Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BREAKING: Federal Court Grants Injunction Against Parts of AZ Immigration Law

So... Big news today!  An injunction against some of the worst parts of the new Arizona immigration law!

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of SB 1070

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling today, just hours before SB 1070 is set to go into effect tomorrow, blocking the most stringent portions of the new Arizona law. As passed, SB 1070 makes it a state crime to be undocumented in Arizona and empowers police officers to stop and question anyone they have reasonable suspicion may be in the state without papers. The law also requires law enforcement to question the legal status of anyone they stop while they're enforcing state and local law, or even civil code.

Judge Bolton granted a partial injunction, which stops a law from being implemented while the courts hash out the constitutionality of the law. Her ruling blocks the requirement that people carry their papers with them at all times; it was an offense punishable with jail time and fines. Bolton also blocked the provision that makes it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit day laborer work in public places. Most importantly, Bolton blocked the portions of SB 1070 that require officers to check a person's status while enforcing other laws and allow for the warrantless arrests of those believed to have committed "deportable offenses".

Read the ruling for yourself here.

Judge blocks parts of Arizona immigration law

"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law)," Bolton ruled. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."
Federal authorities who are trying to overturn the law have argued that letting the Arizona law stand would create a patchwork of immigration laws nationwide that would needlessly complicate the foreign relations of the United States. Federal lawyers said the law is disrupting U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries and would burden the agency that responds to immigration-status inquiries.

BREAKING: Judge Keeps Key Parts of Arizona Law from Going Into Effect

Judge Bolton, who was recommended for the bench by Republican Senator Jon Kyl, did not grant the federal government's request to put the entire bill on hold, so most of its provisions will still go into effect as scheduled tomorrow. But the most controversial four provisions have been enjoined:

The "show your papers" provision: "Portion of Section 2 [...] requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person"
The section making it a crime to be undocumented: "Section 3: creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers"
The section making it a crime to look for work: "Portion of Section 5: creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work"
The section authorizing police to arrest immigrants without a warrant: "Section 6: authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense"

Technically, this isn't the end of the lawsuit. The injunction just puts a hold on these sections until a final ruling is made; it doesn't strike them down completely. But Judge Bolton could only issue the injunction if she thought that the federal government was "likely to succeed" in its case that SB 1070 undermined the federal government's authority to set immigration policy; in the case of these four provisions, the order said, she'll probably end up agreeing. Furthermore, the order said (emphasis added):
"the United States is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the Court does not preliminarily enjoin enforcement of these Sections of S.B. 1070 and that the balance of equities tips in the United States’ favor considering the public interest."

Legal eagles can read the order in full here, or this analysis by the American Immigration Council covering the various lawsuits filed against the law.

The fight is NOT over, but this is a promising step.  Those parts of the law not under this injunction are still going into effect tomorrow, and as such, I would encourage you to see what actions against the law are planned for your area! VivirLatino has a list of NYC area events.

And in the Bay Area:

Title:Downtown Oakland Action to Protest SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location Details:
Actions are scheduled to protest the passing of SB1070. 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street (at 14th Street), Downtown Oakland, CA

Title:Fruitvale Action to Protest SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location Details:
Actions are scheduled to protest the passing of SB1070. 3:00pm - 4:00pm: Fruitvale BART Plaza, 35th Ave & International Blvd, Oakland, CA

Title:Rally Against SB 1070 in Santa Cruz
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location Details:
Depot Park
119 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95067
(On Washington St, behind the Police Department)

Title:SF Rally for Immigrant Rights and Against SB 1070!
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location Details:
24th Street and Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

Title:Youth Organize Opposition to SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location Details:
McDowell park, off of Park Ln., between Maria Dr. and McGregor Ave
Petaluma, CA