In 2010, the state of Arizona passed S.B. 1070, a controversial piece of legislation that requires police officers to determine a person’s immigration status at the time of arrest or detainment if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an undocumented illegal immigrant. The legislation has colloquially been referred to as the ‘papers please’ law, as it requires detained individuals to show proof of identity and legal resident status. Since the bill’s passing, there have been a number of questions raised about the constitutionality of the law, based on the argument that it encourages racial profiling. On September 4, 2015, a federal judge in Arizona upheld the legality of the law.
Discrimination against Latinos
Immigrant rights’ activists believe that the legislation—which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012 and was challenged by a lower Arizona court—encourages discrimination against Latinos and other ethnic minorities. But that’s not so, at least not according to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, who dismissed such claims in her determination that S.B. 1070 was perfectly legal. Further, Bolton concluded that S.B. 1070 “addressed circumstances after an individual is already in custody,” adding that, “The law is not a source for state officials’ arrest or detention powers.”
Will There Be an Appeal?
It is unknown at this point whether or not challengers to the legislation—as well as Bolton’s decision—will appeal the determination. However, challengers did get a small victory; Bolton did throw out a section of the law that criminalized the act of blocking traffic when seeking work or offer day labor services. This section of the act, said Bolton, barred work-seekers’ rights to free speech to express their need or desire to work.
Other States Follow Arizona’s Lead
Unfortunately, the idea behind S.B. 1070—that people much show papers proving their legal residence within the country when detained by a police officer—is not limited to the state of Arizona alone. Five other states, including Utah, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, and South Carolina have passed similar laws. And with the 2016 presidential election ramping up, many contenders have been adamant in their determination to deport illegal immigrants or change laws surrounding immigration.
What to Do When Facing Deportation
Being an undocumented immigrant in America can be a scary thing. If you’re facing deportation or need help gaining legal status, consult with an immigration attorney to navigate through the complexities of immigration court and U.S.C.I.S. At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our attorneys want to help you. To schedule a case consultation to discuss your status or concerns today, call us at 617-722-0005 or contact us online.