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9:23 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Legal Battles Continue Over SB 1070-type Laws

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law, the legal battles continue in the five other states that passed similar laws. Georgia and Alabama's immigration enforcement laws are back before a federal appeals court.

Last year, a judge in Georgia blocked the state from enacting the so-called "show me your papers" provision of that state's law. State attorneys appealed to the 11th circuit. Now Georgia's lawyers are arguing that police should be able to begin checking immigration status of certain suspects, since the Supreme Court allowed a similar provision to go forward in Arizona.

Hiroshi Motomura is a UCLA law professor, and also served as an informal adviser to some of the groups who challenged state immigration laws. Motomura says the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration checks doesn't guarantee that lower courts in other states will lift the blocks on similar provisions.

"There are subtle differences in the language of each of these statutes and subtle differences in what that language might allow in terms of questioning people about immigration status, and in terms of allowing them to be detained," Motomura said.

In South Carolina, a federal judge who had previously blocked police immigration checks announced on Monday that provision would remain on hold until the case goes before a federal appeals court.