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2012 Utah Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2012)

handle is hein.sag/sagut0020 and id is 1 raw text is: Opinion No. 2012-001
Utah Attorney General Opinion
General Guidelines To Local Law Enforcement
Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act (jB 497)
Purpose and General Concerns:
The purpose of this Opinion is to provide state and local law enforcement with guidelines concerning the enforcement of the
Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act (the Act.) It is not intended to limit law enforcement's underlying authority. The
Act, in most respects, does not significantly change state or local law enforcement's existing authority pertaining to aliens
unlawfully present in the United States.
The provisions of the Act only apply when law enforcement conducts a lawful stop, detention, or arrest based on prior law or
authority. The Act does not itself provide any cause or reason to stop, detain, or arrest a person and does not create a separate
crime relating to a person's citizenship or nationality. As before, racial profling remains illegal. A stop, detention, or arrest
cannot be made based upon a suspicion concerning that person's citizenship status, race, ethnicity, or nationality.
Identification of an Arrested or Stopped Person:
In the absence of an underlying voluntary encounter, legal stop, detention, or arrest, state or local law enforcement is not
authorized to either seek identification from persons for the purpose of ascertaining their citizenship status or nationality, nor are
they authorized to attempt to verify the person's citizenship or immigration status.
Any time a person is lawfully stopped, detained, or arrested (again, for a reason unrelated to their citizenship status or
nationality), law enforcement may seek to identify that person. A law enforcement officer may use his or her discretion in
identifying the person and is not required to ask for, or demand, any specific documentation. An officer may identify a person
based on a valid federal, state, or local identification document that includes a photo or biometric identifier of the holder,
including a valid Utah driver license, a valid tribal enrollment card, or a valid license from another State.
Even in the absence of any of these specific documents, it is acceptable for an officer to otherwise verify the identification of a
person through any other means on which the officer might normally and reasonably rely. The Act does not require any person
to carry certain documents with them at all times nor does it require or authorize State or local law enforcement to ascertain
whether persons are carrying federally-required citizenship documents.
Verification of an Arrested or Stopped Person:
If an officer can verify the identity of a person who is lawfully stopped, detained, or arrested, the officer is not required to
verify the person's citizenship status. If, however, the officer is unable to verify the person's identity, the Act requires
verification of citizenship status in some instances.
* An officer is required to verify the person's citizenship status if: (1) the person is arrested for a felony or a class A
misdemeanor, or (2) is arrested and booked for a class B or class C misdemeanor.
* An officer may, but is not required, to attempt to verify the immigration status of a person stopped for a class B or C
misdemeanor, if the person cannot be identified.
Whenever an individual is arrested, verification should take place at the time of booking and not in the field.
Verification of immigration status can only be determined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S.

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