[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Wednesday upheld [opinion, PDF] a controversial provision of Arizona’s immigration law [SB 1070, PDF] that requires 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. Judge Susan Bolton, after hearing arguments [JURIST report] on the law in August, denied the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction in light of the US Supreme Court [official website] ruling in Arizona v. United States [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] which upheld the provision. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] praised [press release] the court’s ruling, saying this “most critical section” of the law will “empower state and local law enforcement.” Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU) [advocacy website], expressed concern [press release] over the ruling:
Latino members of our community should not be subjected to unlawful stops based on their race or perceived immigration status. Once this ‘show me your papers’ provision goes into effect, racial profiling will become rampant statewide … and we intend to ramp up our reporting and litigation efforts to seek justice on behalf of the victims of police abuse.
The court also granted a preliminary injunction on federal preemption grounds for part of the law that criminalizes the harboring and transportation of illegal immigrants. Bolton had enjoined several provisions of SB 1070 [JURIST report] in July 2010, including the one that requires law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of suspects.
Immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] has became a hot button issue over the past few years as many states, Arizona being the first, have passed laws giving state and local officials more power to crack down on illegal immigration. In August the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] struck down [JURIST report] several provisions of Alabama’s controversial immigration law [HB 56, PDF], upheld a few sections of the law and rejected part of Georgia’s immigration law [HB 87, text]. That same month, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] again heard arguments [JURIST report] on two anti-illegal immigrant laws enacted in 2006 by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which deny permits to businesses that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords who extend housing to them. In July a judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina [official website] declined to lift an injunction [JURIST report] against South Carolina’s controversial immigration law [SB 20 materials], despite the recent Supreme Court ruling. The lawsuit against the South Carolina immigration law was put on hold [JURIST report] in January pending the outcome of Arizona v. United States. Last May the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center filed a class action lawsuit challenging Utah’s immigration law, the same month that the ACLU filed a class action [JURIST reports] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] challenging that state’s immigration law.