Rights groups urge federal judge to block Arizona immigration law

[JURIST] A coalition of civil rights groups on Tuesday asked a federal judge to block [motion, PDF] a portion of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070, PDF; JURIST news archive] that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop. The US Supreme Court [official website] struck down [JURIST report] several portions of the law in June on preemption grounds but upheld section 2(B), finding that it could be construed as a constitutional exercise of state authority and that "it would be inappropriate to assume 2(B) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law." The court noted, however, that this decision did not bar other actions against 2(B) and other parts of the law based on different constitutional issues. The groups, including the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) [advocacy websites], are asking Judge Susan Bolton to block enforcement of the provision on Fourth Amendment and Equal Protection grounds:

The requested injunction would protect the individual Plaintiffs and members of Plaintiff organizations from irreparable harm, including the harms of unlawful detention and arrest ... and the stigma imposed by the racial and national origin discrimination underlying § 2(B). These harms to individuals and organizations were not before the Supreme Court in Arizona. The public interest will likewise be served by the suspension of provisions that threaten fundamental constitutional rights, disrupt the nation’s ability to speak with one voice on immigration matters, and embody racial and national origin animus. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court grant the preliminary injunction they seek.
The groups originally filed a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the law in May 2010.

Following the Supreme Court ruling last month, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] said that she was pleased with the decision and that she was confident future enforcement would not violate the Constitution [JURIST report]. Several other states have enacted immigration legislation modeled after Arizona's law. Last week 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. Earlier this month Georgia argued to the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] that its immigration law is constitutional [JURIST report] under the Arizona ruling, stating that the provision of its law being challenged is most comparable to the provision of the Arizona law that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a revised immigration bill in May following his pledge to refine the immigration law after it was blocked last year [JURIST reports] by the Eleventh Circuit. Last May the ACLU and the NILC 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.

 

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