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In Arizona on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton lifted the injunction on the part of Arizona’s immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. As a result, police can check the immigration status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally. The implementation of this particular provision of SB 1070 represents the latest development in the two-year battle between the state of Arizona and the federal government. Governor Jan Brewer was delighted. “Today is the day we have awaited for more than two years,” Brewer said, before adding a caveat. “It must be enforced efficiently, effectively and in harmony with the Constitution and civil rights. I have full faith and confidence that Arizona’s State and local law enforcement officers are prepared for this task,” she added.
What Arizona law enforcement officials actually do may be largely irrelevant. It is no secret the Obama administration and its minions in the Department of Justice (DOJ) are contemptuous of Arizona’s attempt to protect itself, despite the reality that the state remains the nation’s most heavily traveled corridor for both illegal immigration and smuggling. The same DOJ estimated that 400,000 of Arizona’s two million Latino population are illegal aliens. Moreover, 60 to 70 percent of the state’s deportations or “removals” are Mexican nationals.
The usual demagogues are out in force muddying the waters. Omar Jadwat, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project said the ruling “opens the door to racial profiling, wrongful detentions and arrests, putting everyone’s civil rights at risk. Law enforcement resources are wasted when people are targeted based on their skin color, and our core American values of fairness and equality are compromised,” he added. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network released a statement. “President Obama has the moral responsibility and legal authority to protect the people of Arizona,” it said. “We expect he will do everything within his power to prevent the discrimination, punishment, and suffering that will escalate under…[the law’s] implementation.”
Pro-illegal activists will employ several strategies in an effort to undermine the statute. Efforts to set up a hotline to field questions about one’s rights if stopped by police have begun. Immigration patrols conducted by police will be monitored by private citizens armed with cameras. Opponents of the law are contacting individual police departments around the state asking them not to enforce the provision. And the ACLU said it was prepared to continue challenging the law by documenting instances of racial profiling throughout the state, according to Alessandra Soler, executive director of the legal group in Arizona. Phoenix attorney Daniel Ortega echoed that sentiment. “We have to respect authority. We have to be cooperative. But we have constitutional rights and we should exercise them, especially if we believe that the police are racially profiling us and the community,” he said.
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