Megan chimes in on the Arizona debate:
The reason this law passed is that the people who support it--the same people now claiming that this isn't about racial profiling--know that it only applies to people who are poorer and darker skinned and probably speak with funny accents, anyway. I'd be a lot more sympathetic to this law, in fact, if it required the police to check the immigration status of every single person they pulled over, without any gauzy "reason to believe" fig leaf to cover up what's really going on. Raise your hand if you think that law could have passed in Arizona.
Matt Welch feels that everyone is already a potential target, at the discretion of cops:
"On the average car," [Steve] Chapman said a cop once told him, "he could find half a dozen reasons to write up additional citations if provoked. Any of those would serve equally well to justify a stop." When you have thousands upon thousands of criminal laws, chances are non-trivial that you're breaking one of them as we speak, or at least can be seen as possibly breaking one of them, in case you happen to cross paths with a motivated law enforcement officer. The "driving while black" phenomenon is not some Al Sharpton urban legend.