If you are Hispanic, or look Hispanic, don’t expect a welcome in Arizona because you will be under suspicion because of the color of your skin or if you speak with an accent.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has ruled against an injunction for the provision of the Arizona Law 1070 that allows law enforcement to demand identification of those they suspect to be in the country illegally.
Individuals who are stopped for investigation have to prove they are in the U.S. legally, according to the Arizona Republic.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law would have to go into effect to determine if the civil liberties of people were being infringed upon. Judge Bolton said she would not “ignore the clear direction” of the Supreme Court.
The Hispanic community responded to the ruling with the same fears that have been voiced since its inception: that the law will lead to racial profiling.
“Just because you are Latino should not be a basis” to answer questions about citizenship or immigration status, Daniel Ortega, a Phoenix attorney and activist, said in tucsoncitizen.com.
Ortega stated further that he is advising U.S. citizens and legal residents to show the police their driver’s license, registration and insurance during traffic stops; however, they are not required to answer questions about where they were born, citizenship, and immigration status.
“The goal is not to create a confrontation with police but to protect our constitutional rights,” Ortega said.
It is noteworthy that when the police stop a vehicle, everyone in the car must produce identification—not only the driver—if the police “suspect” someone is illegal.
Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center, one of the groups that requested the injunction, said, “If we find that the law as implemented violates the Constitution in any fashion, we’ll certainly be back in court.
“Today’s ruling certainly shows that the coalition has been working hard and will continue working until the unconstitutional law is dismantled piece by piece.”
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill in 2010, praised the court’s decision.
At a news conference, she said the law “must be enforced fairly, effectively and without compromising civil rights or the Constitution.”
She added: “I know the world is watching. But I know that our state and local officers are up to the task.”
Civil rights groups, including the ACLU, are not as sure that the law will be enforced and respect the civil rights of the citizens of Arizona and visitors, and they will be observing how the law is being executed. In the next 10 days the provision will into effect in Arizona, according to the ACLU.
“The district court was correct in blocking Arizona's harboring statute, which criminalized many everyday interactions with unauthorized immigrants,” said ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project director Cecillia Wang.
“Unfortunately,” she continued, “the district court's ruling let the 'show me your papers' law stand, without addressing significant new evidence that it was passed with a discriminatory motive and will result in illegal detention,” reported in the Wisconsin Gazette.
The Gazette also reported that “Wang said the ACLU would continue to challenge the legislation as part of a coalition of civil rights groups. Other challengers include the National Immigration Law Center and MALDEF, who have argued that the state lacks the authority to enact the state harboring prohibition.”
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