29 July 2010

Arizona Judge Orders Hold on Controversial Immigration Law

Just one day before Arizona's divisive new immigration policy was set to go into effect, a federal judge issued a ruling that put many of the most contentious aspects of the law on hold -- if only temporarily.

Finding in favor of the federal government's case against the state of Arizona, Judge Bolton's ruling has prevented a number of the law's key provisions from taking effect while she finishes hearing the case. According to AZCentral.com, the following elements of SB1070 will be stayed while Judge Bolton continues to hear arguments:
  • The portion that requires an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there's reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally.
  • The portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry "alien-registration papers."
  • The portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.)
  • The portion that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.
Though the rulings are only temporary, and though eight other provisions of the law were allowed to go into effect, the New York Times suggests that this is a clear "preview" of what Judge Bolton's final ruling is likely to be, predicting that the federal government is poised to win in the end. However, top officials in Arizona are vowing to appeal the findings immediately -- so expect the fight on this one to last for quite some time.

Meanwhile, all over the state of Arizona, opponents (including Alto Arizona) of SB1070 continue to speak out about the dangers the law poses to immigrant families -- even in its newer, less drastic form. Today, July 29, has been named a National Day of Non-Compliance, with protests and other actions planned across the state, and across the country. If you, too, feel that Judge Bolton's ruling is a good start but ultimately not enough, take action: it's not too late to tell the president how you feel about immigration reform.

Photo: by Elizabeth Rappaport. (detail) Immigration Reform March in Washington, DC, 21 March 2010.

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