This afternoon Judge Susan Bolton, federal district judge, Arizona, granted a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of provisions in SB 1070, Arizona’s ‘papers please” law. The decision shifts the narrative in the immigration debate. no longer can anti immigrant conservatives insist that Arizona is merely enjoining acts also enjoined by federal law. According to the court, Arizona preempted federal authority to regulate immigration. The message for other states intending to follow the Arizona template: “don’t do it. It is illegal. You will be challenged. And, you will be beaten.”
So, when SB1070 goes into effect tomorrow, July 29, 2010, the state will not be able to require police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest if they reasonably suspect the person is in the countryb illegally. (Section 2)
It will not be able to criminalize the solicitation, applicatioon for, or performamnce of work by an undocumented immigrant (part of Section 5)
The state cannot authorize the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable. (Sec 6 of SB 1070)
Still to come is a trial on the merits. The state of Arizona can, and likely will appeal the preliminary injunction. So the 9th circuit could reverse as soon as tomorrow, or. it could take months. Still to come is a decision on the merits and likely, lengthy appeals.
In other words, today’s victory is a step in the process. Hopefully, it shifts the debate; Hopefully too, it puts pressure on the Obama Administration to show stronger leadership over the CIR debate.
The preemption issue is important; but perhaps more important as far as the quality of life for immigrants is concerned, is for the court(s) to also attend to underlying privacy, due process and equal protection issues. Whereas preemption deals solely with federalism and prevents a patchwork of strong anti-immigrant state laws, the problem of systemic abuse against immigrants applies to the federal programs as well as to state transgressions.