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Ninth Circuit blocks day laborer provision of Arizona immigration law

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Monday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] barring the enforcement of an Arizona immigration law that prohibits motorists from stopping traffic to pick up workers. The injunction applies to two provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 [text, PDF], which make it unlawful for a motor vehicle occupant to hire or attempt to hire a person for work at another location from a stopped car that impedes traffic, or for a person to be hired in such a manner. The appeals court held that although Arizona has a significant government interest in promoting traffic safety, the day laborer provisions failed the requirement set forth in Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of New York [opinion] that restrictions on commercial speech be no more extensive than necessary to serve that interest.

SB 1070 has gained notoriety for its controversial provision requiring law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally. In June the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in Arizona v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] to strike down sections of the Arizona law, but upheld the controversial portion allowing police officers to check immigration status of anyone arrested. Currently, the Ninth Circuit is considering another questionable provision of the law that prohibits the harboring of "unlawful aliens." The harboring ban had been in effect since SB 1070's inception in July 2010 until it was struck down [JURIST report] by the US District Court for the District of Arizona in September. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website], who signed the bill into law, appealed [JURIST report] the lower court's injunction in late September.

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