Heroic Giffords Intern Could Be Asked For Papers Under Arizona Immigration Law

First Posted: 01-10-11 05:37 PM   |   Updated: 01-10-11 06:21 PM

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Congresswoman Shot Heroes

WASHINGTON -- When a gunman attacked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others on Saturday, 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez ran toward the shots to try to save those who were injured. He stopped to check pulses on several victims before finding Giffords, who had been shot in the head. Hernandez applied pressure to the wound, holding his boss of five days until his clothes were soaked with her blood. Hernandez, trained as a nursing assistant, lifted her head so that she wouldn't choke on her own blood. When an ambulance came, he climbed inside with her and held her hand.

"I think it's a little strange to be calling me a hero, because the things that I did was a one-off," Hernandez said on CBS's "The Early Show" on Monday. "However, the real heroes are people like Congresswoman Giffords, who have dedicated their lives to public service and helping others."

Hernandez may have saved the congresswoman's life. But under Arizona's controversial anti-immigration law, SB 1070, those with Hispanic names -- like the Mexican-American Hernandez, who is a naturalized citizen -- could be asked for papers at a police officer's discretion. Any legitimate reason for police contact with an individual they suspect of being in the country illegally could prompt a request for identification, and witnessing a shooting would be one such reason.

"If you are a witness for a crime, the officer would have a lawful reason to approach you, and if they had any reason to suspect you might be an alien, they could ask," Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at Berkeley Law School's Warren Institute, told HuffPost. "The big question is what is reasonable suspicion."

The effect on the Latino community's willingness to interact with police was a primary argument against SB 1070.

For now, the law's provisions regarding immigration status checks have been blocked by a federal judge. But the law could still go into effect if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of an appeal by the state of Arizona. The court has yet to make a ruling after hearing the case in November.

Latinos make up about 30 percent of the state's population, according to the 2008 Census. For those who are undocumented, there are already some deterrents to reporting crime or intervening, including programs that automatically send all fingerprints taken by police to immigration officials. (In some cases, including instances of domestic violence, police routinely take both sets of fingerprints, then only charge one party after they determine which is the attacker.)

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Although the drafters of SB 1070 said they aimed to drive out illegal immigrants, in part, to reduce crime, there is little evidence that rates of violent crime are higher when more undocumented immigrants are present. A California study in 2008 said that crime rates actually fell as the undocumented population increased. In Arizona, violent crime has been falling since 2002.

If it went into effect, critics say SB 1070 could deter minorities from reporting crimes to avoid giving up their papers. At the same time, people who would not be reasonably suspected to be illegal immigrants, such as alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, would not be asked for papers.

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WASHINGTON -- When a gunman attacked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others on Saturday, 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez ran toward the shots to try to save those who were injured. He stoppe...
WASHINGTON -- When a gunman attacked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others on Saturday, 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez ran toward the shots to try to save those who were injured. He stoppe...
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jaredbrain   4 minutes ago (7:18 PM)
We're all aware that he's a hispanic in Arizona. Thank you for being the ones to point it out. I think the only thing in this article worth noting is that undocument­ed immigrants don't even get to call 911 when they're in trouble anymore.
AKJM   4 minutes ago (7:17 PM)
So what's your point. No one is questionin­g a suspected illegal aliens humanity only their citizenshi­p. WE don't beat, or harm illegal aliens, we only deport them. WE treat illegal aliens more humainly than most nations.
NoAstroTurfHere   6 minutes ago (7:16 PM)
Really? Wow. Unbelievab­le! Wait, I could be asked for my papers too, as well as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Jim Warner, Mohammed Atta or Osama Bin Laden...if all appear to be committing a crime. Whoops...f­orgot that point didn't ya blogger!
RightinWA   7 minutes ago (7:15 PM)
funny... every sigle one of us could be asked for ID by officers AT ANY TIME....

Shame on HP to politicize this!!
AngusC   8 minutes ago (7:14 PM)
Still think it is rich how a group of people that stole this land from indigenous people that already lived here and ensalved another group of people to work it have the nerve to call another group of people illegal immigrants­.
whitemerlot   10 minutes ago (7:12 PM)
I'm totally against the proposed Arizona immigratio­n law, but this seems like a totally weird way to conflate the issue with the killings that went on this past weekend. Basically the author just wants to say that anyone, even a hero, could be checked for their immigratio­n status if they have a Latino-sou­nding name. I don't think there was ever a question about that.
liveandwrite   11 minutes ago (7:11 PM)
Considerin­g Dupnik has refused to enforce this law in that county, this is much ado about nothing, trying to score some cheap talking points on a political agenda by tying it to this man's heroics.
dadgummit   17 minutes ago (7:05 PM)
What other way are you suppose to find out if someone is a legal citizen.
JMBrodie   9 minutes ago (7:13 PM)
How do you prove your citizenshi­p?
GlackBOP   21 minutes ago (7:01 PM)
Great work Elise. 1) TOTAL misreprese­ntation of the law (he'd have to be committing a crime). 2) Way to take someone's pain to make cheap, political elitist debate points.
Murgo525   22 minutes ago (7:00 PM)
Hmmm, as of right now there are 32 approved comments and 226 pending, one of which is mine. Hahaha I see the comment moderation is the same as the reporting. Fair and open. Wink, wink.
odhinn42   25 minutes ago (6:56 PM)
I have to say that this smacks more of propaganda than of journalism­. This guy is a hero. And I don't like seeing him drug into this. Sure, he could be asked about his immigratio­n status, and that's wrong. But this article clearly isn't interested in informing, its interested in pushing a political agenda. I'm a little disappoint­ed.
itschuck2c   9 minutes ago (7:13 PM)
I agree, to use this in the way the author did is reprehensi­ble.
pipetoe   27 minutes ago (6:55 PM)
Is he illegal? If not, then why should he care.
OldJazzyGirl   34 minutes ago (6:48 PM)
The article was excellent. It is an easily understood example that gets right to the heart of it. It is racism.
sneakersinco   36 minutes ago (6:46 PM)
2008 Census? To the best of my knowledge, a census is conducted every 10 years. Which census is the author referring to?
Those with Hispanic last names can be questioned by police - under that law anyone can be questioned with reasonable suspicion. The way that sentence is written implies that the law directly allows police to question those with a Hispanic last name (which my married name is, but not maiden).
This article is poorly written and positioned - headline and content.
writersbloc   38 minutes ago (6:44 PM)
if a president can pardon Nixon, would it be too much to ask to keep this kid in the country? You know, act a little decent and throw the guy a bone for risking his life.
Patroclus   28 minutes ago (6:53 PM)
Apparently you have a case of reader's bloc. There is nothing in the article that says he is not a US citizen. What it is saying is that because of his obvious ethnicity the AZ police, were the law active, could demand he prove his citizenshi­p. What it is pointing out is the AZ law could ruin the life of someone being heroic like Mr. Hernandez but who is not legal.
HekmagaJuximakLives   22 minutes ago (7:00 PM)
From the article:
"...like the Mexican-Am­erican Hernandez, who is a naturalize­d citizen...­"

But knowing how virulently racist Arizona is, they might just try to deport a citizen of the United States. It's happened before.

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