Frequently Asked Questions on SB1070

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Q: How is the Phoenix Police Department going to “police” the City of Phoenix?
A: The Phoenix Police Department will continue to promote and provide Policing with a Purpose which includes:

  • Nurturing and protecting democracy
  • Ensuring justice
  • Embracing a spirit of service
  • Fundamental fairness
  • Protecting communities from harm

Treating People with Dignity and Respect is the Ethical Foundation of Law Enforcement.

Q: Do police officers have to call ICE anytime they contact a person who does not have identification?
A: NO.  According to the Supreme Court decision, an officer is required to call ICE only if the person is lawfully detained for some violation of the law and the officer develops reasonable suspicion the person has committed an immigration violation. If a person has a form of identification that required verification of citizenship in order to be issued (such as an Arizona driver’s license), a call does not need to be made to ICE in this circumstance.  Also, if it is not practicable to call or it would hinder an investigation, then the call does not have to be made.

Q: Does a police officer have to call ICE on every victim and witness of a crime?
A: A police officer does not have to contact ICE if the person is not in violation of some other law and if it would hinder a criminal investigation.  We encourage victims and witnesses of crimes to report them to police.

Q: When can police ask me for identification?
A: Arizona law requires a person to provide his/her true full name to a police officer if a person is lawfully detained for a crime.  A person is also required to carry identification while operating a motor vehicle.  This was required prior to SB1070.  The new laws have not changed the current requirements for people to carry identification when operating a motor vehicle or truthfully identify themselves when detained.  
Although not always required, it is always a good idea to carry some form of identification for emergency purposes.

Q: What identification do I need to provide if I am a driver of a motor vehicle and stopped by police?
A: The operator of a motor vehicle must provide identification to include 1.) The driver's full name  2.) The driver's date of birth  3.) The driver's residence address  4.) A brief physical description of the driver, including the driver's sex, weight, height and eye and hair color and 5.) The driver's signature.

Q: What is the legal basis for suspecting that someone is in the country illegally?
A: “Reasonable suspicion” is the legal basis. Reasonable suspicion includes several facts and circumstances that would make a reasonable person believe someone is committing or has committed an immigration violation.   It is based on the totality of all the facts and circumstances known to the officer.
Race, color, and national origin cannot be one of the facts an officer can use to develop reasonable suspicion.

Q: Can race be used to detain someone and call ICE?
A: NO.  A person cannot be detained by police based solely on race. Under SB1070, race is not to be considered as a reason to stop a person unless it is part of a suspect description or otherwise authorized by law.  

Q: Does the law now require police officers to solely look for violations of immigration law and call ICE?
A: NO.  The Phoenix Police Department shall enforce immigration laws as required by law.  If during the course of a lawful detention for some other crime, the officer develops reasonable suspicion there is also a violation of an immigration law, the officer is required to make a reasonable attempt to contact ICE unless it is not practicable, hinders an investigation, or the person provides a form of identification that required verification of citizenship in order to be issued (such as an Arizona driver’s license).  

Q: When will Immigration and Customs Enforcement be contacted?
A: First, an officer must have a lawful detention of a person for some other violation. Then, a reasonable attempt to call shall be made ONLY if the officer develops reasonable suspicion a person is also in violation of an immigration law.

Q: Do police officers have to call ICE if someone cannot speak English?
A: NO.  The inability to speak English alone is not reasonable suspicion a person is   in violation of a criminal immigration law.