Federal Judge Blocks Provision of SB1070

Mar 1, 2012

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the state from enforcing provisions of its controversial 2010 immigration law aimed at day laborers. 

The law makes it a crime to enter a car stopped in traffic to go to work elsewhere or for motorists to stop to pick up laborers. Attorneys for the state said they have a legitimate interest in ensuring the free flow of traffic. But Judge Susan Bolton said there are other laws that fine motorists for blocking traffic. This measure imposes jail time -- but only if there is a day laborer involved -- illegally infringing on their right to seek work. But Rep. John Kavanagh said existing laws deal only with the drivers.

"That doesn't deal with the person who began the entire transaction, the person who beckoned the vehicle by word or gesture that he or she was looking for work, that caused the vehicle to stop in the first place," he said.

Bolton was not buying the explanation that this is only about traffic. She said SB 1070 says its goal is -- quote -- to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said his boss believes Bolton got it wrong.

"Certainly [the governor] is disappointed," he said. "This decision represents another instance of judicial erosion of the state's authority to regulate public safety in this state."

Any appeal will be separate from next month's U.S. Supreme Court hearing over the legality of the rest of the law that Bolton previously enjoined.