Arizona is waiting for the court decision that could determine the exact date when the “show me your papers” provision of the state’s SB 1070 immigration law goes into effect, which could have been Friday.
“We’re waiting for a ruling that could come today, but it could also take several days or even weeks - nobody knows exactly,” Alessandra Soler, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, told Efe.
Last month the U.S. Supreme Court struck down much of SB 1070 but left Section 2(b) intact.
It is up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or the district judge in Arizona who first blocked the enforcement of “show me your papers” to formally lift the injunction.
“The decision must now come from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or from the federal judge in Arizona, Susan Bolton, and we believe it will come from the latter,” Soler said.
Section 2(b) requires law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop for another reason when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is undocumented.
ACLU is part of a coalition of civic and religious groups and defenders of human rights that on Tuesday asked Judge Bolton to block the enactment of Section 2(b) on grounds that it will lead to racial profiling.
Soler said that as part of their appeal, they presented in evidence to the court several e-mails from the office of the main sponsor of SB 1070, now-former-state-Sen. Russell Pearce.
These e-mails show that Pearce had a “discrimatory intention” since they have content that is “negative toward Mexicans and Latinos,” who repesent 30 percent of the Arizona population, Soler said.
She said that while waiting for the courts to act, the Hispanic community should learn their rights and develop a plan for their families, particularly if some of the members are undocumented.”
“They have to know what to do if they have a brush with the police,” the ACLU official said.
Police departments said meanwhile that they are ready to enforce Section 2(b).
The chief of police in Phoenix, Daniel V. Garcia, said during a recent community forum that the civil rights of residents will be respected, and repeated that no racial profiling will be employed.
For activists like Soler, the main problem with this regulation is that not one police department has a clear definition of what kind of “reasonable suspicion” would authorize cops to question people about their immigration status.