Judge OKs Arizonaâs show-me-your-papers law
From the Trenches World Report
September 6th, 2012
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By Clark Kent
PHOENIXÂ âÂ A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Arizona authorities can enforce the most contentious section of the stateâsÂ immigration law, which critics have dubbed the âshow me your papersâ provision.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton clears the way for police to carry out the requirement thatÂ officers, while enforcing otherÂ laws, question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally.
The provision has been at the center of a two-year legal battle that resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June upholding the requirement, ruling against the Obama administration, which filed the initial challenge.
The Obama administrationÂ declaredÂ a measure of victory at the time, as the court said local police cannot detain anyone on an immigration violation unless federal immigration officials say so.
After the nationâs highest court weighed in, opponents asked Bolton to block the provision outright by arguing that it would lead to systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detentions of Latinos if itâs enforced.
LawyersÂ for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, however, urged the judge to let the requirement go into effect, saying the lawâs opponents were merely speculating in their racial profiling claims. The Republican governorâsÂ officeÂ also said police have receivedÂ trainingÂ to avoid discriminatory practices and thatÂ officersÂ must have reasonable suspicion that aÂ personis in the country illegally to trigger the requirement.
In her ruling, Bolton said the court will not ignore the clear direction from the Supreme Court that the provision âcannot be challenged further on its face beforeÂ the lawÂ takes effect.â She reiterated the high courtâs interpretation thatÂ the lawÂ might be able to be challenged as unconstitutional on other grounds.
The Obama administrationâs case was based on the argument that federalÂ immigration lawÂ trumped Arizona law. The challenge didnât confront racial profiling.
Arizonaâs law, known as SB1070, was passed in 2010 amid voter frustration with the stateâs role as the busiest illegal entry point into the country. Five other states â Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah â have adopted variations.
To the supporters, the questioning requirement was the most important part of Arizonaâs law, which aimed to reduce the problems associated with illegal immigration through enforcement of the stateâs policy.
Immigrant rights groups say the requirement presents the most opportunities for civil rights abuses.
Shortly beforeÂ the lawÂ was to take effect in July 2010, Bolton prevented police from enforcing the questioning requirement and other parts of the statute, ruling the Obama administration would likely succeed in its challenge.
Brewer, who signed the measure, appealed the ruling, lost at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and took her case to the Supreme Court.
Less controversial sections ofÂ the lawÂ have been in effect since late July 2010, but have rarely been used.
BrewerâsÂ officeÂ saidÂ the lawÂ is expected to go into effect shortly.
âCertainly Gov. Brewer is pleased with this decision,â said governorâs spokesman Matthew Benson. âShe believes itâs time SB1070 is implemented and so that we can see how effective this law is in practice.â
Karen Tumlin, anÂ attorneyÂ for the NationalÂ Immigration LawÂ Center, said herÂ officeÂ was âconsidering our legal optionsâ after Boltonâs ruling.
âWe were surprised and disappointed,â said Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.
The chief sponsor of SB1070, former state Senate President Russell Pearce, didnât immediately return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon and neither did theÂ officeÂ of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards andÂ TrainingBoard, saidÂ law enforcementÂ statewide has been trained on how to implement SB1070 and had been awaiting a start date.
Whatâs unclear, he said, is how the federal government will respond to requests for immigration checks and what the relationship will be between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Arizona police.
âWe donât know, and I donât know if anybody knows until that starts to happen,â Mann said.
Amber Cargile, the ICE spokeswoman in Arizona, declined comment and directed inquiries to the nationalÂ office.
Bolton did, however,Â grantÂ a preliminary injunction against a statute making it illegal to harbor individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
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Contributed by From the Trenches World Report of www.FromTheTrenchesWorldReport.com.
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