A federal judge gave the go-ahead Wednesday for the state to enforce a key provision of SB 1070. But that is not the last word on whether it is legal.
The provision requires police to check the immigration status of those they have stopped if there is reason to believe they are in this country illegally. An earlier injunction was overruled in June by the Supreme Court when the justices said there was no evidence that the section, which has never taken effect, could not be legally enforced. On Wednesday Judge Susan Bolton said that is true of the new request, saying there is no proof that the law will automatically lead to racial profiling. Attorney Dan Pochoda of the American Civil Liberties Union said it is theoretically possible the law can be implemented fairly.
"But the whole reason for the law guarantees that what people will be looking for is people that might be here unlawfully," Pochada said. "That, by definition, is people of the Latino race."
Pochoda said it may be necessary to wait for reports of Hispanics being detained overly long to take the case back to Bolton to prove it will mean racial profiling. Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the measure into law in 2010, said she is aware of future challenges.
"As I've always said, SB 1070 must be enforced fairly, effectively and without compromising civil rights or the Constitution," the Governor said. "I know the world is watching. But I know that our state and local officers are up to the task."