Otter: Arizona immigration law opens door to 'personal bias'

Here is one case where Gov. Butch Otter's ire with the federal government is completely well founded.

And a case where Otter's civil libertarian instincts are equally on target.

On Wednesday, we asked Otter what he thinks of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Here are the highlights.

"I'm not going to become a saint by outlining the sins of others, but I look on it, that was a move of desperation. And increased by frustration. ... I'm not sure how you can possibly turn that around, but I certainly understand (Gov.) Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature's absolute frustration. The total failure of the federal government, that's a failure of federal policy. Whatever comes of that has to be laid at the doorstep of the federal government. ...

"If they would pay as much attention to those things like immigration and border control that they should be doing, and pay less attention to all of the other things that they're mucking about in that are costing states hundreds of millions of dollars by unfunded mandates and those sort of things, I think we probably wouldn't see that sort of frustration that boiled up as much as it has in Arizona. ...

"The only way my libertarian tendencies get frizzled a little bit with that is, I don't know how you implement that law without the personal bias of people who become the enforcement tools to implement that law. ... It would take a person, I suspect, bigger than I not to immediately begin to profile."

He's right.

The Arizona law will require police officers to check immigration status, if they suspect someone they have stopped, detained or arrested is an illegal alien. That, on its face, opens the door to profiling. It is simply unavoidable.

I hope Arizona's desperately misguided law doesn't become a template for the 2011 Idaho Legislature. If it does, I hope Idaho's governor (whether it's Otter or one of his challengers) would use the veto stamp to stop this kind of assault on civil liberties.

Otter also is right that the federal government has dropped the ball on immigration reform. That is a bipartisan failing years in the making — and if blame is meted out in proportion to service, Otter deserves his share based on his six years in Congress. I think Congress should have made immigration a higher priority long ago, and frankly, former Sen. Larry Craig has been the only member of Idaho's delegation to take a leadership role on this front.

Immigration is an appropriately high-profile issue in the GOP 1st Congressional District primary. Unfortunately, the hard work of immigration reform will likely wait until the next Congress. One more year, and that much more time for states to act out of desperation.

There isn't much states can do to wake the feds out of their slumber. But it helps when governors and gubernatorial candidates lay out the truth about the issue, as Otter does.

Listen to the candidates: Hear Otter and other gubernatorial candidates interview with the editorial board. And listen to candidates in other races, from U.S. Senate to Ada County assessor. Go to the Statesman voter guide and search by candidate name.

Get Twitter updates on my blog and column and Statesman editorials. Become a follower. You can also get updates on Facebook's Idaho Statesman Opinion Page.


Congrats to Arizona for doing what the fed doesn't have the stones to do and what Idaho and the rest of the states should copy! It's extremely obvious the idiot in the white house won't do anything for obvious reasons, but the people can! Time for "CHANGE", right barry hussein?

Why didn't they guy in the White House before Obama do

anything? Was he also an idiot? The same obvious reasons?

re: Why didn't they guy in the White House before Obama do

He most certainly was an idiot and what he and the others tried to do with amnesty a few years ago was as much a sham as the ideas that are out there today.

Gawd, kids. Write your own bill then!


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This past week, Dems announced they intend to bring the subject of immigration reform to congress. Immediately, republican leaders cried out that there was not time to address this issue in 2010. They obviously don't want the issue discussed publicly before the Fall elections. Obama responded last week that he intends to pursue reform THIS YEAR.

To fault the Obama administration for this issue is disengenuous. His is the first administration to attempt to address the issue. The foot-draggers have a big 'R' in front of their name.


The entire thing is a quiet NUDGE in the republican ribcage to get the act together and make the kids BEHAVE. Reverse political science.

Ask a parent.


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This is a rare time that I disagree with Gov. Otter. I support Arizona's law 100% just as 58% of the American population does. This kind of law isn't just for the latino population, we have Illegal asians, europeans and more. It's only called profiling because the vast majority of the illegals in AR. are latino's. This law should be enforced at a national level so states wouldn't have to take action on their own.

What would make you suspect someone was an illegal alien?

So, if you get stopped by the police, what criteria will they use when deciding whether they suspect you are an illegal alien?

How about

something really simple like valid legal identification? If you have it, great. If not, you either left it at home and can retrieve it, or you're likely illegal. It's not that hard.

Lack of A Drivers License

would be the first clue to possibly being illegal. The old law was that if the police knew you were illegal, but you didn't break a law, they couldn't make an arrest just for being illegal. This new law allows them to arrest the illegals instead of just letting them go and hope the INS would eventually catch and arrest them.


You've never taken your drivers license out of your wallet and forgotten to put it back in? I have. My US born Latino father has. So you are saying that it would be okay for my Dad, to be held and have to prove his citizenship merely because of the lack of a drivers license? Something that can add up to just a simple mistake and not necessarily mean someone is illegal?

Driving without your valid drivers license on you is illegal

so you would be breaking the law if you do. The smart thing to do would be to not do anything to make anyone need to check your (or your Dad's) ID. Or if you are really worried about it, make sure you never forget to carry your drivers license with you. If you were out hunting or fishing and realized you forgot your license or your tag, you don't dare keep hunting or fishing because if you get caught without them, it's poaching.

R U trying to be logical?

Racist people cannot handle logic.

Are you really that stupid?

This requires no further comment.

We'll stick to talking about the past then


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It could also mean you're driving drunk w/o pants/


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So then

If you forgot your identification, what is the criteria that the officer will use to suspect you may be illegal and say cite you for driving without a license vs. making you prove your citizenship before releasing you? Would you be okay being held in immigration lockup until someone brought in your valid identification? As a US Citizen, you would be okay with being guilty until proven innocent? And just to note, this situation has already happened. Just in case your answer is that it would never happen that way (Only in the real scenario, the US born citizen handed over his drivers license but because he was Latino, he was not believed).

forgotten Id

This still would not be a big deal. If you are a U.S. citizen you would have a SSN the police could use to check you out. If not you would have an ID number (learn it, remember it). Everyone wants this problem solved but "ohh don't make me do anything, don't step on my rights, I don't want to help"..


But I value my rights, and don't intend to give them up because someone thinks I look suspicious. I was born in this country and will die in this country. That affords me certain rights as an American citizen. Allowing them to be violated in the name of immigration reform is ridiculous. I am all for immigration control and enforcement. But I do not support the type of profiling that is being discussed on this message board.

So are you saying

that if I get carded for buying alcohol, then I am somehow giving up my rights? Is that "profiling" people that look like they might be under 21??? If you're legal, it shouldn't be a problem showing that you are legal, and you are not losing any rights just because you might have to prove you are a US citizen. You have to show at least one form of ID every time you fly on a commercial airplane. Big deal.

Missing the point

Your examples are in no way the same. Showing my ID at the airport is proving who I am, and everyone is required to do so. I am not required to do it because of the way I look. If a police officer is supsicious of my citizenship merely because of the way I look, and asks me to prove it, merely because of the way I look, yes my rights are being trampled. If I forget my ID at home, then I am agreeable to being cited for that as the law requires. But not having an ID on me is not a reason to suspect that I am illegal just because I happen to be hispanic.


But it is the exact same thing. Ok, you are 22; you go into a bar and are carded. Per your argument this persons rights have been violated because he was carded just because he looked young. Get over it show your ID it is not the end of the world or as some think, the beginning of the Hitler regime. Some of you must still be crying to your mom because your rights were violated when you were told not to throw your toys. I am WAY over 21 and I still get carded at night clubs sometimes. Guess I should cry like a baby because my rights are violated. It is the law to carry your ID, these people are NOT being picked on, and we ALL get our ID’s checked over and over.

I still get carded at age 44, but it isn't because I look so

amazingly youthful (although I try to tell myself this is the case). They card me because many places have a policy to card EVERYONE so that they don't have to make judgement calls based on appearance and everyone get treated exactly the same.

Being 21 and being illegal don't necessarily date each other.


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re: What would make you suspect someone was an illegal alien?

Oh I don't know, if you don't have proper doc-umentation maybe. You do know what the word illegal means don't you? Shame on the mean old police for enforcing the laws that are actually already on the books but that the feds are too cowardly to enforce.

Big black buglike eyes and a tractor beam.


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Guess what.. I couldn't care less if profiling exists. I would rather have American citizens endure a little profiling than permit these aliens to use our hospitals, steal our jobs, & commit crimes on American soil. Allowing them to live in this country discounts the citizenship of every American. It cheapens the courageous act of veterans who died defending our borders. I'm 100% for Arizon's law & wish Idaho would follow it up with a tougher one.


Why has our government sat back on their fat a__s for about 30 or 40 years and not done anything about this? They could have stopped illigals way back then and not have a huge mess now. I am most definetely for the Arizona law and am in hope that ALL of the other states do the same.

And the Feds need to do something about education too!

How can America be a great nation when people are running around misspelling ‘illegal’?


The problem might be some people are more worried about typos, spelling errors and things like this to care about what the person is saying.

Disgrunted English teachers need love too?


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My gals oughta be PHAT, not ILLI


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The Majority Agree

...with the law so whats the problem? Racism is terrible and should not be tolerated in any form. But this isnt about race. Its about being a legal tax paying citizen. Period. If one went to Germany undoc-u-mented and opened a business with hard work and smart decisions but wasnt allowed legally in the country what would happen to that person and/or business? I dont care what race you are. If you are a citizen of America you deserve all her rights and protection.

If you dont like the law and live here illegally, work to change it or become a citizen. America is a beautiful place. Anyone who thinks theres a better Utopia in the world is lying to themselves.

Really Statesman, you wont let me use the word u-n-d-o-c-u-m-e-n-t-e-d?

Majority rules?

Well, JLandon, you almost escaped with a good argument, but then you had to say "the majority agree with the law so what's the problem?" Too bad you said that, because if our country was governed by that 'rule' here's what we would have:
* Women would not be allowed to vote
* A white person could not marry a black person
* U.S. citizens of Japanese descent would still be in "internment camps"
* Blacks who committed petty crimes in the South could still be 'sold' to corporations for free labor (check your history on this's true)
* Native Americans could be denied any rights at all because we don't grant rights to "savages"
* You could be arrested for sodomy with your wife (a very recent example)

These are all examples of our history where the majority of the population (mostly white men) agreed with the laws that allowed these policies to exist. It's not about "majority rules," that's why we have a constitution that protects minorities from majorities.

Spiderillegal...Nobody knows who you are!


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I wish Otter would get some gonads and make some laws like Arizona. But this state does not even have the guts to make an E-Verify system. Go Arizona!!! PS-all the new law says it that you cannot have hate clas*es in the school system. Arizona does have such clas*es and most of these are teaching Mexican students (some legal and some illegal) that they need to take Arizona back and return it to Mexico and whites are to be hated (this is just a short summery of course). If we had clas*es like this for white students they would be shut down at once, now where is your profiling? We should not be paying tax dollars for clas*es like this. GET SOME GUTS OTTER!!!!!

Lol had to remove the word clas*es because it had the word as*es in it.. come on Statemans get a grip

We have had Hansen, Church, the Manvil killers, CRAIG. OTEER...

Honey, the Hottie's home!

Either you are sarcastic under the influence or due to have your dragon slayed. Knock it off for a while, please.


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Have been stopped Twice in Arizona

My wife and I have been stopped twice in Arizona at routine Border Patrol roadblocks. Officers, both federal and state were polite and courteous.
I am 6" 1, blond and of Swedish American ancestory.
My Idaho driver's license and the rental car papers were checked and we were on our way.
I am confident that had I shown a Swedish DL or did not have any DL, I would have been asked for my passport to insure that I had appropriate entry stamps.

How hard is this?
Let's at least wait until the Arizona law goes into effect before getting all upset up it's implementation.

Everyday Idahoans should be

Everyday Idahoans should be fearful of the cloaked racism within the Idaho GOP majority controlled Idaho legislature of 2010 they collaborated with Kris Kobach the extremist christian birther attorney who penned the Arizona “paper please law”! He worked very closely with Idaho legislators,Jorgenson, Moyle & Hart on that same issue here in Idaho, it failed to pass, but will be reintroduced next session.

Idaho’s GOP set the stage of discrimination by fanning the flames of hate with false claims of voter fraud by Moyle,he cannot provide any facts to back the GOP fear the brown propaganda. There has been no voter fraud in Idaho for over 100 years.

Intolerant white guy Kobach visited the Idaho legislature coordinating with Jorgenson, Moyle & Hart incite Idaho lawmakers into voting for Kobach’s racist immigration bill.

Everyday Idahoans must follow the funding and backers of Kobach, they are white christian purification activists on a mission to ensure white America and they are cloaking there faith based intolerance within the immigration issue. Idaho GOP's social conservative leadership accept that white christian purification movement.

Beware of Idaho GOP legislators calling for immigration laws.

Otter made no effort to stop Kobach’s racist presentation to the republican majority legislature.Otter seems ok with inciting racism as a means to the end, what a rotten human being..!

Actually, Moyle was one of the only guys to sponsor legislation

to actually hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring illegal workers. Surprisingly, he couldn't even get the bill out of committee. The cause of the problem is not illegal workers, it's the illegal employers who hire them.

So it is intolerant to allow

So it is intolerant to allow illegal access to this country? So then by your account, tolerance is allowing completely free boarders without enforcement? By enforcing laws the police are intolerant, racists, and virtual criminals? I have seen first hand what happens when illegal immigrants take over a community and it isn't pretty. Further more, what about LEGAL immigration? Shouldn't it take several years to become a citizen? Shouldn't we conduct thorough background checks, test for a minimum proficiency of English, test for an understanding of basic American history? Doesn't illegal immigration completely undermine those who are willing to play by the rules, do the right things by becoming a nationalized citizen, and embracing what it means to be an American? Republicans need to quite allowing immigration for the cheap labor and Democrats need to stop pandering to illegals for votes.


Get a grip man. I cant speak for other communities in IDAHO but I know people in the Treasure Valley will stand against bigots and racists. The only person that seems to be fanning the flames of hate on here is you. There is no way in Kevin Richerts name that Otter incites racism.

"Rules For Radicals' Saul Alinsky 1971

Chapter 7, Rule 5. Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
701 never debates the issue, he will always freeze the messinger and demean him or her.

This is garbage Butch....and you know it

GO ARIZONA----nice "political" compromise BUTCH, lets not get your ag buddies POed.
I will tell you right now---Im NOT voting for you.
keep pepetuating this "lawlessness" of dc
cowardess.................for all you pcers--shove it!

No eggnog at the GSA holiday party for YOU...


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What racism?

i83701 demonstrates the problem with modern American politics. Rather than discuss the law at issue, i83701 attacks the people who support such legislation as racists.

Yet, what is racist about it?

Legal immigrants of any race are not affected.

Illegal immigrants are affected because they are illegal.

Like birddog2, I have been stopped and asked for identification by border agents in Arizona. I also have been stopped and asked for identification in California. I'm white, very Irish looking, and born in the USA.

The Arizona bill is not about racism. The attacks on it often are.

We should discuss the law, not try to associate it with designated "targets for criticism".

PCers are gutles/cant think for themselves

Political correctness is a LIE-the broken record isss.
pc is the govt "social grooming" prog--LEMMINGS

Blame the French and don't eat snail and kiss normal...


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Love the hypocricy

First of all it is highly hypocritical that the party that created the Klan and Jim Crow laws whines that the Repukes are racist for passing a law like this, how exactly do you reconcile that with your own brutal racist history Dems?

Secondly how exactly does a nationality of people who say they are so repressed that they teach things in public schools like how it is good to kill the gringo and that there should be a reconquista of the Southwest get away with that junk without being called on it? Furthermore that same group also has a group called La Raza, which translates into "The Race", excuse me who are the racists again?

It should also be pointed out to all you bleeding heart whiners that in Mexico the penalties towards illegals in their country are far worse than ours. It should also be pointed out that their naturalized citizens do not nearly have the rights ours do either but then why should you let a little something like the facts get in the way of your lies right?

One last thing for those of you that are trying to distort this issue so you can merely score a few more votes, we as citizens, naturalized and native born have to have ID all the time. It is federal law that naturalized citizens have to have their green card with them at all times and can be asked for it. If we have to provide ID for everything from driving, renting a car, getting on a plane and many other day to day activities then why shouldn't they if they are picked up in connection with a crime? This isn't Barry's fault this crap has been going long before he got into office but if the federal government is not going ot do its job then why shouldn't the states do something in order to do the job the feds are too pathetic to do?

In case you missed the section on US history from the 1960's

The 'Southern Democrats' of which you speak, left the Democratic party and joined the Republican party when President Johnson made civil rights a priority.