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From Restore Fairness blog. Yesterday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on some of the toughest portions of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB1070 including the power for police to detain anyone "suspected" of being in the country illegally.  While the ruling is a victory, immigration law enforcement still needs reform

From Restore Fairness blog.

Yesterday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on some of the toughest portions of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB1070 including the power for police to detain anyone "suspected" of being in the country illegally.

Federal Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling came hours before the law was to take effect in response to a lawsuit filed by the Obama administration and to nationwide protests.

Her amendments block the portion of the law that requires an officer to make an attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion he is in the country illegally. They block the portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry "alien-registration papers," as well as the portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.) This ruling also obstructs the portion of the law that allows for a person’s arrest without warrant whenever there is a probable cause to believe he has committed a public offense that makes him removable from the U.S.

Bolton’s decision marks a victory for many in the movement who feel that the law would lead to racial profiling and fear mongering.

Many praise her amendments which significantly weaken "reasonable suspicion" as the basis for presuming someone is in the country unlawfully, and for stopping, detaining, or arresting him or her. Like Bolton, many opponents point to America’s fundamental principle that avers that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and argue that the original SB 1070 had turned the presumption of innocence on its head.

Bolton’s decision to eradicate "reasonable suspicion" removes the original bill’s form of discrimination, which invited racial profiling from officers who are likely to rely on the way people look in forming any "suspicion" that they are not in this country legally. Many argue that such vague and undefined enforcement policies called for U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike to carry papers on them at all times. These tactics are the hallmarks of a "police state," more often associated with totalitarian regimes. Opponents to SB1070 claim that the injustices of racial profiling were evident in the police departments’ massive sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and the targeting of Latinos for minor, misdemeanor offenses, often with no follow-up prosecution under those minor offenses. They expressed that the original bill did not present legitimate grounds for forming such suspicion, so they refused to refer to it as a workable standard in Arizona. Bolton has responded to these arguments with her amendments, leaving many satisfied.

She, a Clinton appointee, articulated in her decision:

Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked.

Many top law enforcement officials, including the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, had also acknowledged that the original SB 1070 would significantly harm the public trust which law enforcement officials need in order to protect the people of Arizona and would alienate police officers from the communities they serve. Last week, we reported on Arizonan officer Paul Dobson’s recorded confession of his own similar concerns for the law. Officials argued that the original law would force police officers to devote scarce resources to investigating false threats rather than solving serious crimes. They further asserted that the original law had compromised the criminal justice system because crime victims were more vulnerable, and therefore, unwilling to report crimes, and because witnesses were afraid to cooperate out of fear that they would be targeted. Local cops said that the original bill had placed officers and victims alike in a difficult position.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Press Secretary Matt Chandler issued the following statement yesterday in response to Bolton’s decision. He said:

The court’s decision to enjoin most of SB1070 correctly affirms the federal government’s responsibilities in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border, and we will continue to work to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border.

ICE works every day with local law enforcement across the country to assist them in making their communities safer and we will continue do so in Arizona. At the same time, we will continue to increase resources in Arizona by complementing the National Guard deployment set to begin on Aug. 1 with the deployment of hundreds of additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement personnel that will aid in our continuing efforts to conduct outbound inspections, patrol challenging terrain, and interdict illicit smugglers. We are focused on smart effective immigration and border enforcement while we work with Congress toward the type of bipartisan comprehensive reform that will provide true security and establish accountability and responsibility in our immigration system at the national level.

Even as debates about the law in Arizona continue, the death toll for those immigrants crossing the desert soars. According to an article in The New York Times, the bodies of 57 border crossers have been brought in during July so far, putting it on track to be the worst month for such deaths in the last five years. A record of 150 people suspected of being illegal immigrants have been found dead since the first of this year.

Human rights groups confirm that it is the government’s sustained crackdown on human smuggling that has led to more deaths. Tougher enforcement measures have pushed smugglers and illegal immigrants to take their chances on isolated trails through the deserts and mountains of southern Arizona, where they must sometimes walk for three or four days before reaching a road. Omar Candelaria, the special operations supervisor for the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, said the surge in discoveries of bodies this year might also owe something to increased patrols.

The more that you militarize the border, the more you push the migrant flows into more isolated and desolate areas, and people hurt or injured are just left behind, said Kat Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Coalición de Derechos Humanos in Tucson.

Breakthrough is encouraged by the temporary hold on Arizona’s law but believes much more needs to be done to restore fairness to the immigration system. The opposition is already planning efforts to overturn Bolton’s injunction.

The time is now. We DO NOT want Arizonas do not sprout all over the country.  Write to President Obama and your Members of Congress to take action on immigration now.

Photo courtesy of www.thehindu.com

Learn. Act. Share. Visit restorefairness.org

Originally posted to Lets Breakthrough on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 02:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (0+ / 0-)

    Take action to fix a broken immigration system. www.restorefairness.org

    by Lets Breakthrough on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 02:05:03 PM PDT

  •  I Don't Think So. The Citizen Lawsuits Remain (0+ / 0-)

    don't they?, and what basis do citizens have to sue law enforcement who interact with suspects but don't take them for immigration status checks, other than their appearance?

    I think the law institutionalizes citizen racial profiling.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 02:16:41 PM PDT

  •  I don't think it's possible... (0+ / 0-)

    Given the current political climate, meaningful immigration reform seems impossible to achieve.

    My disdain for the Bush Misadministration knows no bounds, but I did find his thoughts on immigration to be quite reasonable. His own party killed it.

    Who would have thought we'd view that time as the "good old days" when Republicans and Democrats actually worked together on an issue?  

    No way there's going to be any chance of getting a Senate supermajority behind any measure. Not now. Maybe not until after 2012. Maybe not even then.

    It's a wedge issue; and the one sure thing about wedge issues is that those who use them to whip up frenzy among their constituency do not want the issue solved. In fact, that's the last thing they want.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 02:40:52 PM PDT

  •  The judge did NOT rule on racism (0+ / 0-)

    I suggest that the diarist edit the title line.

    I agree that the decision indirectly reduces the odds that someone might base their decisions through racial profiling, but racial profiling was and still is illegal. The decision did not involve these statutes.

    The judge did not rule on racism. Period. This isn't what happened. It isn't there. It was never part of the lawsuit. It was never part of the proposed law. It wasn't anywhere in the ruling. It was not considered as a factor in the decision. The lawyers didn't present any arguments based on race or profiling. No arguments were presented citing civil rights violations, equal protection violations, or challenges to First Amendment rights. The commerce clause is about as deep as the Constitutional arguments went, and this part wasn't enjoined.

    As much as some want this issue to be primarily about race, it isn't. I sort of wish that it were written about race since this would make it a lot easier to get rid of this abominable Arizona law, but it isn't about race. If some zealous cop (Joe Asspiehole?) decides to violate laws prohibiting racial profiling, I hope that the Feds crush him while they make him wear pink underwear. Not that I have an opinion about this creep. But this is a different law.

    It would have been very difficult to argue constitutional or Civil Rights Act issues. The best argument was to claim federal preemption of state laws. In the end, this was a strong argument that had plenty of precedent and was a successful strategy.

    But the judge didn't rule on racism in Arizona law. It wasn't there.

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 03:10:47 PM PDT

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