A federal judge cleared the way today for the state to start enforcing the most sweeping provision of its 2010 immigration law.
The section of SB 1070 requires police to question those they have stopped about their immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in this country illegally. Two years ago, in a lawsuit brought by the Obama administration, Judge Susan Bolton enjoined enforcement, saying that provision is preempted by federal law. But in June the Supreme Court ruled otherwise. That resulted in a new request for an injunction by civil rights groups who argued there is no way to enforce the section without racial profiling. But Bolton said that claim is premature, given that the law has never taken effect. Attorney Dan Pochoda of the American Civil Liberties Union said that's not legally necessary given the evidence presented about the actions of state lawmakers in approving the measure.
"We believe that we demonstrated that it was a discriminatory intent that motivated, at least in part, the Legislature in passing 1070, and that should have been discussed and considered but it was not by the court at this point in time," Pochoda said.
Bolton did agree, though, to bar Arizona from enforcing another section of SB 1070 which makes it a crime to transport, conceal, harbor or shield an illegal immigrant from detection. She said that provision conflicts with federal law.