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Updated Sep 18, 2012, 3:23 pm Originally posted Sep 18, 2012, 2:03 pm
A federal judge formally lifted an injunction Tuesday that halted the enforcement of the SB 1070 provision that requires police to determine the immigration status of arrestees. While that part of the law is now in force, most of the bill is now permanently barred.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton signed an order Tuesday afternoon lifting the injunction she issued two years ago that blocked enforcement of most of Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law.
That move, which follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year, means Arizona police are now required to determine the immigration status of everyone they arrest, and must determine the status of those they stop or detain if they suspect they are in the country without proper documentation.
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the 2010 law, welcomed the court order.
"I've never claimed that SB 1070 would cure Arizona's problems with illegal immigration; only the federal government has the resources and responsibility necessary to achieve that," she said in a press release. "What SB 1070 does represent is one more tool that our officers can use in collaborating with federal authorities to reduce the crime and other impacts associated with illegal immigration in our communities."
Opponents of SB 1070 have dubbed the section the "papers please" provision.
Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero called for renewed opposition to what she said is an "anti-immigrant, anti-Latino law," and announced a community forum on the issue will be held next week.
Bolton's order makes permanent the block on other key parts of the law, including provisions that made it a state crime for immigrants to fail to carry "alien-registration papers;" one that allowed for warrantless arrest of anyone suspected of committing an offense that made them removable from the country; and one that made it a state crime for an undocumented person to seek work.
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The Supreme Court ruled in June that those sections of the law were preempted by federal authority, but declined to block the requirement that police determine immigration status.
Rather, the justices virtually invited a challenge to the law on civil rights grounds after enforcement began.
"There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced," wrote Chief Justice Roberts in ruling on a case against the law brought by the U.S. Justice Department.
The ruling "does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect."
Bolton's order Tuesday does not mean SB 1070 will stand unchallenged; civil rights groups have vowed to collect data on how police enforce the law and sue to halt it if there is any discrimination.
Earlier this month, Bolton ruled against a request for a injunction against the "papers" provision filed by civil rights groups, who claim the law will result in racial profiling, unreasonable detentions and other abuses. The petitioners told the court that the law will lead to people being detained longer than is constitutionally permissible while they have their status checked by police.
The law's challengers, which include the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also raised claims that SB 1070 will violate equal protection, citing statements by former state Sen. Russell Pearce and others. The ACLU and MALDEF said that the law was passed with an intent to discriminate.
Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Justice Department have set up hotlines to document civil-liberties violations related to SB 1070. The ACLU hotline is 1-855-737-7386, the federal phone number is 1-855-353-1010.
Bolton did agree earlier this month to halt enforcement of another section, a provision against harboring or transporting illegal aliens, writing that that section of SB 1070 is also preempted by federal laws.
Community forum on SB 1070
A forum on the law is set for next Tuesday evening.
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"This law legitimizes racial profiling, and we want to be sure the public has an opportunity to ask law
enforcement how they will work to avoid discriminatory practices," said Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero in a news release announcing the meeting.
The event, featuring Tucson Police Chief Villaseñor and City Attorney Mike Rankin, as well as Romero and religious leaders, will be 5:30-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Most Holy Trinity Parish, 1300 N. Greasewood Rd.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.