Arizona governor signs bill amending controversial immigration law News
Arizona governor signs bill amending controversial immigration law
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[JURIST] Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] on Friday signed into law a bill [HB 2162 materials] designed to clarify the recently passed immigration law [SB 1070 materials]. The original bill, signed into law [JURIST report] last week, makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant and requires police to question anyone whose immigration status appears suspect. It caused intense controversy, with opponents claiming that it mandated racial profiling. The new bill includes several clarifications designed to alleviate those concerns. One provision includes strengthening restrictions against using race or ethnicity as the basis for questioning by police, while another specifies that law enforcement officers can only question a suspect's immigration status if the suspect has already been stopped while enforcing another law. Upon signing the amendments, Brewer said [statement]:

Taking into consideration questions and concerns that have been expressed about the SB1070 legislation I signed last week, today I signed HB 2162 which defines and clarifies even further the proper implementation and enforcement of the law. These changes specifically answer legal questions raised by some who expressed fears that the original law would somehow allow or lead to racial profiling. These new amendments make it crystal clear and undeniable that racial profiling is illegal, and will not be tolerated in Arizona.

Both bills are set to take effect on July 29.

Earlier this week, two lawsuits were filed [JURIST report] challenging the new law. Also this week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, Spanish] strongly criticized [JURIST report] the new immigration law, claiming that the measure opens the door to intolerance and hatred. US President Barack Obama has also criticized the law [JURIST report], calling for federal immigration reform. Under the law, it is designated a crime to be in the country illegally, and immigrants unable to verify their legal status could be arrested and jailed for six months and fined $2,500.