Supreme Court Strikes Brewer’s Arizona Law: Why It Won’t Last Long

James Turnage

Governor Jan Brewer’s celebration that one part of her controversial immigration law, will be short-lived. Monday, June 25th, the Supreme Court struck down three provisions of the Arizona law and retained the portion requiring individuals detained by law enforcement to surrender proof that they are not in the country illegally based solely on the officer’s discretion.

Governor Brewer claims that this can be done without racial profiling. We’ll see. As with many other situations, there will surely be one, or more likely, many violations of civil rights cases filed.

I worked at LAX from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. I frequently worked in the departure, or “gate” area. After several “skyjackings” occurred, metal detectors were placed at points where passengers left the terminal to board the aircraft. “Air Marshalls” were available in every terminal. As a gate agent, it was my responsibility to profile the passengers. A red slash was put across the boarding pass of a passenger that, “was a male, traveling alone, not Caucasian, and had purchased a one way ticket for cash”. It was effective, efforts to attempt hijacking airplanes were abated, but, as we all know, that policy is unacceptable today. Racial profiling violated an individual’s civil rights.

How is this any different from the policy and procedure that Arizona law enforcement will put into action? It’s not over yet Governor Brewer.