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A Major Blow To Jan Brewer's Anti-Immigrant SB 1070

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Jan Brewer

Immigration advocates scored a major victory in Arizona’s battle against SB 1070 today when a federal appeals court refused to lift a ban blocking the most extreme elements of the legislation. This decision involves the lawsuit filed against the Arizona law by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to lift an injunction imposed by a federal judge in Phoenix just hours before SB 1070 went into effect last summer.

Business leaders along with labor and immigration advocacy groups applauded today’s decision.

Eliseo Medina, of the Service Employees International Union said:

“Arizona got it wrong when it passed SB 1070. This second federal court ruling reaffirms what we have said all along: immigration is a federal issue and states cannot preempt the federal government’s jurisdiction over immigration matters.

And according to the President of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), David Leopold:

“The Ninth Circuit has confirmed what we’ve said all along; the SB 1070 ‘show me your papers’ law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the federal government’s exclusive power to make and enforce immigration laws. One of its most egregious provisions unlawfully requires state and local police to ask for proof of immigration status from every individual stopped for a traffic violation or other civil infraction if they have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person is in the U.S. in violation of the immigration law.”

Today’s ruling prevents enforcement of four key provisions in the bill:

  • Section 2(B) requiring police to verify the immigration status of any suspect prior to their release
  • Section 3 making it a violation of state law for foreign nationals to fail to carry alien registration documents with them
  • Section 5(C) barring illegal immigrants from seeking work
  • Section 6 allowing officers to arrest without a warrant anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

Despite today’s victory, the battle over the most anti-immigrant legislation in country continues.  Whether the law will ever take effect depends on the outcome of the Department of Justice lawsuit, which is still proceeding in federal court.