Injunction Placed on Portions of SB 1070 Reveals Numerous Flaws

Just a day before Senate Bill 1070 was set to become law in Arizona, District Judge Susan Bolton stepped in and made the critical decision to put an injunction, or temporary hold, on the most contentious portions of the bill.

The injunction request came straight from the United States, who filed a complaint against Arizona earlier this month challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070. The United States’ primary argument is that immigration law falls under federal, not state, authority. Therefore, Arizona doesn’t have the constitutional right to enforce SB 1070 since federal law preempts state law, and immigration is a federal issue.

Judge Susan Bolton’s decision is monumental in the debate over SB 1070, because the injunction implies that not only does the U.S. have a solid case against the constitutionality of SB 1070, but moreover that the U.S. actually has a very good chance at winning this case.

From Judge Bolton’s ruling alone, it’s clear that the U.S. proved its burden and has a strong chance of winning the overarching lawsuit. But what’s even more telling is Judge Bolton’s explanation of her decision, and why SB 1070, if passed into law in its entirety, would be a legal detriment to our nation.

A prime example of Judge Bolton’s reaction to SB 1070 is her summary of why she granted an injunction on one of the most controversial portions of SB 1070 – the requirement that Arizona officers must determine the immigration status of anyone they detain, arrest, or even pull over.

Judge Bolton agrees that federal law would preempt such a requirement, and even adds that verifying the immigration status of every person reported would be a huge strain on federal resources and agencies that have other priorities.

However, Judge Bolton took the issue a step further when she wrote that legal immigrants would be unfairly affected by this requirement, and that their liberties would be restricted.

Previous court cases have established that the U.S. has a responsibility to protect the personal liberties of legal immigrants, and to keep them from unnecessary examination. Judge Bolton was quick to point out that this immigration verification requirement would unfairly “increase the intrusion of police presence” in the lives of legal immigrants.

She frankly concluded, “The Court finds that this requirement imposes an unacceptable burden on lawfully-present aliens.”

Let this injunction remind us that SB 1070 raises questions beyond racial profiling – this bill is rightfully forcing us to question our nation’s immigration strategy and take a hard look at how we treat the thousands who have left their homes to become Americans.

For those interested in learning how to better frame your message on why SB 1070 is an unjust bill, check out the Opportunity Agenda’s Talking Points. The most effective way to combat SB 1070 in the public discourse is to unite our voices and create a core narrative.

Tags: immigration, SB 1070, Arizona, Opportunity (all tags)


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