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Judge upholds controversial Arizona immigration provision

Under the “show me your papers law,” Arizona police officers must verify the immigration status of individuals they stop or detain

Arizona’s immigration policy has made news all year, and today the issue is back in the headlines, as a federal judge ruled that the state can require police officers to verify the immigration status of people they stop or detain.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down three provisions of the state’s Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), but upheld the so-called “show me your papers” provision. The court reasoned that the provision was in line with federal laws, which require state and local law enforcement officials to verify immigration status if they reasonably suspect that someone they have stopped or detained is an illegal immigrant. Writing for the majority, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the court’s opinion “does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”

Civil rights and immigration groups had asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to block the provision, arguing that it would lead to racial profiling and allow authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants for longer than is constitutionally permitted.

But Bolton followed the Supreme Court’s precedent, ruling that the provision “cannot be challenged further on its face before the law takes effect.” She also echoed the higher court’s finding that the law can potentially be challenged as unconstitutional, depending upon its application. She did grant a preliminary injunction against a law making it a crime to harbor suspected illegal immigrants.

Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of immigration policy, see:

Supreme Court strikes down much of Arizona immigration law

Cheat Sheet: A quick guide to the American stalemate on immigration policy

How the immigration policy stalemate is hurting businesses and the economy

State courts to decide if illegal immigrants can become lawyers

Alabama’s controversial immigration law goes to court

Alanna Byrne

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