Judge Gives 'Final' Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law

Should cops be allowed to question people's immigration status?
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2015 1:34 PM CDT
In this March 11, 2012 file photo, dozens of immigration rights supporters chant in front of Montgomery County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
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(Newser) – Challengers of Arizona's landmark immigration law failed to show that police would enforce the statute differently for Latinos than it would for people of other ethnicities, a judge says in a ruling that dismissed the last of seven challenges to the law. The ruling could signal the end of the case and gave a victory to backers of the law, which was approved in 2010. In her order Friday, US District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed the challenge and upheld provisions that were previously ruled on by appeals courts. She upheld the law's controversial requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, can question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally. The US Supreme Court also upheld the requirement, but the law's detractors continued to push their challenge at a lower-court level.

Opponents have "not produced any evidence that state law enforcement officials will enforce SB1070 differently for Latinos than a similarly situated person of another race or ethnicity," Bolton wrote. It's unclear whether the challengers will appeal the ruling. Karen Tumlin, an attorney representing a coalition of civil rights groups, says in a statement they would "evaluate all legal options moving forward." Former state Sen. Russell Pearce, who sponsored the initial legislation, applauded Bolton's judgment. "She made it very clear the law was written very carefully not to be a race issue. It's not a racial law," Pearce says. The judge, however, did permanently bar a section of the law that prohibited people from blocking traffic when seeking or offering day labor services on streets. (Read more immigration stories.)

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