From the NORTH COUNTY TIMES:
Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, was criticized this week by civil and immigrant rights groups for saying that law enforcement professionals could spot illegal immigrants by the way they dress.
On Wednesday, Bilbray was a guest on the MSNBC TV show “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. He was asked his opinion of an Arizona bill that would require local police to question people about their immigration status if there was reason to suspect they were in the country illegally.
The bill, Senate Bill 1070, was signed into law Friday by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer despite criticisms from various organizations and individuals, including President Barack Obama.
Immigrant rights advocates say the law will lead to widespread racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona.
When Matthews asked Bilbray why the law would not lead to racial profiling, the congressman replied that police were trained to look for “patterns of activity” and other indications beyond a person’s skin or hair color.
Pushing further, Matthews asked for an example of what police would look for that was not related to a person’s ethnicity. Bilbray said “trained professionals” can spot illegal immigrants by the way they’re dressed and the way they behave.
“They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different types of attire,” Bilbray said. “There’s different type of attire, there’s different types of —- right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes.”
“It’s the whole situation,” Bilbray said. “The environment, the manner, the clothing someone is wearing would be just one aspect.”
The North County congressman is chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, a group of predominantly Republican House members who support tighter immigration controls. The group was founded by former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
Advocates for immigrants said Bilbray’s comments were an example of the problems local law enforcement officers would face in attempting to decide when to ask for a person’s proof of immigration status. They said the law would expose police departments to racial profiling lawsuits.
“I think it’s outrageous that he would make comments like that,” said Pedro Rios, San Diego director for the Quaker human rights organization American Friends Service Committee.
San Diego immigration attorney Matt Holt said the law would violate people’s constitutional rights.
“We know that we have a Fourth Amendment guarantee that protects us from unreasonable search and seizure, and the type of jeans or the type of shoes you wear doesn’t give officers probable cause,” Holt said.
The law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It allows lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and makes it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.
President Obama was among the critics of the bill. He said it was “misguided” and that it would lead to civil rights violations.
Republican Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa, Ariz., the bill’s sponsor, said the law would remove “political handcuffs” from police and help drive illegal immigrants from Arizona.
Political handcuffs? I thought those are what the girls are wearing at the lesbian bondage club that the Rethuglicans frequent.