soon indeed. Many claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but they forget the Master’s teachings, and instead persecute the poor and the needy because they do not want to share the material wealth, or liberties, with which he has blessed them.
“Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer, … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”