Judge strikes down parts of Arizona’s SB 1070

(Washington, D.C.) July 28, 2010 – Judge Susan Bolton of the U.S. District Court for Arizona today issued an injunction preventing the most egregious sections of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law – SB 1070 – from going into effect tomorrow. The order covers the sections criminalizing immigrants for failing to carry documents with them at all times and requiring police to ask anyone for papers proving citizenship or legal status during traffic stops or housing inspections if they had a “reasonable suspicion” the person was undocumented.

“At the Kino Border Initiative’s Center for Deported Migrants in Nogales, Sonora, we are seeing increasing numbers of repatriated migrants each day. Hundreds of people come to us with blistered feet and with broken spirits,” said Fr. Sean Carroll, S.J., of the Kino Border Initiative.

“We continue to support efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, which would include a path to legalization for undocumented people, as well as reform of the visa system. Such policy changes would facilitate family reunification and provide employment opportunities where labor needs exist. These steps will obviate the misguided efforts of Arizona and other states to enforce immigration law, which should continue to fall under the purview of the federal government,” said Fr. Carroll.

The U.S. Department of Justice had filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent implementation of the new law by arguing that the Arizona law was unconstitutional as immigration is a federal matter. Although the federal government sought to have the entire law put on hold, some provisions will still go into effect tomorrow.

“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,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Matt Chandler.

“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,” said Mr. Chandler.

“We welcome the decision to block the measures that would have encouraged racial profiling, fear of police and further distrust in a community already wary of law enforcement,” said Richard Foltin, American Jewish Committee’s Director of National and Legislative Affairs. “Ideally, the court will make this action permanent, as well as broaden its order to block enforcement of the Arizona law.”

“Arizona’s law is bad policy, and highlights the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform at the national level,” said Mr. Foltin. “The time is long past due to create a system that effectively responds to our nation’s security and economic concerns, and ensures the humane and fair treatment of immigrants.”

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