Thursday, March 31, 2005


Private illegal immigration enforcement

Although I still have to do a little more research on the subject, as far as I can tell, being a citizen of this wonderful country automatically enables you to enforce the law if you see an illegal activity being committed. Let's take a look at the Minuteman Project, a group of private citizens who banded together to stop illegal immigration on the Arizona-Mexico border. I've heard screams and cries from various civil rights groups across the nation because of this experiment, but truth be told, the Minutemen, who are simply reporting illegal activity to Border Patrol agents, are well within their legal bounds even if they do decide to take someone into custody who is making a run across the desert. Here's how the legal stance on a citizens arrest in the state of California goes:
A citizen's arrest is a formal arrest by a citizen has no official government authority to make such an arrest as an agent of the government. The California Penal Code gives any citizen the right to make a citizen's arrest of another citizen in three alternative situations:
  • A public offense was committed or attempted in the citizen's presence.
  • The person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the citizen's presence.
  • A felony has been in fact committed and the citizen has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested has committed it.

I've been looking through various case law on the subject, and from what I gather, a written notice of an intent to perform a citizens arrest in the state of Arizona is required, if the person you are intending to take into custody is a legal resident of the United States. The key word here is legal ---- the grey zone in this argument is what to do with illegal immigrants, or people who crossed the border a few days ago and are laying-low.

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