United States: Racist Arizona law hits ‘bump in road’

July 31, 2010

Just hours before coming into effect on July 29, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070 had some of its provisions overruled by federal district judge Susan Bolton.

The overruled provisions include:

• The obligation for police officers to determine the immigration status of everyone they stop, if officers have a “reasonable suspicion” that they might be in the country unlawfully;

• Mandatory detention of people arrested even for minor offences (such as traffic violations), if they can't prove that they are in the US legally;

• Criminal penalties for non-citizens who fail to register with the Department of Homeland Security or fail to carry registration papers;

• The arrest without warrant of individuals if state or local police believe they have committed a public offence that would make them eligible for "removal" from the US; and

• Criminal penalties for alleged undocumented immigrants seeking work.

However, state governor Jan Brewer, an enthusiastic supporter of the law dismissed the ruling as “a temporary bump in the road”. The law’s promoters will appeal the ruling in the US Supreme Court.

Opponents of law, while celebrating this partial victory, have maintained their campaign against it. On July 29, “dozens” of people were arrested in Phoenix while protesting the law, the BBC reported on July 30.

The law has been justified as a response to immigrants causing a soaring crime rate in Arizona. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has been particularly vocal in this regard.

However, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting pointed out on May 17, crime is falling, both in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. Furthermore, US-born whites have a higher crime rate than documented and undocumented migrants.

[For more information, visit Socialist Worker.]

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