The most contested provision of Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law has been cleared to go into effect, although chances are the legal saga surrounding the 2010 law is far from over.
U.S District Judge Susan Bolton denied a request yesterday for another injunction blocking SB 1070's Section 2 (B), the controversial so-called "papers please" provision allowing state and local police officers to check for immigration status if they suspect a person is the country illegally. It was the only one of four contested sections that was upheld, with caveats, by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.
Bolton was the same judge who issued an injunction blocking these provisions in July 2010, just before the law was partly enacted; the case went back to her following the high court's decision. At the same time, civil rights and other groups had renewed a legal challenge based on racial profiling concerns.
Photo by SEIU International/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A protester holds a union anti-SB 1070 sign, May 1, 2010
Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three of four controversial provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law that had been temporarily blocked by a lower court. But they upheld the most contentious one, Section 2(B), which empowers local cops to check the immigration status of people they stop or detain if they decide there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally.
So given the court's decision, why, then, is there a renewed legal challenge to Section 2(B) before it takes effect? Like most of the legal wrangling that has surrounded SB 1070, it's complicated.
When they issued their ruling on SB 1070 in late June, the justices made clear that Section 2(B) was not entirely out of the woods. While it did not on its face appear to conflict with federal law - the basis of the federal legal challenge that eventually led SB 1070 to the high court - there was no guarantee that it would not present a conflict once implemented, the justices ruled.
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's SB 1070 late last month, striking down three provisions of the state anti-illegal immigration law while upholding its most controversial one, other states with SB 1070-style laws have been weighing how the decision applies to them.
The justices ruled on whether four contested sections of the 2010 Arizona law encroached on the federal government’s ability to set immigration policy, and thus were preempted by federal law. The one provision the high court did not strike down: Section 2(B), which empowers local police to check the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally. The court ruled that, as written, this did not conflict with federal law, although it remains to be seen if it will violate federal law in practice.
Photo by S.E.B./Flickr (Creative Commons)
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
And what a week it's been. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two of its most anticipated rulings of the year, Monday on Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law and Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.
On my particular beat, anticipation had been building over the SB 1070 decision since the high court agreed to take Arizona's appeal late last year, inching higher in the last couple of weeks each time the court issued opinions, but not one on Arizona v. United States.
It's no wonder that after it all wound down this week, I came down with a nasty bug. Which will make for a short list of highlights this week, but no matter. I'm including some bonus links to a few pieces on what the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means for immigrants.
Without further ado, some highlights from the week.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the matter of Arizona v. United States, deciding to preserve a key provision of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law while striking down three others. But because the high court was only weighing whether four provisions of the law conflicted with federal law, there is much still left unsettled, and legal wrangling over SB 1070 isn't due to end any time soon.
The one provision the justices did not strike down was Section 2(B), the most hotly contested provision of SB 1070, which empowers local police to check the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally. The court ruled that, as written, this provision did not conflict with federal law, although it remains to be seen if it will violate federal law in practice.