Arizona law violates the Fourth Amendment

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: May 4 2010 | 12:01 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 12:17 am in
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The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows, “The right of the people to be secure in their people, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the people or things to be seized.”

Arizona has passed a law that requires a policeman to seize a person and detain the person if they suspect that person is an illegal immigrant. To suspect something is not the same as having probable cause. Probable cause requires an oath or affirmation.

The Arizona law does not just authorize the police to detain someone, it requires them to detain someone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Furthermore, citizens have the right to sue a police officer whom they think is not adequately enforcing this law. Never before has such a law been written that allows a citizen to sue a police officer on matters pertaining to their professional duty.

It’s clear: Arizona has passed a law that requires police officers to violate the Fourth Amendment.

I will agree that illegal immigration is a problem, but there are ways to address the problem without violating the Constitution.

Richard Greer

Cedar Rapids

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