A federal judge has blocked key provisions of S.B. 1070, the controversial immigration law in Arizona that was scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. The judge has blocked the requirement that police have to check the immigration status of anyone they "reasonably suspect" of being in the country without authorization.
A judge grants a preliminary injunction if he or she finds that the case is likely to suffer "irreparable harm" if the judge does not prevent the law (or part of the law) from going into effect. If police in Arizona were to start enforcing S.B. 1070 tomorrow, it would profoundly alter the context in which the lawsuits are considered.
You can read the full decision here.
Still, even though the critical components of S.B. 1070 will not go into effect tomorrow, some of the horrific effects of this discriminatory immigration law are already visible:
- Immigrants - both those with and without papers - have been packing up and fleeing the state in search of safer territory.
- Arizona's economy has plummeted due to a national boycott in which tourism has dropped, conferences have been rescheduled elsewhere, and cities across the country have refused to support business with Arizona.
- U.S. citizens fear being wrongfully deported if they experience racial profiling.
- Well-intentioned police officers in Arizona struggle to determine how to walk a fine line.
Advocates have been gathering in Arizona to participate in prayer vigils and to consider acts of civil disobedience if the law were to fully come into effect tomorrow. Meanwhile, the private prison industry stands to make a profit from increased arrests, detentions, and deportations - even if the people they detain were picked up due to racial profiling. No matter what, all eyes have been on Arizona.
At FCNL, we welcome the injunction against S.B. 1070. We hope that states considering similar proposals will rethink their positions, given the situation in Arizona at this point. Above all, we urge President Obama and members of Congress to act swiftly to comprehensively reform the broken immigration system, to reassert federal control and restore the U.S. tradition of welcoming immigrants.