A new Arizona law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer today brings new requirements for police officers in a state that's been a gateway for illegal immigrants entering the country.
Upon hearing about the new law, known as SB 1070, President Obama said it could "undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."
Arizona officers will now be required "when practicable" to detain people they suspect are in the country illegally and verify their status with federal officials unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment, the New York Times reports.
The law also makes it a misdemeanor to fail to carry immigration papers, makes it a crime to hire day laborers if it disrupts traffic and allwo individuals to sue agencies who aren't enforcing immigration laws.
Arizona agencies such as the Phoneix Police Department are now reviewing the law before providing any guidance to officers.
"At this point our legal advisors are reviewing it to determine what kind of ramifications it will have for our department," Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson told POLICE Magazine.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been conducting supression sweeps to cut down on human smuggling and drug trafficking by illegal immigrants, urged Brewer to sign the bill on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Sheriff Arpaio initiated a new program enabling nearly 900 sworn deputies to enforce immigration laws by giving them the training to detect and arrest illegal aliens as they encounter them during the course of their regular duties.
"Giving all of my deputies the ability to enforce all immigration laws has not proven to be any additional strain of resources like so many critics of the proposed state immigration law claim," Arpaio said in a statement. "Their argument is a cop out because they do not want illegal immigration laws enforced."
Arpaio initiated the new program immediately following the federal government's Oct. 15 decision to take away 100 deputies' ability to act as federal immigration agents. Those deputies had received five weeks of training from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but were stripped of their authority by the Obama Administration.