Federal judge OKs S.B. 1070's most controversial provision - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

'Show me your papers' upheld by federal judge

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Gov. Jan Brewer signs into law Senate Bill 1070 on April 23, 2010. (Source: Office of the Arizona Governor) Gov. Jan Brewer signs into law Senate Bill 1070 on April 23, 2010. (Source: Office of the Arizona Governor)
A woman holds a sign protesting against illegal immigration. (Source: KPBS-TV) A woman holds a sign protesting against illegal immigration. (Source: KPBS-TV)

(RNN) - Months after the Supreme Court struck down a majority of Arizona's immigration law, a federal judge upheld the most controversial of the provisions amidst protests it would lead to state-sanctioned racial profiling.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton blocked a portion in the law that would have enacted harsher punishments for those helping illegal immigrants. However, the contested "show me your papers" provision withstood the court challenge.

"The court will not ignore the clear direction in the Arizona [Supreme Court] opinion that [the 'show me your papers provision'] cannot be challenged further on its face before the law takes effect," Bolton wrote in the court order.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that Arizona's S.B. 1070, known as the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act," was mostly preempted by federal law.

That meant the "show me your papers" section, which requires authorities to check a person's immigration status when they believe he or she may be in the country illegally, was one of the only parts the Supreme Court kept intact.

"With this provision, Arizona makes a clear statement that it will not tolerate sanctuary city policies, and will now have thousands of additional officers to collaborate with the federal government as state and local law enforcement do what they always have: enforce the law," Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement.

Brewer has been a vocal supporter of the law. She said the law would be implemented soon, although she declined to give a specific date.

Meanwhile, civil rights groups have taken issue with the ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union found the law to be particularly troublesome, in that it may support racial profiling.

The law does not give specifics as to what would make a person appear to be illegal.

"Latino members of our community should not be subjected to unlawful stops based on their race or perceived immigration status," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona.

Soler said the provision would lead to "rampant" racial profiling statewide. In response, the ACLU plans to document cases of racial profiling, presumably to save for a later court date and ongoing litigation.

"The ruling puts an enormous burden on the countless Arizona residents who will be victims of racial profiling and illegal detentions because of this law," said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project.

On June 25, the Supreme Court struck down three of the four main provisions in Arizona's immigration law. Justices said "show me your papers" may be unconstitutional, but it was impossible to tell before the law went into effect.

The law was deemed the harshest in the country on immigration when it was passed in 2010.

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