Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A day after the pared-down SB 1070 takes effect, questions linger


Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office truck rumbles through downtown Phoenix.

It's the morning after in Arizona, where portions of the anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 went into effect yesterday, large crowds of demonstrators opposed to the measure protested throughout downtown Phoenix, and at least 50 demonstrators were arrested, among them a large number of religious clergy and at least one journalist. Demonstrations continue, including one today at a Sheriff's booking facility downtown, where several were arrested yesterday, and a pro-SB 1070 event planned at the state Capitol this evening.

Meanwhile, the state is appealing a federal judge's Wednesday ruling that blocked the law's most controversial components, among them a provision that would have required local officers to attempt to determine the immigration status of individuals they stopped or detained if there was "reasonable suspicion" they were in the country illegally. In spite of the ruling, the famously anti-illegal immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is proceeding with a planned sweep.

Now the biggest questions are what happens next - we'll get to that one later - and just what the implementation of a pared-down SB 1070 entails. Many provisions of the law remain intact, including one that allows the state to prohibit law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions from adopting so-called "sanctuary" policies that limit enforcement of federal immigration laws, and another allowing residents to sue state officials, agencies or jurisdictions for taking such a policy. What constitutes a human smuggling crime has been expanded in a way that poses problems for families of mixed immigration status, and those who hire unauthorized workers will face stiffer penalties, including anyone who hinders traffic while picking up day laborers.

There has been a steady stream of analysis since Wednesday by media outlets, attempting to parse out the latest version of the law and answer questions that have come up since the ruling. The Arizona Republic interviewed legal experts as to how parts of the law remain confusing, a piece that is part of an informative special section pulling together all aspects of the SB 1070 story. CNN offered this explanation of the ruling, and the Christian Science Monitor had a story explaining the rationale behind the judge's decision.

I still like the point-by-point explainer that Fox News put together Wednesday, listing which parts of SB 1070 apply now and which ones don't. Finally, the website of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, publishers of the policy journal Americas Quarterly, had a comprehensive resource guide to the SB 1070 decision and related issues.

This blogger is about to join the media exodus out of Phoenix today. More later.