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SB 1070 watch: Might the law's 'reasonable suspicion' section remain blocked?

The judge who initially blocked key provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law in 2010 is weighing part of the law once more, this time deciding if and when a provision that allows local cops to check for immigration status goes into effect.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals officially returned the SB 1070 case to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, the Phoenix judge who issued a temporary injunction in July 2010 blocking parts of the law that included the controversial Section 2(B). That is the section that allows local police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop or detain if there is â??reasonable suspicionâ? the person is in the country illegally.

Section 2(B) was upheld in June by the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down three other contested provisions. Section 2(B) survived with the caveat that there could be future legal challenges once implemented. Since then, a coalition of advocacy, civil rights and other groups has renewed its legal challenge to SB 1070 on racial profiling grounds, asking for new injunction blocking Section 2(B).

Bolton weighed the SB 1070 case again today, the Arizona Daily Star reported, although there's no word on when she may issue a ruling. From the story:

A federal judge questioned this morning whether she has the right to once again block the state from enforcing the most controversial provision of its 2010 law aimed at illegal immigrants.

Judge Susan Bolton pointed out the U.S. Supreme Court in June said she was incorrect in her initial order enjoining the â??papers pleaseâ? provision of SB 1070. It requires police to question those they have stopped about their immigration status if there is reason to believe they are in the country illegally.

But Karen Tumlin, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, told Bolton the high court decided that case based only on the information presented by the Obama administration. In that case, federal attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the provision was pre-empted by federal law.

Here, Tumlin said, there is other evidence, including that one of the motivating factors behind SB 1070 was racial prejudice.

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