By Michael Winter, USA TODAY
Arizona authorities can begin checking the immigration status of criminal suspects, but for now they cannot arrest people for harboring people suspected of being in the United States illegally, a federal judge ruled today.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton today denied a request to issue a new injunction against the so-called show-me-your-papers provision of the state's tough 2010 immigration law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in June. Opponents argued the provision, known as Section 2B, would lead to unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos.
Bolton wrote that the lower court would not disobey the Supreme Court's ruling that the provision "cannot be challenged further on its face before the law takes effect," and restated the part of the court's opinion that said the law might be open to other constitutional challenges, the Associated Press says.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in spring 2010, and it was challenged immediately by the U.S. Justice Department.
Separately, Bolton granted a preliminary injunction against a provision that made it a crime for people to harbor someone suspected of being in the country illegally.
The Arizona Republic explains earlier decisions regarding that statute and others:
Before the law took effect, Bolton enjoined Section 2B and three others in response to a motion in the Department of Justice case: one that required immigrants to carry "alien-registration papers;" one that allows for warrantless arrest if an officer thinks there is probable cause to believe the individual committed a public offense that makes him or her removable from the U.S.; and one that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work.
The injunction was upheld in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and in June the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the injunction except for Section 2B.
"The governor is pleased with the decision," gubernatorial spokesman Matthew Benson told the Republic. "This paves the way for full implementation of SB 1070 as quickly as the district court lifts the injunction."
"What the court has said is that the heart of SB 1070 needs to take effect," he said. "And then the courts can later judge whether there are instances that can be proven of civil rights violations or racial profiling."