By allowing police officers to stop, question and detain individuals for not having proper identification, Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, drastically expands police powers. It allows for racial profiling in a way that violates the Constitution. It effectively turns Arizona into a police state and turns the principle of innocent until proven guilty on its head by requiring people to have their papers on them at all times. Many innocent people will be stopped by officers, and it puts all Arizonans’ civil liberties at risk.

Police officers in Arizona will have a green light to stop people they ‘reasonably suspect’ are here illegally, and the law opens the door to racial profiling. That runs counter to the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause – and the American ideal of equality.

In addition to constitutional problems, SB 1070 will be very expensive. First, enforcing immigration laws is costly and complicated. A county in Virginia passed a similar ordinance but delayed enforcement when it turned out that implementation would cost $14.2 million over just five years. States should not be trying to take on immigration enforcement – policing our borders is a power that exclusively belongs to the federal government. Second, the law will also lead to costly litigation. The national ACLU’s Immigration Rights’ Project and the affiliate in Arizona are currently leading efforts with respect to a challenge. Other lawsuits are also likely to arise – and will cost money. Chandler, Arizona paid over $400,000 in settlement in a case where racial profiling was the basis of a raid. Further, in Arizona citizens will be able to bring lawsuits to effectuate enforcement so fines and damages could abound from all sides. One thing is certain: a legal mess is in the works.

Even worse, these kinds of efforts distract police officers from focusing on what should be their primary concern – addressing violent crime and keeping the community safe.

Arizona’s new law sacrifices the very principles that we as a nation stand for. Civil liberties matter to Nevadans, and a bill like Arizona’s would not make sense for our state. Indeed, the impact on tourism could be devastating. Does Nevada want to send a message that people who “look foreign” aren’t welcome here? Do tourists want to visit a place where they can be required to “show their papers” just for being on the street?

Policing our borders and enforcing immigration laws is a job that belongs to the federal government under the Supremacy Clause. Instead of states passing bills like SB 1070, we need comprehensive immigration reform that solves immigration problems in a constitutional manner, and in a manner that protects all Americans’ rights to privacy.