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Judge: Immigration Status Can be Researched by Police in Arizona

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A federal judge ruled that the state of Arizona can require its police officers to check the immigration status of people that they stop or detain. The judge’s ruling denies a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to block enforcement of the provision. The judge, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, rejected the request that would have put the ‘show me your papers’ provision on hold until ruled by courts if it is Constitutional. The other groups that filed the request were the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center.

Bolton said that she will not ignore the ‘clear direction’ taken by the U.S. Supreme Court that it “cannot be challenged further on its face before the law takes effect.” The law from Arizona was sued by the Obama administration. The lawsuit claims that the law goes over the federal right to create immigration policy.

  
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“As the Supreme Court stated, plaintiffs and the U.S. may be able to challenge the provision on other preemption and constitutional grounds ‘as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,’” Bolton wrote in her ruling.

The law requires police officers and other law enforcement personnel to check the immigration status of a person they stop if the officer has a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person is in the country illegally.

“Today’s ruling will lead to rampant racial profiling of Latinos and others who might be suspected of being in Arizona without authorization,” Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center, said. “We are committed to continuing the fight against this law in our case until it is permanently stuck down.”

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The law in Arizona was passed in 2010, making it the first in the country. Since then, the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, Alabama and Indiana all have passed laws that focus on illegal immigration. All of those laws are also facing battles in court. A provision of the law that makes it illegal to harbor or transport illegal immigrants was blocked by Bolton in the ruling.

“The district court was correct in blocking Arizona’s harboring statute, which criminalized many everyday interactions with unauthorized immigrants,” Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.



Arizona claims that it is within its rights to enforce the law because the federal government has not done enough. The state also claims that half of the country’s illegal immigrants come into the country through the state’s 370-mile border with Mexico.

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