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Arizona governor signs controversial illegal immigration bill

[JURIST] Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] on Friday signed into law [press release, PDF] a controversial bill [SB1070 materials] that would require any individual suspected of being an illegal immigrant to present valid identification to law enforcement officials. The bill gives police officers permission to determine the immigration status of any individual who arouses reasonable suspicion, criminalizes the hiring of illegal immigrants for day labor, and allows citizens to sue the local government if they believe the policy is not being used properly. Brewer signed the bill despite criticism [JURIST report] from US President Barack Obama earlier in the day that the measure, "threaten[s] to undermine basic notions of fairness." The bill will take effect in 90 days.

The bill was approved earlier this month by the Arizona Senate and the House of Representatives [JURIST reports]. Earlier this week, Brewer announced a new Arizona border security plan [press release; AP report], and declared her support for a 10-point plan [press release] supported by US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) [official profiles]. In 2008, Arizona voters defeated a ballot measure [JURIST report] dealing with illegal immigrants. The initiative would have revoked the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Arizona is the most active border crossing point in the US.

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