[JURIST] A coalition of six rights groups filed a petition [ACLU materials] in the US District Court of Arizona [official website] on Friday seeking to block to additional elements of the Arizona’s recently passed immigration reform bill SB 1070 [text; JURIST news archives]. The petition [text, PDF], filed [ACLU press release] by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), MALDEF , the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [official websites], alleges that the legislation infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers. According to the petition [text, PDF]:
The First Amendment guarantees all members of society the right to free expression. Solicitation speech is expression entitled to full protection under the First Amendment. Sections 13-2928 (A) and (B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes are content-based speech restrictions because they impose statewide criminal liability on motorists and individuals based on individuals’ employment solicitation speech.
Other key provisions of the legislation were blocked through a preliminary junction order [text, PDF] issued [JURIST report] by the Arizona district court in July. Speaking about petition filed on Friday, legal director and general counsel for the NDLON Chris Newman said, “Free speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment are vital to our democracy, and they belong as much to day laborers as they do to authors, corporations, and politicians. Other federal judges that have examined similar anti-day labor laws have found them to be unconstitutional, and we are confident these sections of SB 1070 will be enjoined and ultimately struck down as well.”
In December, the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF; merit briefs] in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report] on whether an Arizona statute imposing sanctions on employers that hire illegal immigrants is preempted by federal law [JURIST report]. According to 8 USC § 1324(a)(h)(2) [text], federal law preempts any “[s]tate or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens,” except in cases of state licensing laws. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] the Legal Arizona Workers Act [materials] on the basis that the state statute is a licensing law, which exempts it from being preempted by the federal law.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.