Maria Inés Taracena
Immigration rights advocates protesting SB 1070 during a rally outside the Tucson Police Department in 2013.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona announced Monday that it will fight a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals saying the "show me your papers" portion of SB 1070 is good to go. In September, a judge said the ACLU of Arizona had failed to prove police racial profile Latinos when questioning a person's immigration status.
That section green lights officers to ask an individual who is pulled over or arrested to show proof of residency or citizenship when there is reasonable suspicion the person in question is in the country undocumented. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court killed three out of four challenged provisions in SB 1070—the fourth being the "show me your papers" provision.
Also last month, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued an order permanently blocking SB 1070’s "punitive and unconstitutional provisions that aimed to suppress the free speech rights of the day laborers who live and work in Arizona." But advocates were disappointed that she, again, let stand what they refer to as the law's "most harmful provision."
From an ACLU of Arizona press release:
Section 2(B), which requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain or arrest if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person … is unlawfully present in the United States,” and Section 2(D), which authorizes police to transfer people to the custody of federal immigration officials.
“While many aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law have been dismantled over the course of a 5-year legal battle, the most recent district court ruling left some of the law’s most shameful and discriminatory provisions intact,” said a statement to the media by Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the plaintiffs’ counsel in the suit. “We are confident that ruling will be overturned on appeal and will work alongside our courageous plaintiffs to move Arizona towards policies that are inclusive and humane—not fueled by hatred and racial animus.”
Since the statute went into effect in 2010, immigration rights advocates and allies have constantly protested what they see as a law that promotes racial profiling and discrimination against minorities.
Locally, advocacy groups have expressed their discontent for how the Tucson Police Department enforced SB 1070.
It became too common to hear about undocumented men and women apprehended by the Border Patrol over a minor traffic violation. Although, since the beginning TPD Chief Roberto Villaseñor expressed displeasure with the law, he'd repeatedly reminded the community that it was his job to enforce it.
"You get the good and you get the bad. That is my job to enforce the law. For people to tell me to ignore it, it was not realistic," he told the Tucson Weekly in March
, after the department announced it would scale-back its enforcement of the "show me your papers" provision. "But there is some tension that could be relieved by getting us out of the immigration enforcement aspect. It helps heal the relationship between the department and the community because there is a lot of mistrust, a lot of frustration on why are local police involved with federal immigration enforcement ... civil immigration enforcement. This is a way to begin to heal that grief between the department and the community."
Earlier this year, the department adjusted its SB 1070 policies. In December, Villaseñor announced the police would not get involved with immigration enforcement unless those detained have felonies on their records, are affiliated with a gang, are identified as terrorists, or pose a threat to national security. The changes better matched the Department of Homeland Security's criteria, and President Barack Obama's 2014 immigration action, which reinforced that the government should focus on deporting criminals.