Let's take another look at this new Arizona immigration law. I think, when we do, we are going to see that it is much worse than originally anticipated. Here is the language of the actual law (SB 1070): The portion highlighted means that, before a police officer can question someone about their immigration status, there has to be a "lawful contact" in the first instance. I had originally thought that a "lawful contact" meant an otherwise legal stop or detention based upon reasonable cause to believe the person was involved in some type of criminal activity other than being an illegal immigrant. Example: Cop pulls someone over for DUI. The guy is clearly under the influence and he is also Mexican. Cop can both bust him for DUI and ask to see proof of legal citizenship. Does that pass Constitutional (4th Amendment) muster? Probably. On further review, however, I don't think that's what this "lawful contact" phrase actually means. In California, and I am sure in most states (including AZ), there is such a thing as a "consensual encounter." An officer can walk right up to someone on the street and engage them in conversation. If the person consents to talk to the officer, a "consensual encounter" is underway. Consensual encounters can be for whatever reason the officer chooses - no reason at all, if that's what he wants. After all - the citizen is always "free to walk away" from a consensual encounter any time he/she likes, right? Typically, during a "consensual encounter," the officer will ask whether or not the person he is talking to has anything illegal on his/her person. The person will often (but not always) say no. The officer will then say, "do you mind if I search you?" The person will invariably say, "sure, go ahead." If the officer finds contraband, he can arrest based on what he finds, since he is conducting a consented-to search, which is tottally legal. So I'm wondering - under the wording of this new AZ law, is it OK for a cop to walk up to a Mexican on the street, engage them in a "consensual encounter" and, if the Mexican person consents to talk with the cop, here we go . . . . "Your PAPERS, please?" I suspect this may be the case. If it is, I think the new, Arizona law is violative of the 4th Amendment because it appears to authorize detentions which are, de facto, not based upon reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed, ii.e., racial profiling.