According to the Federation of American Immigration Reform, approximately 120,000 undocumented people are living within the State of Michigan. Of that number, 18,000 are living in Macomb County prompting legislators in that area to take swift action. State Representative Kim Meltzer stated publicly last week that she intends on introducing legislation resembling the recent Arizona illegal immigrant law. If approved, the proposal would allow police officers to request proof of citizenship from Michigan residents under certain circumstances, reports the Macomb Daily.
The spread of similar legislation nationwide is concerning not only to minority advocacy organizations, but to dedicated Michigan criminal defense lawyers as well. Enacting such a law almost certainly can lead to racial profiling and injustices against undocumented people, who also have rights within the United States.
Although Michigan has a significantly smaller number of illegal immigrants than the southwest, Meltzer believes that law enforcement officials across the state have the responsibility to protect documented people from being taken advantage of. In Michigan, she is specifically referring to those who sneak across the U.S.-Canadian border through Detroit. The Macomb Daily reports that under the proposed legislation, the bill “would only allow police to ask about a person’s immigration status during ‘lawful contact,’ such as a driver stopped for a traffic violation who has no license or other identification, or someone selling fraudulent identity documents.”
Despite the good intentions, the executive director of the new Macomb Hispanic and International Service Center, Emily Diaz-Torres, predicts that the reaction among the masses will inflict negative consequences on the whole state. According to Diaz-Torres, the new bill will almost certainly be received in the same fashion as the law in Arizona. Michigan is likely to be boycotted against by business groups and tourists alike, contending that such legislation is unconstitutional–particularly as it puts the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment for all people in grave risk.
The founding fathers designed the United States Constitution to protect all individuals from being victims of injustice. Developments over the years have come to include minorities and undocumented workers–a fact which makes legislation such as Meltzer’s bill so disheartening. Laws like this invite racial profiling and inappropriate questioning of innocent people.
Because of the serious consequences associated with illegal immigration laws, it is essential that any questioned undocumented workers act quickly to retain superior legal counsel for the best defense. Contacting aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorneys can not only provide sound legal advice, but also make sure that you case receives a fair trial protecting your rights, regardless of citizenship.
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