Judge hears arguments in SB1070 civil suit

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton heard oral arguments Tuesday morning over a preliminary injunction that would bar section 2(B) of SB1070 from taking effect.

Section 2(B) is the so called “papers, please” provision, which requires law enforcement officers to ask a person they have stopped about their immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegally. 

The United States Supreme Court in June struck down most of SB1070 but upheld section 2(B), stating in effect that it was too early to determine if the law would be carried out in a discriminatory fashion.

In July, civil and immigrants’ rights organizations filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent 2(B) from being carried out by law enforcement officers around the state. The lawsuit alleges that the implementation of SB1070 will have a disproportionate impact on Latinos.

During oral argument Tuesday morning, attorney Karen Tumlin with the National Immigration Law Center argued that since the Supreme Court heard the case in June, new evidence has surfaced that demonstrates SB1070’s discriminatory impact as well as violations of the Fourth Amendment.

Tumlin also raised an equal protection argument, citing evidence that some lawmakers were motivated by racial bias when enacting SB1070. Tumlin argued that where racial motivation is a factor in the creation of a law, a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution exists.

However, the attorney for the State of Arizona, John Bouma of Snell and Wilmer, argued that a racially motivated bias in creating the law is not enough to issue a preliminary injunction against SB1070, and that the opponents of SB1070 must also show that the law is being carried out in a way that disproportionately impacts Latinos. 

Bouma argued that more Latinos cross the border illegally into Arizona and, therefore, more Latinos would be impacted by a law designed to crack down on illegal immigration. He then argued that showing that more Latinos are impacted by the law is not enough to demonstrate that SB1070 specifically targets Latinos.

All this comes the day after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a similar “papers, please” section of Georgia’s illegal immigration law. Judge Bolton indicated that the 11th Circuit ruling could play a factor in her decision about whether to issue the preliminary injunction against 2(B).

Bolton has not indicated a timeline for when she would issue a ruling.

Before the Supreme Court issued its ruling in June, Bolton issued a preliminary injunction against several parts of SB1070, including 2(B). That preliminary injunction remains in place for now.