Thursday, July 29, 2010

Judge's injunction doesn't address the motive behind Arizona's immigration law

Judge Bolton's decision to enjoin the State of Arizona from enforcing provisions of SB1070 is a step in the right direction but it is not nearly the victory that some immigration advocates are proclaiming. The injunction halts the requirement that law enforcement officers check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. The injunction also means that immigrants are no longer required to carry their immigration papers with them and that undocumented workers are permitted to seek employment in public places.

The ruling, however, does not strike down the law.

To obtain an injunction, a party must show a court that he would be irreparably harmed if the injunction weren't granted and that he was likely to prevail on the merits of the case. But likely to prevail isn't the same thing as will prevail. In this instance the federal government demonstrated to Judge Bolton that it would be harmed due to enforcement costs.

It's good that the police have been enjoined from enforcing the more onerous sections of the law, but the law itself is still on the books. Not only that, but the attitudes among those in power in Arizona are still intact and they will continue to fight for SB1070 to the death. They will seek to destroy one of the bases of our justice system -- the presumption of innocence.

For you see, SB1070 creates the presumption that anyone who isn't white is breaking the law and as long as SB1070 remains on the books - even if neutered - the presumption of innocence is violated.

See also:

"Liberty wins in SB 1070 injunction," Tucson Citizen, July 28, 2010
"Why Judge Susan Bolton blocked key parts of Arizona's SB1070," Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2010

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